A pleasant mess
Electronic music cult-favorite Mouse on Mars is back. As veterans of blending styles and sonic experimentation, their newest album Dimensional People sticks to that philosophy. Delivering track after track of cerebral sound collages and utilizing many artists from all over the musically sphere (Bon Iver, Spank Rock, two members of The National, one of Beirut and so on), Dimensional People is a “throw everything at the wall and see what sticks” kind of album that finds a perfect balance between organic and synthetic.
On Dimensional People, Mouse on Mars blends every track seamlessly, and with so much variety and so many collaborators that is no easy task. This is exhibited well on the three track intro “Dimensional People (1, 2 and 3).” This is essentially one long abstract IDM/ jazz fusion jam, a steady and never ending clave and cymbal line is met with dispersed saxophone, guitar and vocal licks. This three part introduction is actually an amazing piece of electronic music. The jazzy and improvisational feel of the accompanying instrumentation is balanced well with a repetitive techno percussion. The trilogy ends with a beautiful atmospheric outro, which showcases the duos experimental side with thick pulsating synth tones and a surreal collage of samples and sound. Then we get a perfect transition into “Foul Mouth,” a track continuing the swirl of synth and sample, but with a groovy new beat and great featuring performances by Amanda Bank and Zach Condon.
“Aviation” sounds more like a slow indie ballad then techno or IDM, but Spank Rocks gravelly voice and Mouse on Mars’ ability to bless their collaborators sound with quirky electro weirdness makes for a fresh take on old sounds. “Parliament Of Aliens Part 1” is a slow experimental series of sound design strangeness that leads into a deconstructed bluegrass song. Turns out experimental Bluegrass IDM is a thing now, and it’s awesome. “Daylight” is a welcome increase of speed and groove, with funky world percussion and cut and pasted bits of instrumentation that fly around and keep things interesting.
A good portion Dimensional People is made up of pulsating long echoes of warm synths and cut up sound. These are perfectly blended and layered against energetic crescendos and the occasional nugget of groovy drum programming. “Resume” and “Sydney In a Cup” proves this point, these tracks are weird as hell and cool everything down with psychedelic dub reggae.
Dimensional People is the product of experimentation. The veteran technical ability and skill required to work with a diverse cast of collaborators and still come up with a cohesive and pleasant listening experience is undeniably impressive. All of which comes together to offer many rewards for the patient and open minded.