Mus - Self-Titled
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Mus
Self-Titled

Like the band with a very similar name (Múm), Mus blends electronic beats with the occassional light vocals (sung in the Spanish dialect Asturian). To say that they sound alike, though, would be rather silly, though. While Múm has a keen grasp of melody and amazing grasp of programming and rhythm, Mus is much more stripped down. Like Seefeel without the guitar effects and harshness or boiled-down Bows, this is one of those releases that I enjoy, but at the same time find it hard to get worked up about.

Like much music that it shares genres with, Mus is mostly content to drift along with meandering beats and ethereal vocals, and while it's nice to listen to, the group isn't really doing anything new. The disc opens with the eerie, pitch-bent string samples of "Nautila," and after awhile adds some subtle percussion and "ooh aah" vocals. It's quite pretty, but besides one short moment, the track doesn't really change all that much. The second track "Tocade" fairs a little better, starting out with an amazingly melancholy feel from synth sounds, ethereal vocals, and a sound sample of a radio announcer talking about attrocities that had been committed in Nicaragua. Although it's quite a juxtaposition, the track tugs out a melancholy feel that works quite well, even if it does run a bit long.

After a couple excellent shorter tracks (including the offset rhythm and piano of "Domina"), the album sags a bit in the middle under the weight of a couple tracks that simply drag on for far too long. Both "Avec Alfil" and "Tolos Que Van Casase" mix many of the elements already mentioned (synth strings and quiet beats) and although the vocals are very nice (particularly in the latter track), they sound a little bit too much like what came before them to strike a chord. Of course, that makes the electronic-pop sounds of the very next track "El Que La Na Puerta" sound even better (which feels a bit like a less-cold Lali Puna).

The second half of the disc actually finds the group developing their ideas quite a bit more, and is therefore quite a bit better. The eleventh track "Aurelia" (which is actually comprised of 5 different excerts of a score the group did for a play) works amazingly despite its slightly disjointed feel, and makes me wish the group had had enough room to fit the entirety of it on the disc. By the time the darker, more layer closer of "Eu Sei Que Te Amar" arrives, it almost sounds like a different group than started things out, which isn't really a bad thing. If anything, the strong second-half showing makes me interested in what the group will do next. They've already released an EP in the Darla "Bliss Out" series, so I may have to hunt that down.

rating: 6.2510
Aaron Coleman 2003-06-19 00:00:00