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Mouse on Mars


Whereas many experimental-techno acts fill their releases with displays of virtuoso drum-machine chops and extreme eardrum abuse, Mouse on Mars albums always sound more like a toy-strewn romper room. This German duo (Andi Toma and Jan St. Werner) approach art-techno as child’s play — it’s like fingerpainting with samplers and sequencers. Their releases are characterized by whimsical melodies, chirping voices, and a playful approach to sound that brings together luminescent tone colors and plenty of fart jokes.

Idiology continues MOM’s trademark kindergarten-techno experiments and acoustic-organic interplay while extending their music palette into new territories, including strings, piano, and vocals. The singing is handled by their tour drummer Dodo Nkishi, who should probably stick to percussion, but his not-so-inspired ramblings can’t halt the pure energy of this album, which jumps from frenetic explorations of gurgle and fuzz ( " First: Break " ) to quirky ska ( " Doit " ) to pastoral post-rock ( " Fantastic Analysis " ) like an ADD-afflicted youngster. The constant morphing and switching can get unsettling, but the experimenting does lead to some beautiful moments, like " Presence, " a Brian Wilson–esque kraut ballad, and " Catching Butterflies with Hands, " which sounds like an Aaron Copland mini-symphony performed by Tortoise and Don Cherry. This is a goofy, cheeky, unabashedly populist collection of experimental electronica that even a kid could enjoy.

(Mouse on Mars perform this Monday, July 2, downstairs at the Middle East with Vert. Call 617-864-EAST.)

Issue Date: June 28 - July 5, 2001

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