Mouse On Mars: Dimensional People (Thrill Jockey)

Storied Düsseldorf based electronic duo retain their curiosity for the form on eleventh LP

Released Apr 13th, 2018 via Thrill Jockey / By Erick Mertz
Mouse On Mars: Dimensional People (Thrill Jockey) The clever German duo posing as Mouse On Mars has been crafting their eccentric brand of electronic music steadily since 1993, a span of time that borders on eons in genre terms. Yet, where other acts have soured or perhaps devolved into stale art installations, each new Mouse On Mars project remains an exciting listen, an assumption that holds true on their newest, Dimensional People a relentlessly strange record that successfully challenges any assumption you might have of sonic normalcy.

The first place to make note on Dimensional People is in terms of texture. The sonic textures that emerge on these twelve tracks are rarely consistent, moods and tones herky-jerky, but rarely do the songs suffer as a result. Andi and Jan are deft at making the hop-skip-jump tempos feel nature, sublime even. The bulk of Dimensional People centres on a pair of three song sequences, the first of the titular triptych opens on a series of jittery loops, overlaid with a minimal jazz horn. The contrast of sanguine and busy is exciting, and Part I reaches an intoxicating crescendo; the track is only four minutes, but it feels like a world has passed by.

The second “Dimension People” is sparse, percussion reduced to taps and a shuffling high hat. A bluesy vocal rises out of the space, forming a bridge into the third part, which is even sparer, in places teetering on desolate. The second sequence is much weirder. Again, Parliament Of Aliens comes in three parts, but the first track and parts two and three are separated by a couple of other tracks (notable there, the album’s longest track “Daylight”). On these, the conceptual core is murkier, but the influences that emerge are divine, the warbling vocals and viola feeling like a long lost Arthur Russell abstract recording.

Twenty-five years behind the mixer has filled the Mouse On Mars discography with collaborations, one-offs and singles galore, but it’s their longer, well-formed compositions that have a more lasting effect. Many bands claim to be experimental, but few actually are. Once again on Dimensional People Mouse On Mars prove they can achieve a curious state without ever being relegated to curiosity.