Feb 16, 2009

Out of Jan 'Mouse On Mars' St Werner, Brian Eno and Merzbow, who do you think would do the fandango?

Before I get my hands filthy with three recent albums, I ought to warn you that I've been obsessed with horses for the past few weeks.  Not Equus-obsessed, but just finding-them-amusing obsessed.  So at some point during this blog post, I will exclaim "Horse!" when you least expect it.  Be ready.

Jan St Werner, of Mouse On Mars and Von Sudenfed fame, has again branched out into his solo guise Lithops.  By all means, look up Lithops' new album Ye Viols, but please don't expect a Mouse-type jaunt.

When it's upbeat, it's like trampolining on barbed wire; when it's downbeat, it's like having your head rolled in setting fibre glass.  I can only assume that while making Mouse On Mars tracks, St Werner tidies out all the mistakes and broken ideas by turning his studio upside-down, shaking it, and letting all the snippets and imperfections pour into Lithops.

Ye Viols is a must only for die-hard Autechre fans and appreciators of sparkling, pristine production.  If you're not fussed about either of these, stick to Mouse On Mars.

Album number two.  Brian Eno collaborated with Moebius and Roedelius, who are jointly known as Cluster (photo: Mark Pilkington).  They brought us an album called After The Heat, an LP rich with rural etherealtronica, Vangelis-inspired soundtrackism and cute popsurreality.

After I've finished making up words, consider that this album is over 30 years old. Its re-release sits neatly in our Twitterfied world of dubstep and glitch, like a cool grandpops who knows how to get out of his threadbare chair and get down with the kids.

The best track on After The Heat is The Belldog.  It has a synthy bass which circles and circles, building a huge sense of foreboding, and also because of its 70s analogueness, makes the whole track sound like the Airwolf pilots getting stoned.

Which brings me, finally, to another old master.  Merzbow has released the first volume of his 13 Japanese Birds series, as written about so eloquently here on my site.

If you can stomach 20 minute tracks of frenetic precision drumming and bustling distortion, then you're a greater person than me. I'm just thrilled he called one track Fandangos In Space.  I want to have a fandango in space.  Can someone arrange that, please?

Did you see my horse-shout?  It's in the first paragraph of this post.  I told you it'd be when you least expect it.  I'm clever, me.


steve said...

Yeah, I have the first Lithops - very ambient and listenable, when compared with some of the other cds I've listened too. I'll probably get this one due to the collectibility factor. Thanks for the review!

Fat Roland said...

It's okay to be a Lithops completist. It's cheaper than being, say, a Kraftwerk or an Eno completist.