The madly creative minds of German electronic duo Mouse on Mars have come up with a suitably madly creative mix for this week’s Clash DJ mix.
The duo have been experimenting and crafting brilliantly skewed leftfield electronica for almost two decades now, ranging from glitch-hop to a live soundtracking of Werner Herzog’s trip-fest ‘Fata Morgana’, all of it wildly inventive.
Thus, expect the esoteric in Mouse on Mars’ Clash mix, and wrap your head around chopped up passages of tracks, snatches of melody, and thoroughly mangled funk, hip hop and juke. It’s out there, but it works beautifully as a whole.
Keeping it abstract, the duo’s tracklist for their mix is something of a puzzle itself, containing a list of the selected artists in no particular order and no track names. Although we’re fairly sure there’s at least one song title in there, and one or two artist names which didn’t make it in – Delia Derbyshire’s 1969 prophetic treasure ‘Love Without Sound’ definitely makes an appearance.
Quizzing the duo on their process for making a mix proved both enlightening and even more puzzling, just as we’d hoped it would.
Tell us a bit about your mix:
We don’t think much about our mixes. What comes out is thrown into the pot. Things can be mixed by mood, harmony, beat or without even listening at all. The best mixes come when you mix them deaf.
Do you have a set approach to making mixes? If so, is it similar to the soundtracking work you’ve done, whereby you create something for a certain atmosphere?
Atmospheres come for free. That’s an amazing quality of music, even noises create moods. Regarding mixes: most of the music we collect is because we find it agreeable, not because it suits a purpose. Sometimes we don’t understand certain music and still enjoy it. Sometimes it even offends us and that’s actually the best part because it extends your taste. We could possibly make a mix every day because there is so much music floating around.
Tell us about your upcoming mini-album, ‘WOW’:
‘WOW’ was recorded in few weeks and took on the good momentum we had gained from ‘Parastrophics’. Those two records are like an unequal brother and sister: ‘Parastrophics’ is dense and riddled, ‘WOW’ offensively twisted.
You’ve got several interesting collaborations on the album – Vietnamese artist and performer Dao Anh Khanh, house producer Eric D. Clark, Argentinean punk-rock band Las Kellies... How did those come about?
We just picked up random companions who we met during our travels to foreign places. Whoever turned up in our studio later got sampled. We tried to make the voices sound like instruments. Dao Anh Khanh is a performance artist and sculptor we met in Vietnam, we just took snippets of his voice, not full sentences or words with meaning. Dao mostly shouted in a kind of fantasy language.
It seems almost like you reinvent Mouse on Mars for each new release. Is this a conscious decision, perhaps to challenge yourselves?
We get bored easily. But we are also very patient when we work on sounds. We spend hours listening to tiny bits of sound. When it comes to bringing all the bits together we easily get stressed and we need to find strategies to mix our songs casually. Once we find a technique we get bored again and need to invent a new one, so the way we treat sounds did not change that much, but the manner in which we bring the bits together is varying. It’s usually only in the very end of an album production that we realise which road we took. It’s a bit like walking through a site you know very well, you try to find new paths and you change your routes. At the end of the day you have an idea of what the theme of the day was.
What else do you have coming up in the near future?
Along with ‘WOW’ we’ll start a kick-starter campaign to get our iPhone app, Wretchup, coded. Within three weeks or so we need to get enough money to be able to have a professional programmer realise a proper version of the app. Next year we’ll throw a big brick of music, images, videos and software onto people’s heads. It will be our 20th anniversary. Then we will record our orchestral piece ‘Paeanumnion’ and release a few collaborations with artists and friends, and we’ll keep on touring. A new live show for ‘WOW’ is in the making.
‘WOW’ is out on 2 November on Monkeytown.
Mouse on Mars tracklist
Heralds of Change
Random Radio Bits
Check out the previous episodes of our Dj Mix Series on iTunes HERE