Lithops - Mound Magnet Pt. 2 - Elevations Above Sea Level
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Mound Magnet Pt. 2 - Elevations Above Sea Level

Jan St Werner has always been a busy, busy fellow. In addition to being one-half (or one-third) of the well known Mouse On Mars, he's released multiple glitchtastic albums as one-half of Microstoria. He was also one-third of the recent Von Sudenfed collaboration (along with Mark E. Smith of The Fall and MoM partner Andi Toma), and he's put out a batch of solo albums under the name Lithops. Mound Magnet Pt. 2 - Elevations Above Sea Level is his fifth full-length release under that name, and it's a sequel of sorts to his first release of the same name. Having said that, the biggest connection seems to be the name itself, because this is a completely different ball of wax.

Although he's shown a somewhat dance-oriented side at times with his Lithops project in the past (most notably on some of the singles that comprised Queries), St Werner has never gotten as hip shaking as he does here. While the deconstructionist aesthetic that has certainly driven a lot of his work under the Lithops name is still apparent here, his more funky side is the focus here, as slamming beats back just about every track as digital artifacts and sonic detritus fly off in every direction.

That's not to say that you could throw this release on at a club an not expect someone to dislocate some joints, because rhythmically it has a lot of the weird angles that Mouse On Mars have made themselves known for over the years. "Roctrum" kicks things off and weird little synth melodies splutter and splut alongside massive slabs of riffage as hugely distorted beats bump in the background. It's not too far off from work from Jason Forrest, and the thump continues with "Rosa In A Light Speed Vessel" as a 4/4 kick throbs while pitch-warped samples, glitchy noise, and a thunderous bass line make you feel like you're careening through a tunnel in a car while bouncing off the sides and hoping you don't disintegrate.

Generally, that's about how the thirteen song, fifty-five minute release goes. It careens wildly with splintered melodies and digitally damaged sounds while keeping a solid rhythmic underpinning chugging. Because of this, it's a bit more accessible than past work under the name, but at the same time it's somewhat exhausting to listen to as everything comes flying pretty fast and furious (somewhat similarly to Mouse On Mars' Varcharz). Considering St Werner hasn't released anything since last years Tromatic Reflexxions, this one might be a needed fix for fans.

rating: 6.7510
Aaron Coleman 2008-06-26 20:56:28