Mouse on Mars


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As clever and tightly constructed as Parastrophics was, it was missing a bit of Mouse on Mars' anarchic humor. Apparently the duo saved it up to use on WOW, which could be named for the sound Andi Toma and Jan St. Werner's synths make on it, or for their listeners' response to the sheer amount of sounds and shifts within its mischievous, hyperactive tracks. It's easy to see how making WOW could have been a stress release after crafting an album as complicated as Parastrophics, which took five years of work; this mini-album -- which arrived nine months after Parastrophics -- was done in a number of weeks. WOW looks to the club for inspiration, but given Mouse on Mars' modus operandi, it shouldn't be surprising that it's not full of dancefloor burners. "ACD," whose self-explanatory name reflects its burbling synths and frenetic techno beat, comes the closest to conventional dance fare. Elsewhere, "HYM' intercuts its liquid-sounding bass music with soulful-sounding synths at a rapid-fire pace; the synth fantasia "PUN" pits a funky, stair-stepping melody against percussive breakdowns; and "CAN"'s sprightly busyness echoes the duo's Idiology work. Of course, Mouse on Mars are just as precise on tracks such as "APE"'s witty twist on jungle music or "SUN"'s hypnotic-yet-frantic workout as they were on Parastrophics, but the results are a lot wilder -- and that's not even taking into account the brief tracks featuring Vietnamese vocalist Dao Anh Khanh, whose antics only make the proceedings feel even choppier and more feral. WOW works not only as a counterpoint to Parastrophics, but as another example of the flights of fancy Mouse on Mars explored on albums like Varcharz and Idiology.

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