John Maus returns! Six years have passed since ‘We Must Become The Pitiless Censors’ -- during which time Maus has toured, released a rarities collection and finished his doctorate in Political Philosophy. He sounds as towering and stately as ever on Screen Memories; the record is another personal one which will haunt and invigorate. He even designed and built the modular synths he plays on it. Polyphony abounds! LP / CD on Ribbon music.
- LP £20.99
- Sold out.
- Shipping cost: n/a
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- RBN072LPX / Limited silver coloured vinyl LP on Ribbon Music. Edition of 500 copies
- Includes download code
8/10 Robin Staff review, 26 October 2017
Keyboard goth and bud to Ariel Pink (sigh), John Maus has been gone for a long time, no doubt perfecting his brand of philosophy-seminar synth pop. His last record, ‘We Must Become The Pitiless Censors of Ourselves’, was his best work yet, a tone poem both twilit and machiavellian. Seeing less and less of himself in his own music, Maus now returns with the looping phantom songs of ‘Screen Memories’, which see his instruments take control in self-perpetuating pop bliss.
These brief and vague tracks see Maus give himself over to his music, letting the spooky chords, funky basslines and ridiculous affectations become moodboards for him to ride by on. It’s massively fitting for him: the lyrics, absent-minded and repetitive, feel like ad-libs from someone who’s adjusting to life in a new dimension. Weirdly, it sees him at his catchiest, focusing on a hook and letting it sing for itself: the punky “Find Out” takes a riff and lets it circle, slowly growing choral hums and a mix of distorted taunts and coos from Maus.
As always, it’s a Maus grab bag. Some of it is unbelievably sweet: the constant, overdriven sparkle of “Decide Decide” is some of the most saccharine and tranquil music he’s made. Other moments are all about forward momentum, the bassline accelerating way over the speed limit in ways that would infuriate Future Islands on “The People are Missing”. And some of it sounds like time spent dreaming away ideas: the disco inflections of “Sensitive Recollections” are murmured out of existence into a lovely slice of meandering pop music with his typical mix of massive textural sheen and minute melodic quiet. Plenty of songs, are of course, dumb as hell -- we’d expect nothing less.
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