Mouse on Mars

Live in Detroit

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An unauthorized release but an amusingly packaged one (like similar efforts from the shadowy MCR group, the CD-R disc comes with a random photo with album information stamped on the back), Live in Detroit isn't a deathless effort but still makes for a good listen. Recording quality is high-end audience pro, so while there's a fair amount of chatter throughout (at one point someone says "Hi, Emily!" practically right into the mike), and occasionally it sounds like whoever was handling it stepped further away from the amps, it's still a reasonably good document. Though the exact date of the show is unclear, and no track listing is available, it seems to be from the very late-'90s glam or shortly thereafter, and features the drum/guitar/keyboard version of the touring group. Constructed with discrete songs as opposed to a full, flowing mix (though the disc itself is frustratingly mastered as one track), Live in Detroit is even more of a rock effort than a dance one per se, but what matters isn't the label but the music itself. Droning space-out jams and perfectly precise house/techno beats and melodies may seem diametrically opposed to each other, but just as much as they can combine it in studio, the bandmembers can bring it live. Certainly hearing some of the earlier Vulvaland/Iaora Tahiti-era material pumped up with glazed guitar noise makes for an initially surprising but wonderful combination, while the extra drums add even more of a propulsive attack. Disco-era string sample swirls, country-blues guitar twang (with distorted pseudo-harmonica!), sudden jungle drum breaks undercutting loungey keyboards, and queasy classic-rock stomp sent to heavily flanged thrash-punk hell, and more make Live in Detroit worth sniffing out, wherever it might be found.