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- Posted on Jun 4th 2010 4:30PM by David Dacks
"We think that electronic music is really exciting again," Mouse On Mars' Jan St. Werner tells Spinner. "Or maybe for the first time ever."
St. Werner feels that now is the time to dive back into releasing music, but acknowledges they are caught up in what would be called "woodshedding new material" were they jazz musicians. A new album may or may not be forthcoming, but there will be plenty of fresh music on hand at their June 4th performance among like-minded artists at the MUTEK electronic music festival in Montréal.
"In the past, we've avoided being labeled as electronic music act cause we found it very limiting. But these days, it seems like all these genres have been mashed together -- kids use what they find interesting from whatever background and whatever scene. They're not afraid -- they don't care and they do what they like. Kids use the computer as a treasure box, not as something that makes them do things super-strict. We've passed through this horrible decade of minimal techno into a richness of sound and joy with electronic music. The more crazy you are, the more likely you are to get noticed."
Starting where pioneering German electronic groups like Kraftwerk and Neu! left off, Mouse on Mars were never as regimented as their inspirations -- nor their contemporaries. This likely endeared them to Rick Rubin, whose (Def) American Recordings issued their first two albums in the US. Displaying a fondness for ambient textures, pop song structures and placing variable priorities on dancing, they've become both more experimental and more rhythmic over the years, with stints on both Chicago's post-rock signature label Thrill Jockey and Mike Patton's experimentally minded Ipecac.
In the past few years, there have been more frequent side-projects, but the partnership between St. Werner, Andi Toma, and latterly, percussionist Dodo Nkishi, continues to deepen.
"We give each other a lot of space, there's a lot of freedom," says St. Vincent. "I think freedom keeps people together, or maybe that's pretentious. But it's still fun in the studio, and it becomes a different thing at some point. We've seen each other's kids grow up; now it's like a family."
The group released ten albums from 1994-2007, but it's three years and counting since their last effort, recorded with Mark E Smith from the Fall (as Von Sudenfed). "We're still working on a record, we started quite a while ago and it became so much like an ongoing process and considering the state of the music industry, it didn't put on so much pressure for us to release an album. So we keep juggling these things back and forth and playing live. We don't even want to finish them, but we're about to fix that in the summer so that we're finished that task."
"It's a good thing our audience is so patient; we should really do it. Maybe spring 2011?"
Until then, Mouse On Mars is happy to circle the Earth, even if they aren't coming in for a landing anytime soon.