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Mouse On Mars
B2 Club 
By Nathaniel Williams
Returning to Russia for their second time, the avant-garde electronic group Mouse on Mars hypnotized the crowd and left the house screaming for more at a packed B2. The show was incredible, and the Expat Site was also lucky enough to talk with one of the most intellectual and humble bands to ever come out of Germany. The members, Jan St.Werner and Andi Toma, took a break from recording their upcoming album to play an energy saturated set in Moscow, and their coming has pushed the club scene here one step closer to what it should be.

In case you haven’t heard their music, you may have a hard time imagining what exactly Mouse on Mars is like. Explained Toma: “There’s something going on with non-linear dynamics order from chaos. Trying to understand forms and structures, and building it all up. It's music that feeds the music. We don’t have a clue what music is, but it's so complex that sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it just slips away.” In other words, Mouse on Mars can’t easily be put into any category. “Maybe there’s a file for what we do, but we don’t know” added St.Werner.

At midnight exactly Mouse on Mars took the stage. Hunched over their table, side by side, a cigarette dangling from St.Werner's mouth, they began their set with sounds like a distorted and undulating Moog Keyboard. For several minutes there was nothing but that particular sound of controlled chaos as the audience seemed to size up what would happen next. Booming bass frequencies swelled up from oblivion while Toma whispered and clicked into a small microphone. His voice came back from a sampler as crisp as a snare drum sonically and repeating hypnotically as a quick and spontaneous drum line. True to the bands philosophy, their set at B2 was pure experimentation; a manifestation of music as stream of consciousness.

They performed standing over a single table that overflowed with samplers, synthesizers, drum machines and a laptop computer all wired together into a swirling mass of synchronization. Their first song ended as ethereally as it had begun. They didn’t play their way through a predetermined set, but simply let the sounds take shape and evolve spontaneously. When I had asked if they felt that their music was more intellectual or more emotional they responded that ‘life is physical and immediate and the music is about that. We don’t really compose, we just let things out… our music is immediate.’ What this meant for the audience was a set not of songs in the traditional sense, but of a process of trying to take in the building, layering, progression, and regression that the band spontaneously creates.

The music of Mouse on Mars was unique in its honesty, and the mostly young and male audience demonstrated their intellect by cheering for encores that kept the show going until just before two in the morning. The impressive sound system at B2, one of the best in Moscow, did the music justice throughout all of its sonic u-turns from scream to whisper, low-pitch to high, and the visuals projected behind the band were mesmerizing. A hip audience, a daring band, and a great venue made for the type of concert that Moscow needs to see more often.

26.06.03
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