Mouse on Mars

Idiology

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While their peers in the field of electronic music continued to either overshoot experimentally (resulting in radical, unlistenable work) or make the same records over and over again, German duo Mouse on Mars pumped out radical, intriguing work by the bucketful. Idiology, the duo's seventh full LP in as many years, is a more immediate album than its predecessor (Niun Niggung), not quite as reliant on the hyperprogramming and content to simply chug along with crunchy beats and the usual roster of push-the-envelope effects. The opener (and single), "Actionist Respoke," sets the agenda immediately, with a red-line vocal sample shimmying its way through a crunchy breakbeat production. It's probably the most traditional track on the album though, as the pair throws away the Mouse on Mars rule book for much of the rest of Idiology. "Subsequence" works its way around a dabbling piano line soon taken up by clarinet and strings as well, with all manner of effects/samples chirping away in the background. Tracks three and four comprise ten minutes of practically beatless, chaotic bliss, introduced by a fetchingly overenunciated vocal from drummer Dodo Nkishi. The next, "Catching Butterflies With Hands," lurches along like an obviously dysfunctional toy from some Disney cartoon, struggling to perform its duties and, in an odd way no one could've expected, succeeding. Hidden within Idiology are at least half-a-dozen mini-masterpieces of neo-electronic composition, and as many tracks of flat-out electro-funk. Most significant of all when considering Mouse on Mars is that, in the notoriously coattails-riding electronic scene, no one's been able to duplicate what Mouse on Mars does so often, so consistently, and so well.

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