05 March 2012

Baku Mice From Mars

This week I have mostly been listening to... Parastrophics by Mouse on Mars.

MoM have long been one of my favourite artists, Iaora Tahiti and Autoditaker would be up there in my top twenty albums, with at least one being in my top ten. The ambient soudscapes of 1994's debut Vulvaland were replaced by the squlechy bouncy sound of Iaora Tahiti and Autoditaker that became their trademark for the guts of the next decade. They then took a slight detour with the inclusion of vocals on their 2004 album Radical Connector which apparently many fans did not approve of, though for me it produced one of their best tracks, Wipe That Sound, later remixed with Mark E. Smith as This Sound Wiped which lead to the full scale and delightfully bizarre collaboration under the moniker Von Südenfed. In an attempt to recapture a less-poppy sound they went in an entirely more glitchy direction for 2006's Varchaz, which while channeling Autechre did not channel the right bits, and for me was almost unlistenable to in some parts and just plain boring in others.

Last week saw the release of their first album since the ill-fated Varchaz, now at their new home on Modeselektor's Monkeytown label, and the six year break and change of scenery have done wonders for them. The most obvious thing is that the fun is back, this is bouncy happy fun time, true to both their early sound while maintaining elements of the vocal driven energy of Radical Connector through the continuation of their collaboration with drummer and vocalist Dodo NKishi.

I read a review of the album that said "If [Mouse on Mars] were a breakfast cereal [they] would surely be rice crispies: mixing genres and twisting their sound into odder and odder shapes until it snap-crackle-and-pops the listener from all sides" and that's not a bad analogy (also illustrating why I write mostly about things that annoy me, I have a thousand ways of describing something egregious, but when I like something I can rarely do better than, "um, its good, right?"). Remember back when you were a kid and you first heard the sound coming from the bowl as the milk was poured in, remember the smile on your face? That's what Mouse on Mars always does to me, it puts a big phat squlechy grin on my face that lingers long after the music has stopped.

Anyway, the video above is for Polaroyced, probably the stand-out track from the album (though I'm also a bit partial to the frenetic pace of Baku Hipster, though possibly am only mentioning this to make the tortured title of this post make sense) and you can find out more about Mouse on Mars at their website here.



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