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Rost Pocks

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Album Review

Coming out of electronica's left field, Mouse on Mars released three albums and five EPs for the British hyper-indie Too Pure between 1994 and 1997. The duo would later kick-start an abstract electronic community based in Köln, but during these years Jan St. Werner and Andi Toma were simply two creative German lads using the same instruments as many dance producers but conjuring radically different, wildly creative music from them. It all began in 1992, when Jan Werner, one half of Mouse on Mars, sent a tape to the duo's favorite British label, the home of Stereolab and Seefeel, enclosing a polite note that read in part, "You may not like what we're doing, but thanks for releasing those records." Even after the group refused to change their name (over the protests of label co-founder Paul Cox), Too Pure couldn't help but release the first fruits of their work, a pair of 1994-1995 singles ("Frosch," "Bib") and albums (Vulvaland, Iaora Tahiti) that suddenly made a raft of electronic productions nearly obsolete. Mouse on Mars tracks were dense where much electronica had been spare and skeletal, with dozens of clever, imaginative ideas — multiple percussion lines, acid effects, distortion — bouncing around the mix on each track. From 1997, productions spearheaded by the singles "Twift" and "Cache Couer Naif" (the latter with vocals from Stereolab's Laetitia Sadier) included all of MoM's previous innovations, but added a surprising sense of melody that hooked American listeners and echoed contemporary work by Stereolab itself. For the nonfanatical, Rost Pocks: The EP Collection collects most of the duo's nonalbum work for Too Pure, and throws in a bonus: "Maus Mobil," which originally appeared on a volume in the Trance Europe Express series.


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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Rost Pocks, Mouse On Mars
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