Von Sudenfed

Mouse On Mark

Tromatic Reflexxions - Domino 2007
Rating = 7

Important things first - what in blazes is wrong with my body today? My abdominal area feels like somebody punched me with a cement bowling ball, and my whole entire back is an achy-breaky back, and it might blow up and kill this man. Have I been poisoned? Do I slouch too much? Should I be sleeping on a firmer mattress? Am I over-exerting myself with the Tae Kwon Do? Is my entire muscular system tied up in one big knot? Come on, you readership of doctors! Help a guy before his pain causes him to create a poorly-written review!

Von Sudenfed is a glamour project bringing together Mark E. Smith, founder/vocalist of the greatest band of all time The Fall, and a couple of assholes. DAMMIT! See? It's already happening? I'm in too much pain to OWWW!!!!

Andi Toma and Jan St. Werner are a pair of young German men who tour the world as electronic music superstars Mouse On Mars. Although they've released like ten albums, I've never heard them and now's no time to start. On this record, however, they perform simple predictable note combinations and chord changes which are then (usually) augmented with piles of fuzzed-out distorted squiggly feedback electronic noise. Some of the beats are danceable, others slow and clunky. Mark is clearly having a great time, and contributes some of the most energetic ranting, melodic singing and bizarre screaming of his entire career. In addition to nine electronic compositions, the disc includes two guitar songs and one track of Mark chit-chatting with a common laborer as a lawn mower or something blasts away in the background - indeed, a real treat for us all.

Still, even with these notable detours, Tromatic Reflexxions comes across as a bit too underwritten. I don't know whether Mouse on Mars' riffs are always this predictable or if they just didn't want to waste any of their best music on a side project, but whichever the case, too many of these songs are indistinguishable from those lo-fi improv tracks that Mark used to throw on the end of Fall albums ("Crew Filth," "Fireworks," etc). Noisier and fuller certainly, but not any more compositionally developed.

Highlights include the melodic electro-pop "The Rhinohead," dark Front 242-esque "Family Feud," goofy sample-driven industrial punker "Duckrog," bizarre acoustic blues pastiche "Chicken Yiamas" (listen to Mark's insane high-pitched nonsense screams in this one!), lovely guitar interplay loop "Dearest Friends," and honest-to-God fully-composed dance club classic "That Sound Wiped." Lowlights include "Fledermaus Can't Get It" (or "Telephone Thing, Again"), "Flooded" (Mark explaining that he's the disc jockey tonight. Over two notes and a beat. For like FIVE MINUTES), and the slow dull clunky undanceable clusters of random beeps and swishles entitled "Serious Brainskin" and "Speech Contamination/German Fear Of Osterreich." Middlelights include CHRIST NOW MY NECK IS HURTING TOO!!! I blame that Asian massage lady I went to last week. Not only did she not offer me a 'happy ending'; she apparently also bruised every muscle in my torso in such a way that I wouldn't feel the pain until a week later. Chinks are crafty like that. Chinks in the armor of my musculature, that is. Put there by that Asian massage lady.

I know I may sound overly harsh on this disc, but I'm in severe discomfort here. I am glad it exists, even though I don't find it as enjoyable as even the weakest Fall studio album (this 7 is LOW LOW LOW). Mark is in better-than-top form, constantly experimenting with his aged voice and coming up with interesting phrases to repeat as mantras as the electronics pip-pip away behind him. I've no clue how this compares to other Mouse On Mars records, but they come up with a few great loopy hooks and Mark obviously enjoys making music with them;. This is not at all a case of him simply talking on top of backing tracks -- his input is timed to the arrangements.... such as they are.

If you're a Fall fan, you need it. If you're a Mouse on Mars fan, you need it. If you're a random electronic music fan, you may like it. If you're a random rock/pop fan, you probably won't.

Because I hurt too much to be hilarious, here's a Myspace Bulletin I filled out yesterday when I was as pain-free as a cloud resting on a pillow. Apparently it was intended to be answered only by figure skaters, but how was I supposed to know that, asshole Bulletin Board.

How long did you skate for?
Just one time. My wife made me go.

What were your favorite skates?
Not the ones they gave me, that's for sure. Those LITERALLY SUCKED DICKS.

What were your least favorite skates?

What kind of skates do you have now?

What kind of blades?
Gillette Ultra

Did you have to do stroking?
No, I was already pretty excited so it came right out.

