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Hey, kids! Do you kids like the electronic music? Do you like it when it gets weird? Do you like the experimentation? Are you less of the type that only likes electronic music to provide a simple uncomplicated beat for you to dance to and one that’s open to and fascinated by its ability to travel, fluctuate, morph, and expand the definition of what’s possible with sound and composition? How about consistent innovators? How about duos? How about Mouse on Mars? How about Matmos? They are touring together and will be performing a show at Neumos right here in Seattle next week. We’re gonna give one of yooz clowns a free pair of tickets to the show. But first, here’s a little background on each of these veteran projects.
MOUSE ON MARS
2013 marks the 20th year in the industry for the German duo of Jan St. Werner and Andi Toma, two highly respected innovators of electronic music that are still pumping out high quality and forward thinking gems 2 decades into their career. Starting with their 1994 debut, Vulvaland up until their 2006 release, Varcharz, Mouse on Mars was consistently pumping out records every 1 to 2 years and the labels that they’ve released them through is a direct reflection of their musical versatility. After putting the first few LPs out on Too Pure (PJ Harvey, Scout Niblet) they transitioned over to their current label, Thrill Jockey (Tortoise, Trans Am, Boredoms) with a one-off divergence to Mike Patton‘s Ipecac label (Melvins, Moistboyz, Hella) for Varcharz. Last year, they returned to Thrill Jockey for their album Parastrophics and then released a follow up mini-album, WOW on Monkey Town. Besides releasing a 2007 collaborative album with Mark E. Smith from legendary UK post-punk outfit The Fall, under the name of Von Südenfed, these were the first Mouse on Mars releases in a full 6 years. Throughout the years, the duo has proven that they are capable of creating everything from half-hour long minimal ambient soundscapes to the 5 second chaotic glitched-out explosions. While it sounds cliche, their recent work really does reflect a combination of everything that they’ve picked up along the way, but with a heightened awareness of depth and perspective. Blankets of sound fall through trap doors, hydraulic turbines drill through brick, releasing thick ectoplasm, clogging and shortcircuiting bug zappers. The dial on a transistor radio picks up static from space, a whale song, and then sonar that mutates into the audio equivalent of an aurora borealis before ping pong balls rain down from the sky ricocheting off of power lines like a jazz bass. Mouse on Mars can present more ideas in a single track than many people present in an entire album; even more than some artist’s entire careers. Plus, their live shows look crazy as all get out.
Check out the following points of interest and then watch a sample live preview:
via press release:
“The new live show presents an improved electronic setup plus sound generated visuals and a subsonic wave modulation device. It will be their first North American tour in six years.“
“Wretchup (is) an iphone app that was invented by Mouse on Mars during preparations for their orchestral work Paeanumnion. It was used in the creation of Parastrophics and now in their live show, and will be available via iTunes in early spring.”
“Mouse on Mars have been busy since the release of Parastrophics and WOW working on a 20-year anniversary boxset (details to be announced in the coming months), starting a new label called “RR,” and launching their new website, www.mouseonmars.com. Additionally, they are starting “Africa Connector,” a musicians network which creates a platform to fund young inventive engineers from underdeveloped countries.”
