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Idiology

4.4 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 24, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

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Snatching cohesion from the jaws of chaos can't be as easy as Andi Toma and Jan St. Werner of Mouse on Mars make it sound. Their weirdly off-kilter brand of skittery, IDM song craft always depends on uncommonly interesting melodies, even while those melodies swim in digitized madness. It's a trait that also shows up with a vengeance in Werner's other band, Microstoria (with Oval's Markus Popp). Most shockingly, with their recent work, Werner's penchant for tuneful warmth and relentless experimentation have led the band to--get this--use actual instruments. Their last proper full-length, Niun Niggung (the late 2000 release Instrumentals was originally released on vinyl in 1997) included ever-so-slight leans toward more acoustic instrumentation, and the music here continues to bring in occasional bits of French horns, clarinets, even the odd guitar chord. "The Illking," for instance, contains only the barest electronic tidbits amid the lazy lull of a lush string section. Still, the flipped-out drill & bass of songs like "First: Break" go the opposite direction, dissolving and re-emerging in Squarepusher-esque bursts of computerized sonics. Along the way, there are avant-garde-ish oddities like "Unity Concepts" and the hyped-up beat salad of "Doit," which sounds like carnival music as performed by malfunctioning robots. When all the pieces come together for Mouse on Mars like they do on this release, it's a peculiar musical beast, but one that's still absolutely lovable. --Matthew Cooke
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 24, 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Thrill Jockey
  • ASIN: B00005AWNH
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #360,325 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Matthew D. Mercer on May 4, 2001
Format: Audio CD
While the ambiguous "IDM" genre has grown flooded with soundalike artists, it is refreshing to hear yet another milestone in the off-kilter career of Mouse on Mars. Jan St. Werner and Andi Toma have crafted eleven meticulous tracks on Idiology that begin with the post-rock suggestions of their last release (Niun Niggung) and push them even further.
When I heard that this was to be Mouse On Mars' first "vocal" album (excluding their collaborative single with Stereolab), it made me nervous; did they have anything to actually _say_, or would it be a mere attempt at a crossover for a larger audience? Needless to say, Werner & co. have done it justice. While only a few tracks incorporate vocals in any true lyrical sense, many tracks feature cut up and heavily manipulated vocal samples that blurt and sputter their way through the ether (the aggressive single "Actionist Respoke" being a prime example).
The real highlight of this release when compared to the Mouse on Mars discography on the whole is the unabashed incorporation of traditional instrument arrangements. "Presence" not only sports a melodic lyrical vocal line but also horns and strings, while the last track moves almost completely into post-rock (almost an epilogue variant of Niun Niggung's "Download Sofist") with its meandering guitar lines.
While indeed this release will probably win over new fans based on the crossover potential its vocals offer, on the whole there is little compromise in the artistic vision Werner and Toma present their listeners. Alongside the latest Matmos release, this most definitely will end up as one of the best electronic albums of 2001.
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By A Customer on November 14, 2001
Format: Audio CD
The greatest electronic band live. You know how it's so lame to wach IDM live? One or two guys expertly twiddling their knobs? Not very interesting. MOM are severly good live.
This is only one of Mouse on Mars's great albums. The fact that it's their newest only makes it great because it's so different from what came before it. My personal favourite is Autoditacker, which I can listen to non-stop.
This album is a bit crunchier, and has more edges than some of their earlier stuff. It's a bit more abrasive. MOM are not minimalists, but nevertheless their sound has reverberated through the whole Mille Plateaux catalogue, and the influence can be heard on the newest Clicks & Cuts discs and the newest Electric Ladyland Clickhop comp.
Mouse on Mars are like gods. They walk the earth but they are indestructible. I love them as if they were mine and mine alone. Don't touch them or else.
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Format: Audio CD
"Idiology" is a fantastic album in itself, and it is refreshing. I can't think of another album that quite sounds like this. However, as a whole, it just doesn't come together like "Niun Nugging" or even "Autoditacker". It just doesn't sound as good. While this is their most musically 'mature' album, and certainly their most innovative, the emotion that carried "Niun Nugging", and the melodic sense of "Iaora Tahiti" and "Autoditacker" is not present here. If you're new to Mouse on Mars, try the others I mentioned first. If you're an old fan, expect an extension of "Niun Nugging", but without the conviction. This album feels rushed.
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By A Customer on February 17, 2002
Format: Audio CD
My first impression with Idiology was its attention deficit disorder on methamphetimine level of energy. Its insane, even harsh at some points, but in the gentlest way possible (if that makes any sense). I bought this when it came out maybe a year ago, listened to it for a week. Nothing really gelled with me, so it became another piece of expensive plastic collecting dust in my apartment.

I rediscovered this album recently. You really must accept it on its own terms, few albums are this idiosyncratic. Its not just that MOM are in the post rock territory of bands like Tortoise, superficially blending genres for postmodernisms sake. Idiology is the opposite of what IDM was mostly known for at the time of its release, ie: self important, bleak, nihilistic, and architectural. Songs like actionist respoke and introduce are some of the most hilarious I've ever heard, amazingly without a hint of the cynical sarcasm that is typical of such outings. MOM are also capable of whimsicaly beautiful moments (catching butterflies w/ hands). Personaly I have no problem with Dodo Nkishi's vocals, they fit with the attitude of the disc perfectly. I can see why some of the prior reviewers are annoyed with him though. As for the lyrics, its difficult to tell whether they are parodying the elitist intellectualism of certain segments of the artistic community, or if they are serious. At any rate, they aren't bad. Technicaly, MOM are at the top of the game, they have an accomplished sense of nuance, detail, and a prodigious amount of inventiveness. Its a joy to listen to this album.
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Format: Audio CD
Mouse on Mars have a track record, most Electronica / Intelligent Dance Music (IDM) artists would die for. Consistently producing albums extremely worthy of investigation, and steering clear of creative `Dry Spots' that other electronic artists can be prone to. Moving happy from the feel good Bouncy-Dub of "Doit" which sounds like Skewered `Ska' music feed through an energetic Drum machine, or the beautiful downbeat melodies of "Fantastic Analysis", reminiscent of a distinguished ambient album. Admittedly delivered with the same playful exuberance as someone like `Luke Vibert' (aka `Wagon Christ'), with loads of peculiar sound & effects cut & Pasted to form some beautifully abstract music (track 7 `First: Break' fits this description perfectly), so...all in all another justifiable deserved feather in the cap for Mouse on Mars. and yet another superb release to add to the pile if you're a Mouse On Mars fan.
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