After Xmal Deutschland’s success with four albums on cult labels such as 4AD, Huwe abandoned music to pursue her visual art career. But leaving her legacy in the past was not so easy.
During the pandemic Huwe reconsidered her decades-long hiatus
from music. With a push by her longtime friend Mona Mur - a singer, songwriter and film music composer (as well as the frontwoman of early-80s project Mona Mur & Die Mieter) - Huwe decided to join Mur in Berlin. Together with Manuela Rickers, guitarist and collaborator in Xmal Deutschland, they tossed around music and poetic ideas that would eventually become the album Codes.
Initially inspired by the diary entries of Moshe Shnitzki, who, at the age of 17, left his home in 1942 to live in the cavernous White Russian forests as a partisan, Codes is about the human experience and what extremes can do to an individual. “The result is a poetic, musical cosmos that encompasses the following themes: forest, fear, pain, loss, violence, and loneliness but also beauty, longing, hope and the will to survive,” Huwe explains. These thematic extremities cause an erraticism to Codes - a passing thunderstorm, a cyclonic burst of nature’s force - but one that exudes anticipation amidst the chill.
With elegant production by Mur and Huwe and mixing and mastering by Jon Caffery (Joy Division, Gary Numan, Einstürzende Neubauten) epic builds crash and disseminate, the sleek synthesized drones of sound even feel claustrophobic at times.
Xmal Deutschland, now marked as forerunners of the post-punk movement, were never complacent but consistently ravenous in their attack throughout the 1980s. Huwe’s return is no different. Unexpected but long overdue, Codes is that missing page from post-punk’s history books, the freshly splayed paint across the decades-old canvas - it is the product of the tireless will to survive on her own terms.