Another highly innovative and pioneering electronic duo, M.C. Schmidt and Drew Daniel have created their own impressive resume, over the last 15 years, under the moniker of Matmos. If you’re not directly familiar with their own material, there’s a good chance that you’ve heard their work on Bjork‘s Vespertine and/or Medulla albums–they even performed on her Verspertine and Greatest Hits tours. Their newest effort, The Marriage of True Minds (Thrill Jockey), is a return of their own, as well; it’s their first full-length release in 5 years. The release date is scheduled for February 19th, the day before their Seattle stop with Mouse on Mars, but I’ve been listening to it for about a month at this point, and it’s pretty fucking good. Being less familiar with their catalog than some, I was immediately drawn in by the similarities that I heard between it and the final album by The Books, The Way Out. The comparisons deal primarily with the lead off track “You,” which features straight ahead, almost clinical, female vocal samples speaking over a relaxed folktronica beat a la Pause-era Four Tet, but extends to the fact that, like on The Way Out, every one of the tracks has some very drastic elements separating them from the other ones. But the sample are what drew me in and it’s an aspect that they’re known for. In fact, their 2001 album, A Chance to Cut is a Chance to Cure, in comprised from samples from various surgeries ranging from liposuctions to bonesaws. For The Marriage of True Minds, they ventured into even more abstract and ambitious territory: ESP. It’s not likely that I’m going to be able to explain this one better than the press release, so here it is…
The Marriage Of True Minds is Matmos’ first new full-length album in five years and follows 2012’s The Ganzfeld EP, which was the culmination of four years of parapsychological experiments based on the Ganzfeld (“total field”) experiment. Test subjects were put into a state of sensory deprivation by covering their eyes and listening to white noise on headphones, and then Matmos member Drew Daniel attempted to transmit “the concept of the new Matmos record” directly into their minds. The resulting transcripts of the videotaped psychic experiments became poetic and conceptual scores used by Matmos to generate the nine songs on this album, which prominently features vocalists and voices for the first time in Matmos’ work. Guest musicians include Dan Deacon, Dominique Leone, DJ Dog Dick, Leslie Weiner and Holger Hiller (Palais Schaumberg), Jason Willett (Half Japanese), Angel Deradoorian, Jenn Wasner (Wye Oak) and more.
Matmos are known for making toe-tapping rhythmic pop out of odd and unusual sound sources. They have always worn genre loosely, but it’s safe to say that this is the first electronic album to start with tap dancing and end with doom metal, and the only album on which members of Nautical Almanac and the Arditti String Quartet rub shoulders. Comprising stomping techno, eerie synth jams, musique concrete, Latin rhythms, and Ethiopian music, at once at home in the academy, the art gallery, the nightclub and the noise warehouse, the dizzyingly diverse assemblage which is “The Marriage of True Minds” is driven by a tightly unified conceptual agenda: telepathy.
For the past four years the band have been conducting parapsychological experiments based upon the classic Ganzfeld (“total field”) experiment, but with a twist: instead of sending and receiving simple graphic patterns, test subjects were put into a state of sensory deprivation by covering their eyes and listening to white noise on headphones, and then Matmos member Drew Daniel attempted to transmit “the concept of the new Matmos record” directly into their minds. The resulting transcripts became poetic and conceptual scores used by Matmos to generate the nine songs on this album. If a subject hummed something, that became a melody; passing visual images suggested arrangement ideas, instruments, or raw materials for a collage; if a subject described an action, then the band members had to act out that out and make music out of the noises generated in the process of the re-enactment. “The Marriage of True Minds” boasts a promiscuous cast of guest musicians, an array of sonic tactics, and a broad swathe of musical styles, but this diversity is joined together with a common purpose: the translation of this archive of psychic experiments into a delirious hybrid of conceptual noise and electronic pop.
THE CONTEST / GIVEAWAY:
*One winner will receive a pair of tickets to see the following show:
Mouse on Mars
Live @ Neumos
Feb. 20, 2013
HOW TO ENTER:
This contest will be based around the new Matmos album The Marriage of True Minds and it’s focus on extra sensory perception.
Your task as the entrant is to select from one of the major forms of ESP listed below and tell us how/why you would use it.
- Telepathy: the ability to read another person’s thoughts
- Clairvoyance: the ability to “see” events or objects happening somewhere else
- Precognition: the ability to see the future
- Retrocognition: the ability to see into the distant past
- Mediumship: the ability to channel dead spirits
- Psychometry: the ability to read information about a person or place by touching a physical object
Post your answer in the comment section below.
There is no part 3. That’s all there is to the contest. It’s pretty easy… but you should probably read the fine print.
The Fine Print:
All entries must be received by Monday February 18th at 11:59 pm to be eligible.
You can enter as many times as you want, but use a valid email so that we can contact you.
If you sign in with Facebook, make sure that your account can accept a message from us.
Winner will be chosen arbitrarily, based on our personal “favorite”, so try to be interesting.
If you are not sure that you will be able to attend the show, do not enter! You’d be surprised how often that shit happens and we don’t want these going to waste.
If we are unable to contact the winner in a reasonable amount of time, a new winner will be chosen.
[If you have any intentions to post comments asking us to pick you, or asking when the winner will be announced… how about, just don’t do it? It can get pretty obnoxious and it won’t help your chances.]