IDM students Mouse On Mars finally reach the ripe old age of twenty-one, meaning they can drink while playing electronica in the States. Good for them. Also: here's a record to celebrate their birthday. It's called '21 Again', and features stacks on stacks of collaborations from friends like Tortoise, Laetitia Sadier, Machinedrum, Errorsmith and so many others. Many, many, many happy returns.
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- MTR52CD / 2CD on Monkeytown feat. collaborations with: Cavern of Anti-Matter, Tortoise, Errorsmith, Dodo NKishi, Scratch Pet Land, Eric D Clark, Helado Negro, Siriusmo, Modeselektor feat. Mr. Maloke, Atom TM, Laetitia Sadier etc.
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- 21 Again by Mouse On Mars
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8/10 XanderGJones Customer review, 25th November 2014
Mouse on Mars albums are difficult to describe, and 21 Again is no exception. It boasts a huge 30 tracks. 23 collaborations and 7 spoken-word/short semi-tracks.
It starts off strong as Mancunian legend Mark E. Smith and wife and fellow bandmate Eli Poulou wish the dynamic duo a happy 21st, before MES mumbles a two-lined tongue-in-cheek poem. The first collaboration is with Cavern of Anti-Matter, on 'Fertilized' - an 80s guitar-driven dance funk tune that cleanses us of Daft Punk's 2013 Summer cringer 'Get Lucky'. Not a Pharrell Williams in sight. If I'm honest, I haven't heard of all the musicians on this album, but it's no bad thing. Tortoise bring an edge of post-rock to the track 'Shoe Fly', both Eric D. Clark and Junior Boys collaborate with MoM on possibly the most accessible tracks on this album. the MoM/Candie Hank collaboration track, 'Metaloona Swamp', fuses post-techno grooves with the echoes of banjo strings in something that I can't liken to anything I've heard before. Whilst the buzzing laptop noises provided in part by F.X. Randomiz on 'Fromm' remind me of why electronic music, even in simple states of melody with anarchic precision, appeals to me so much.
However, it's the tracks MoM have collaborated on with the bigger names that really stand out. The juke/footwork elements from MoM's WOW mini-album make a welcome appearance on this album, with the help of Modeselektor for the track 'Purple Fog'. It's about bloody time these two duos spent some time in the studio, and why not throw rapper Mr. Maloke into the mix? This is made for the club, bangin' stuff. Juke-hero Machinedrum steps in with his own personal form of relaxed footwork in the tropical sounding 'Juice Clr 9', fast high-hats, light snares... obviously Machinedrum. Now for the weirdest track on this extravaganza, 'Immer Kurz Davor', in which Siriusmo and all his glorious, over-the-top, visceral, sharp synths and playful beats take control over a videogame-style voice sample - a true highlight. In a fairly exciting twist, the guys and Matthew Herbert reform the short-lived collaborative project of the early-2000s, DJ's Collapse. the wooden scratches during the intro of 'Double Gum' couldn't be anyone other than Matthew Herbert, a bizarre 'can-I-dance-to-this?' vibe that I feel Herbert has perfected over the years.
The majority of the tracks on this album are very enjoyable, but as a continuous listen, the consistency does fall flat in some places. But, to be fair, how could a 30-track collaborative compilation album stay as consistent as a regular 12-or-so-track album? Sadly, my main problem is the fact that the very last tune on 21 Again is a chip-tune rendition of the happy birthday song by world's shittest DJ, DJ Scotch Egg. it's only 39 seconds, but I'm baffled how such an impressive line-up could end with this guy taking the prolific 'last-track'.
Anyway, 21 Again is impressive and a must-buy for any Mouse on Mars enthusiast.
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