Mouse On Mars
If you're getting a hankering for a new album from Mouse On Mars (their last release, Idiology came out almost two years ago already), you'll have to sit tight for awhile longer, but provided you're not an obsessive collector of their work, Rost Pocks - The EP Collection will provide you with many a tracks to love. As the title suggests, this 15 song (and nearly 80-minute) disc is a collection of the groups fairly prolific EP output over the years, some of which has become rather difficult to track down. Their first single, "Frosch" came out 10 years ago, and they've been chugging along since then, encorporating slightly new elements into their sound without managing to sound redundant.
After listening to this release, one of the most surprising things is that much of the earlier music from the group doesn't sound nearly as dated as some of their contemporaries. While others were tinkering with presets, the duo of Jan St. Werner and Andi Toma had already immersed themselves in a world of bubbling, gurgling sounds that set them apart from much of what was being created at the time. The disc opens with the aforementioned "Frosch," and despite lacking some of the current production fads, the track doesn't feel nearly ten years old with the layers of warm feedback and the soft melodies.
Part of the reason that a good majority of the material from the group stands the test of time is that they were in fact ahead of many other groups in doing certain things. Their warm programming and squishy beats preceeded the logical progression of what artists like Jan Jelinek have pushed into a more aseptic territory, and much of the IDM world has been pumping out the same sorts of similar pretty melodies for the past couple years. That's not to say that Mouse On Mars invented any of the above things, but they did do most of them well, and made the music fun to boot.
The first time I heard "Twift" (many many years ago on some compilation or another), it opened my head up a little bit in terms of music that could not only be cerebral, but make me want to move my butt as well. Switching between some cut-up breaks and a slappy 4/4, the track has an insanely catchy melody (that sounds like it's being played on a digitally-processed kazoo), but is a feat of programming as well, shifting and switching and somehow keeping it all together. On the other side of the coin, "Maus Mobil" (which I also heard on a Trans-Europe Express Comp or something like that) is a wonder of switch-hitting ambience. Leading in with layers of pads and a simple beat, the track eventually busts loose with frenetic beats and all manner of fun. Although I was lazy in not picking up more of their EP's, it seems that my slackness has now been rewarded with this release. Although I have a couple minor quibbles with it (the tracks aren't in any sort of chronological order), they're very minor, and overall the disc is a must-have for just about anyone who enjoys electronic music.