German duo Mouse on Mars, Jan St. Werner and Andi Toma, released two albums in 2012, the full-length Parastrophics and the mini-album WOW (an initialization of their name turned upside down). Try as I might, I was never able to get the download of the record to play, so I decided to check out the mini-album instead.
The press notes describe WOW as a "club-oriented counterpart" to Parastrophics, but it's not the kind of music that would inspire me to move, and that isn't meant as a diss. It's just that the tracks are too oddly-shaped to fill any dance floors I can imagine, not counting those that exist in certain science fiction scenarios.
The 13 fizzy, buzzy selections move briskly, like the product of playful robots (I can imagine Jude Law's airbrushed A.I. character, Gigolo Joe, getting down to them better than any human ever could). Snatches of sampled and processed phrases rise above the mechanical maelstrom on occasion, only to disappear as quickly as they arrived. The only words I could make out: "love sick" and "wow."
A series of making-of videos on YouTube ("WOW Unraveled") demonstrate how MOM came up with the sounds. For "HYM," to name one, they placed a piece of paper in a speaker cabinet or amplifier to create a muffled, fluttery effect.
I like it, but suspect that Parastrophics would be more to my taste. After a six-year break, the band will be touring the States this spring to support the records. Check out a preview below (I'm pleased to see live drums in the mix).
WOW is out now on Monkeytown. MOM are also prepping a 20th-anniversary box set for release later this year. They play Neumos with Matmos on Feb 20.