By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
The sculpted spontaneity that defines MoM’s recording process is at the core of the best modern art. At least one side product of this method is that Radical Connector’s aural information is not just extraordinarily visual, it has — with some very careful listening — an effect somewhat like a hologram, presenting constantly morphing images you can see through. The sound gives the impression of literally surrounding the listener, as well. For these reasons alone, the disc’s worth buying, ’cause you’ll definitely be getting your money’s worth.
MoM music constantly subverts the idea of ear-friendly pop: When tones are pitted against each other, they collide and explode, opening up whole worlds of sound. But sounds and effects aren’t music per se. A plethora of new electronic machines and sound patches gives the modern musician access to thousands of variations, and the technology makes it easy to fool yourself into thinking you’ve done something. St. Werner and Toma key in on the idea that you can reduce sound radically while retaining complexity.
“The whole trick is to see how far you can reach before realizing you’re on unstable ground,” says Toma. “Music comes from gains of energy — things that shouldn’t really work, and then they do. That is something that can happen very quickly. And if you listen carefully, it’s incredible what’s in there — total noise, drones, any and all rhythmic patterns; it’s too much to take. So what you do is you strip it down, you focus on one aspect, like a visual aspect, and make it a language of sound. It’s not a situation where you’re just impressed by the production; it’s that you created a new kind of nature. Then you build a house, and you go and live in there.”
Toma thinks simple common sense, rather than science, should help us get better and better at matching beats to brains — humanity, after all, isn’t evolving much.
“No mathematician or scientist is able to really interpret and predict and clearly explain this kind of chaos of the head, of the brain,” he says. “Even if we know more and more about genetic code, more possibilities come up. We’re still at the same level we were at 2,000 or 3,000 years ago, and I find that totally encouraging. Even if we’re able to create recording machines with 5-million-bit resolution, in the end, the music of the brain will remain the same.”
Mouse on Mars perform at the Knitting Factory, Thursday, October 7.