Credit: Sebastian Szary
Rockers don’t know what this band is doing or how they’re doing it; dancers often seem perplexed at a seeming lack of structure; DJs wouldn’t dare venture into such dangerous territory — but somehow, despite all of the experimental endeavors of Mouse on Mars, they intrigue music lovers of all stripes.
This German avant-garde electronic band is an especially eclectic outfit that can’t possibly be grouped into any specific category. Their discography ranges from ambient chill-out to abstract bombastic sonic onslaughts — and most times the music is a combination of both.
“We don’t really think in track terms,” says founding member, Jan St. Werner. “We think more in story terms. Each song has a narration and has its peaks and ups and downs and comes back together. Each track is really a story, or a drama rather than a set of codes.”
Deconstructing source material and rebuilding it piece-by-piece, Mouse on Mars juxtapose obtuse oscillations with anxiety-filled clicks, clangs and hisses, provoking chaos just to tame it later and massage it into a blissful soundscape or straight-up dance beat.
Six years since their last recording, the band released two albums in 2012, each very different and unique in style. “‘Parastrophics’ was basically a record five years in the making,” says Werner. “‘WOW’ was a record completely in the moment and a just a few weeks in production. In ways those records blend together. ‘Parastrophics’ is basically a riddle and a map, or a ‘house of leaves,’ where ‘WOW’ was about a much more immediate expression of a feeling. It assumes that everything that would need reflection or a sentence would be a waste of time.
‘Massive music monster’
Together with collaborator Andi Toma, Mouse on Mars have covered more sonic landscapes than most other electronic outfits.
“Sometimes I think we are so different that I don’t understand at all what he is about,” says Werner. “You realize that this is really dangerous. If I hang out with this person I could end up in a mental hospital. It’s a bit like what happens when you fall very deeply in love with a person. You want to escape it, but you’re also hyper attracted to it. And that happened musically with Andi. When we sew these qualities together and see this massive music monster appear, we feel like we’re fighting it. I know I need to go and fight it, and I know that only Andi and I can do it.”
If you go
Mouse on Mars with Radio Scotvoid
Saturday, March 2
Great Scott, 1222 Commonwealth Ave., Allston