Review Summary: Juke on Mars
Since the mid ‘90s, the ever-prolific Mouse on Mars have managed to stay startlingly fresh and ahead of the curve in the muted underworld of underground electronic music. It’s a story that beginnings with the laid-back and krautrock leanings of their debut Vuvaland
, as they expanded to the rich subtitles and micro-grooves of Iaora Tahiti
, before warping their sound again to the constantly malfunctioning electro fever dream Idiology
. This eccentric and supernatural world has since been dug up and exposed to a substantially larger audience, with Mouse on Mars’ keynote erratic eschews of modern electronics being explored by a new generation of producers. Despite this, Mouse on Mars make brilliant use of this homologous relationship between younger and older generations by utilizing the best of both worlds with the Spezmodia
EP, as they continue to build upon their wacky and idiosyncratic brand of electronic music within the similarly crazed and convention-breaking worlds of Juke and Footwork.
Letting holographic champagne loose is the acidic funk of ‘Bakerman Is Breaking Bad’, as a fury of snares and hi-hats attempt to guide a screwball of knob twisted modulations. If hinting at inspiration from the TV show, this track would best suit a see-thru Dreamcast-era arcade cabinet decked out in strains of flashing neon lights, featuring bold and jagged polygon recreations of Walter White and Jesse Pinkerman as they gun down Los Pollos Hermanos mech warriors that are programmed to terminate them at all costs (yes, this game diverges from its source material … slightly). ‘Cream Theme’ instantly transforms the rail-line funk of its predecessor into a machine steamed and bubbling Juke banger, scoring gifs of 3D models and the furious fingers of hyper-scrolling midnight hackers with backlit neon green keyboards. Naturally the hard-drive overheats a bit as the title track is forced to carry a slower and heavier tectonic groove; gradually collecting various glitched, echoing, and hyper-repeating vocal samples along the way. In its final minute, the track ascends off screen and into hyperspace with an intensely melodic and wonderfully radiant set of synth chords that affirm Mouse on Mars’ rich sense of time and execution within the palette of electronic dance music.
The latter half of Spezmodia
boasts two huge, overtly-synthesized bangers in the form of ‘Migmy’ and ‘I See Dizzy’, making fantastic use of the dynamic BMP’s, accelerated rhythms, and sampling of Juke, and the Chicago bred sub-bass of Footwork, as they wrap it around the context of their own pre-established trademarks; aggressive melodies, knob spinning disorientation, and flourishing micro sounds and subtleties. Despite Spezmodia
documenting Mouse on Mars' attempt to modify and revamp a pre-existing sound, they reject any logic of trend hoping or bandwagoning the recent boom of Juke and Footwork, by creating something that completely bypasses the sea of both home and studio producers that have so hazardously swarmed the sound. Simply put there isn’t a weak link throughout Spezmodia
’s five tracks, with each track representing a different mode and flavor of Juke and Footwork. It’s incredibly catchy and uniquely constructed music from a storied duo that continues to stay relevant and atop of the pile over 20 years into their career, as they ultimately collide their talents into the richest and most rewarding release from this sound in a quite some time.