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Mouse On Mars
(Thrill Jockey)

For cheap bastards like me, Glam has always been one of those releases that I just couldn't justify buying. Although I liked the heck out of Mouse On Mars, and even though I'd heard that it was some of their best work to date, I couldn't plop down the money it would take to buy the disc on Japanese import. Fortunately for me, Thrill Jockey has finally come to my rescue and released the disc domestically, saving me enough money to go out and buy at least one other album.

Glam is a somewhat oddball release for the group in that although it definitely contains some of their signature sounds, it takes a completely different course over 15 tracks than most of their work from a recent time period. Originally composed for a movie in 1996, Glam is an exercise in a wide new range of sounds for the group. They pull off minimal ambience, they chunk it up with one track unleashing an almost industrial beat, and just to keep my heart warm, there is plenty of their usual bubbly sounds that tickly my innards.

Over the course of just about 60 minutes, the group lets loose with some of their most interesting sonics to date. Perhaps it was the freedom of working on a soundtrack score, and perhaps it was something else, but they let loose just a little bit more than normal and it works pretty stunningly almost all of the time. The disc opens with the soft drones of "Port Dusk," and the track slowly wiggles and gurgles until it's swarming with sound, leading in perfectly to the thick beats and pitched-out low-end of "Grindscore." From there, it's on to lo-fi, acid squiggles on "Snap Bar" before dropping off into the deep sea diving ambient drifts of "Tankpark."

There are many standouts on the disc, but some of the best ones are the ones that you wouldn't think to associate with the group if you heard them completely removed from the context of this release. "Rerelease Hysteresis" is a dark, rumbling beast that growls with squelches and tons of low end while "Tiplet Metal Plate" is the aforementioned track in which a healthy dose of feedback is applied to a slamming kickdrum and bits of static fly off in all directions as the thing lurches along.

Offsetting those loud tracks, though, are some of the quietest tracks that the group has ever done as well. "Hi Court Low Cut" is a peacefull wash with just a hint of digital blips and data spit-up and the short "Starroom" is less than one minute of dripping water and barely-there drone. On the one hand, the release has some of the most menacing work that the group has done, and on the other it has some of the most soothing. I suppose it's the combination of those two opposing forces that make it one of the most interesting releases of the entire catalogue by the duo. Although it's not quite typical, it's probably my favorite release by the group, and I'm happy it's finally available for a reasonable price.

Rating: 8.5