Jan St. Werner

Molocular Meditation

  • AllMusic Rating
    8
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Having previously worked together as part of the short-lived side project Von Südenfed, Mouse on Mars' Jan St. Werner reunited with the Fall's Mark E. Smith for the creation of "Molocular Meditation," a "bespoke light and sound environment" that premiered at Manchester's now-defunct arts center Cornerhouse in 2014. Remastered from a surround sound installation into a stereo recording, the piece forms the basis of an LP of the same title, issued two years after Smith's untimely 2018 passing. Sounding as grumpy and acerbic as ever, Smith barks out a series of pointed observations about various subjects such as young American males' trouble with public speaking. His loosely connected ramblings are shaped by phasing effects and surrounded by hypnotic oscillations, and an explosion of chaotic feedback about 14 minutes in provides the piece's most startling, dramatic moment. The other pieces on the album were written around the same time, and are a bit more urgent. "Back to Animals" has persistent jackhammer-like arrhythmic beats similar to Werner's Spectric Acid, but it doesn't feel as claustrophobic, and there's room for Smith's booming surrealisms. "On the Infinite of Universe and Worlds" is a more ecstatically charged sequence of playful vibrations which takes a stranger turn when a shouting fit derails it during the second half. Smith pops up one last time during concluding track "VS Cancelled," during which he recites Domino Records' email to Von Südenfed announcing that the project had been dropped from the label. Smith takes it in stride, barely containing his laughter at some points, while mechanical whirring and clanging punctuate his voice. While some of Werner's solo efforts, brilliant as they are, can seem cold and challenging, Smith's vocals on the album draw out the levity and excitement for exploring new ideas that might not be apparent otherwise.

blue highlight denotes track pick