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Live04

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Album Review

Anyone fortunate enough to see Mouse on Mars live — particularly on their Idiology or Radical Connector tours — knows that the group sheds the restraint they usually show on record for a jubilant, almost hedonistic energy that's more about dancing than chin-stroking. Compiled from various stops on the group's 2004 North American and European tours, Live04 documents that energy with Mouse on Mars' first official live album. Since these dates were recorded the same year the group released Radical Connector, it's not surprising that Live04's track listing is heavy on songs from that album. "Heavy" also describes the way these performances sound; Radical Connector was pretty dancefloor-ready to begin with, and the songs from it sound even more amped-up here. The nine-minute version of "Wipe That Sound" is downright anthemic, and "All the Old Powers"' beat sounds even more like large objects being tossed around and smashed to bits. "Mine Is in Yours" really benefits from the extra, in-concert oomph, sounding much bigger and badder than previously imagined, as well as a whole lot funkier, thanks to a huge, fuzzy synth bass that hasn't been heard since the likes of Eddy Grant's "Electric Avenue." However, the rest of Live04's selections are pretty diverse, skipping from expected (but still great) performances of Idiology's mighty single "Actionist Respoke" and Autoditacker's classic "Twift," to a surprising amount of tracks from Niun Niggung (the speedy, electrifying run-through of that album's "Distroia" is one of the album's peaks) to the sparkly, majestic finale, "Frosch," which goes all the way back to Mouse on Mars' 1994 debut album, Vulvaland. Considering that these performances were culled from different shows, Live04 sounds remarkably cohesive; the album's only disappointment is that Niobe, the vocalist whose tracks were among Radical Connector's very best, didn't join Mouse on Mars on tour, so none of her songs are represented here. Nitpicking aside, Live04 is a very entertaining live album, and while it's still not quite the same as seeing Mouse on Mars in concert, that it manages to capture even a fraction of the atmosphere and sweat of their shows makes it potent stuff indeed.

Biography

Formed: 1993 in Düsseldorf, Germany

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Dabbling in complex, heavily hybridized forms of everything from ambient, techno, and dub to rock, jazz, and jungle, German post-techno duo Mouse on Mars was the combined effort of Andi Toma and Jan St. Werner (of Köln and Düsseldorf, respectively). Mouse on Mars formed in 1993, reportedly when Werner and Toma met either at a death metal concert or a health food store. Working from Werner's studio, the pair fused an admiration for the early experiments of Krautrock outfits like Can, Neu!, Kluster,...
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Live04, Mouse On Mars
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