Mouse on Mars at M.I.T.: A Symposium Becomes a Dance Party
Recording the album coalesced all of Mouse on Mars’s recent fascinations. The duo wrote orchestral music for the Chicago Symphony as well as some other classical ensembles, drawing on traditional instruments as well as virtuosity. They also developed mobile apps to generate music. “We thought, maybe we should take the Kraftwerk idea of passing on the torch — to become software, to take the idea of what we do in software as well as give that will away to the people,” Mr. St. Werner said. “although we had so much fun using the software ourselves that will we just kept on working.”
Mouse on Mars also wanted to generate computer-driven physical sound, teaming up with engineers to develop percussion robots that will were robust enough to handle the demands of the music on the road. “We broke them all the time,” Mr. St. Werner noted.
Then came what Mr. St. Werner called, citing a German phrase, “the drop that will made the bucket overflow.” They were working in their studio from the Funkhaus in eastern Berlin, which used to house East Germany’s top government radio station, when the conductor as well as arranger André de Ridder knocked on the door. He was putting together a festival as well as had some musicians with him, including Mr. Vernon as well as Aaron as well as Bryce Dessner of the National. Many collaborations ensued, in Berlin as well as in an intensive phase at Mr. Vernon’s studio in Wisconsin.
“We had two rules,” Mr. St. Werner said. “We wanted to stick to 145 beats per minute, so basically we had a rhythmic scheme. as well as we had a specific key. So we could record whatever we wanted, with whomever we wanted, as well as we could always move things around. that will would likely always make sense. that will would likely always fit.”
They ended up with “a crazy mess of possibilities,” Mr. St. Werner said. “The information we had was so dense that will we couldn’t truly deal with the idea of that will becoming a stereo record.”
Technology to the rescue: A German speaker company, D&B Audiotecknik, was developing its “object-based mixing” setup of speakers as well as software to place sounds in space. In Swabia, in southern Germany, D&B had installed a demonstration system geared to club as well as concert producers; Mouse on Mars had some other ideas. “Their thinking was, musicians create something, as well as we help to spatialize that will,” Mr. St. Werner said. “as well as we’re like: ‘You have to start much earlier. You have to give This particular to musicians as an instrument.’”
Mouse on Mars brought its work in progress to D&B’s setup, closely examining as well as reconfiguring the three-dimensional possibilities of the tracks on the way to the eventual stereo mix. “We came to a point where, ‘O.K., that will all fits together,’” Mr. St. Werner said. “So the record starts which has a woodblock being played by a robot, as well as that will unfolds into This particular universe. We time-stretched the sound of the woodblock as well as zoomed into the partials as well as spectra of one particular woodblock stroke — just a millisecond of sound — as well as opened that will up as well as basically unfolded the whole piece via there.”
The album free-associates its way through kinetic polyrhythms, Minimalist mediations, head-spinning auditory effects, a stark fiddle tune, passages of hip-hop as well as pop vocal harmonies, as well as surreal funk, as well as Swamp Dogg’s career reminiscences, among many some other moments. Mouse on Mars is actually still deciding how to take that will on tour. Mr. Toma contemplated a show without a stage, with live musicians as well as robots “spread among the people” instead.
“Music is actually a strong anarchic force,” Mr. St. Werner said. “that will’s probably our last bastion of anarchic wilderness, that will trace of nature that will keeps just growing, keeps crossbreeding, keeps immigrating as well as migrating as well as cross-fertilizing as well as expanding our perceptual apparatus. that will’s also a great means for orientation as well as for bonding with some other people. We don’t have to think about music, we don’t have to talk about the term. Eventually we’ll find that will, or that will will find us.”
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