Did you have a spinner?
No, I used dice.

Anything embarrassing happen during a show?
Yeah, one time a monkey pooped on Johnny Carson, it was awesome

How about a competition?
How about a go fuck yourself?

Did competitions make you nervous?
No, I liked signing all kinds of petitions.

Did you ever do interp at a competition?
No, but I did an intern in my office once. DON'T TELL MY WIFE!!!

What was your favorite jump?
Van Halen, though the Pointer Sisters one wasn't awful

Which jump took you the longest to learn?
jumping into a pool. i think i've got it down now though.

Favorite spin?
"4,000 Americans have died in Iraq? Then we CAN'T leave now! We owe it to them to STAY there!"

Least favorite spin?
the magazine

Ever hate a judge?
Wapner, but hate and love are really two sides of the same emotion

Ever smack into the wall?
Yep, I was so strung out I missed my arm with the syringe

Did you ever get injured (not counting bruises, blisters, bloody feet)?
No, every time I've gotten injured, it's been while I was counting bruises, blisters and bloody feet, and didn't see the bus coming

What's the worst new skates have done to your feet?
my feet are fine but they LITERALLY SUCKED MY DICK OFF!

What was your favorite competition?
Miss Naked Old Lady '74

What was your least favorite competition?
Mr. Male-on-Male Rape '07

Did you ever skip school for a competition/test?
skip school FOR a competition/test? why, that's ass-backwards

Did you ever fight with your coach?
yes i beat the shit out of him. that's why we had to leave the lamaze class

Did you like your program music?
Hell yeah! All that Skrewdriver REALLY got me in the mood to massacre those Heebs. I need to point out a typo in your question though.

Least favorite moves in the field test?
I hated all of them. Moving SUCKS.

Do you like dance skating?
there is nothing cooler

Is freestyle really the best?
only if you're a dope MC

Are toe picks actually important?
what a vomitous thing to ask somebody

Do you have a favorite skater?
That Gator guy who murdered his girlfriend was TOTALLY RAD.

How many days a week did you skate?
just one day total, but over the course of several years

Did your mom/dad make you skate?
it was either that or drown in the frozen lake they shoved me into, so i guess so yeah

Have you ever wanted to quit?
of course, but without the nicotine i end up LITERALLY SUCKING DICKS

What was your favorite moves in the field element?
nice grammar, Skatey

Could you do a shoot the duck?
if it involves my penis and a duck, then no

Did you ever see spots when you got done with a spin?
no when i broke up with spots it was forever

Has it ever felt like bricks were going down your arms?
indeed, this one time I was constructing an apartment building when all of a sudden

Are your legs strong?
Physically or emotionally?

Are your ankles strong?
not at all, and as a result my legs are constantly snapping off of them

Did you dislike someone you had to share the ice with?
Of course -- it was my ice! "Get off my ice, you two-dollar whores," I shouted with great ire. It was hopeless, of course. Nobody realized I'd brought the ice from home.

POST-SCRIPT TO REVIEW, WRITTEN 80 MINUTES LATER: It turns out that I'm sick. That's why I'm in so much pain.

Reader Comments

I've been reading your site for like 8 years now (it rocks!) and for some reason this review suddenly made me compelled to comment.

Seeing as how The Fall and Mouse on Mars are two of my favorite bands ever, I was ridiculously excited when I heard this CD was coming out, but unfortunately I pretty much agree with you on this one. I mean a couple of songs are incredibly awesome like Rhinohead and a couple of others, but for the most part the songs are just repetitions of the same couple notes for like 5 minutes with Mark saying amusing shit over it. I think the problem is that the Mouse on Mars guys decided that since they were working with Mark they had to use his whole "repetition" style in their songs, which isn't really their strong suit. Actually, most of their music is pretty much exactly the opposite of this - I always liked them because they tend to have songs that keep changing and adding weird and unexpected elements instead of constantly repeating two bars of music like so many other electronic artists, so it's pretty disappointing to hear them do that on like half of these songs.

Also, if you think That Sound Wiped is a "dance club classic" then maybe you should check them out - it's basically a remix of their song "Wipe That Sound" and sounds a lot more like their stuff than anything else on here. I mean, no pressure or anything, but if you're ever in the mood for some German electronic music you'll know where to look. Just don't think all of their stuff sucks because this CD is kinda lame cause it's one of the least interesting things they've ever done.

Oh, and feel better!

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