Jan St. Werner and Andi Toma the duo that still make up Mouse On Mars are up to it all over again, not only are they headlining Moogfest in North Carolina in May, here is their first studio outing in four years, and first time back with Thrill Jockey in over a dozen years. Released on April 13th, Dimensional People is a delicious marriage between out-funk-jazz ala 70’s Bitches Brew-era Miles Davis and the percussive electronic experimentation we grew to love on their early efforts, Iaora Tahiti and Vulvaland. Here they employ a host of near thirty collaborators (Justin Vernon, Spank Rock, The National, Swamp Dogg, Amanda Blank, Ensemble Musikfabrik to name a few) all lending voice as well as a bevy of funky rhythmic miasma. The first three tracks, Dimensional People Parts I, II + III, are unrelenting in their musicality, full throttle fast forward. There are measures woven into the design of Foul Mouth that has learned from the diversity of hip-hop as well as the patterning Philip Glass symphonies (Aviation) – all hidden in the depths of a kaleidoscopic music box. With well as over two decades of raising the bar of electronic music these two have dipped their toes into fluid bodies both crystal clear and like quicksand.
These dozen tracks all flow sweetly into each other, but have distinct atmospheres. You witness some signature acoustic play in the way they stretch tones as on Parliament Of Aliens Part I where naked vocals recall both Meredith Monk and Fever Ray in the same breath. Though these guys, never content to be pegged, add layers of a blue grass spiritual with accompanying fiddle. It’s all in the de/constructivist tempo and fantastic new direction for this enduring outfit. So many pieces, playing in harmony, and in its echo, drop and pop attitude. More akin to nu-jazz than to standard electronic fare it plays like the session musicians from Talking Heads if they were still playing as a unit today. On Tear To My Eye the individual players are doing their own thing, allowing for everyone to shine in the light, both vocally and through the magical percussive flavors that are interspersed quite free throughout but never lost.
This album will be available in digital form as well as on LP and CD which is great for all aesthetics of listeners, mainly because this one should be heard far and wide by many. It’s resiliently musical and filled by much unanticipated in the wake of their last few (to these ears) lack-lustre efforts, instead this is up with their absolute best. This will make their fans happy, as will it the most scrutinizing. Dimensional People has a funky soul with blurpy (hints of Stereolab), strange and colorful experimentation (Parliament Of Aliens Part III) unafraid to bring in spoken word (Résumé) as a catalystic counterpart to the altered, rootsy dub. Concluding with the drum-driven Sidney In A Cup we enter a world of Temptations-like vocal arrangements met by hues of Hawaiian tinkling rhythms and a voice reminding us to basically just let go of the detritus of excess. And scene!