CD: Mouse On Mars - Parastrophics | New music reviews, news & interviews
CD: Mouse On Mars - Parastrophics
Two decades on, the nerds still have the funk
Jan St Werner, half of German duo Mouse On Mars, recently held forth on their inspirations, citing the tension between metrical freedom and metronomic funk in the work of Sun Ra and Funkadelic as their key motivator. And while it might seem odd to compare two synth-twiddlers from Cologne and Düsseldorf with the great mavericks of mid-century American Afrofuturism, when you hear their music it makes complete sense.
Watch the video for "Polaroyced":
St Werner and his partner Andi Toma have been making weird music solidly for two decades now. Often they've seemed like the absolute cliché experimental electronica act, noodling and complex for the sake of it, but just as often they've reached sublime highs of barmy invention. And it seems that they've been spurred on to new heights by their 2007 partnership – as Von Sudenfed – with the legendarily difficult Mark E Smith of The Fall.
On that project, they reined in their noodling instincts and delivered mainly hard, driving techno – and though this album doesn't pound as hard as that, in the dubsteppy wobble of “They Know Your Name”, the hyperactive video game music of “Seaqz” and “Imatch” and the zingy disco funk of “Polaroyced” they have maintained its directness.
OK, tracks like “Cricket” and “Bruised to Imwimper” might sound like sedated machines trying to explain a bad acid experience, but that's not necessarily a bad thing – and as St Werner's analysis suggests, the balance between their unstructured weirdness and the aforementioned tracks' drive gives Parastrophysics a depth and excitement that makes it a worthy addition to the MOM catalogue.
Share this article
theartsdesk is changing
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. In September we reached our fourth birthday and feel that the time is now right, in line with other media outlets, to start asking our regular readers for a contribution to help us develop the site further. Theartsdesk has therefore moved to a partial subscription model. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 7,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.
Take an annual subscription now simply click here.
more New music
An entertaining if unsatisfactory trawl through folk music's recent history and current popularity
A live curio from 1970 and a smart box of seven-inch singles
Decade-old Conor Oberst seasonal corker receives belated TAD review
R Kelly's new album is certainly a nadir, but it's by no means the only awful album cover
The original American Idol gets theartsdesk's festive music roundup underway
Few answers from America’s one-man embodiment of the early Seventies
After decades in obscurity, the enigmatic California folkie makes her first ever European performance
Unpleasant R&B insight into a drearily atavistic masculine psyche
Erstwhile firebrand proves the political passions are smouldering with a new set of Americana-influenced songs
Britney on video: a saga of salacious self-objectification and hyper-kitsch
Songs for soundtracks from shoegaze-influenced Bristol five-piece
Presumably the last word on 'White Light/White Heat' and the definitive collection of Texan Sixties stars