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Mouse on Mars - Dimensional People (Thrill Jockey)

Mouse on Mars - Dimensional People
11 April 2018

Dimensional People sees German electronic duo Mouse on Mars returning to Thrill Jockey for their first full-length in six years. Jan St. Werner and Andi Toma are back for another blistering round of analog synth wizardry, but they are hardly going it alone, as they are joined by their most high profile and eclectic batch of guest musicians yet. The sides to this LP are sequestered like corners of the universe, divided by aural sectors that indebt their unique formations to the correlating participants. By its end, the wide berth of ideas and styles put to use play out like a series of bite-sized In the Fishtank performances, each touting its own brand of curiosity.

The titular track buzzes with a clatter of what summates to be light-speed rakes on guiros that soon grow—so subtly it’s hard to tell precisely when—into the steady beating of hi-hats. Justin Vernon of Bon Iver becomes more vocally upfront throughout the piece, as if to say, “Correct, that is me.” Considering the spatially experimental mixing of 22, A Million, his involvement seems kismet given the recent recording interests; additionally, Vernon is a self-professed dabbler in the MoM-curated fluXpad software. The frenetic, journeying soundscape is up both their alleys, and the collaboration is one of mutual benefit.

“Foul Mouth” contorts the vocals of Beirut’s Zach Condon into a limitless meshed tapestry, bending at the will of St. Werner and Toma. They’ve constructed a composite library of his voice, able to pull any accent from it at any time to fit any occasion, similarly to Death Grips’ sampling of Björk on The Powers That B. The euphoric sprawl follows a vibrant verse from frequent rap partners Amanda Blank and Spank Rock built atop the eternally relatable methodology of clumsy self-deprecation that SZA and Noname have come to popularize. “I keep on talking shit but now the party’s over there,” feels right at home; a stark, eye-rolling admission on an album so steeped in cool about losing one’s own.

The fiddle-rife first movement of “Parliament of Aliens” stabs a fork into any comfort of melody that may have begun to gain momentum. Tasteful disorder is the dress code with any MoM release; remember it’s intelligent dance music, not dance music. St. Werner and Toma are, after all, mad scientists of the scene, so the disarray is welcome in tandem with the brilliance. The scatterbrained palette of those who RSVP’d yields a web of varying sounds, and that’s all part of the creative process for these radical inventors.

Speaking of varying, “Résumé” gifts us a delightfully odd spoken word passage from Swamp Dogg, offering a ponderous take on the mark we leave in life; what we’ll be remembered for; quite literally, what will stand out most on the curriculum vitae our bodies are left with once we’ve met with our sky daddies. It’s an easygoing ramble, straddling the line between poetry and waxing nostalgic. At one point, he namedrops his first big break back in 1966 as Little Jerry Williams, “Baby, You’re My Everything.” The track even breaks at that point to plant a sample of the tune before returning to MoM’s contemplative, quasi-dub grind, intimating Dimensional People’s candy aisle of a sonic spectrum in just one of several sittings.

You may purchase the record here.