MOUSE ON MARS Idiology (Domino)

“Idiology”, originally released in 2001, is German duo Mouse On Mars’ seventh album, but despite the critical plaudits heaped upon it it’s not an engaging listen. (Well, it failed to engage this listener, at least). The Mouse play burbling electronica, an often infuriating tarpit of ideas that’s partly a Teutonic take on Aphex Twin at his least inspirational and part Bobby McFerrin gone glitch.

Opener “Actionist Respoke” models processed vocals and beats that could best be described as rubbery; “Presence” is creepy ambience – the sound of recovering from a recent anaesthetic, perhaps – under nonsensical self-improvement lyrics. “The Illking” is the album at its most tolerable, a glitchy, orchestrated delight, a bit like Fennesz with a string section. The absurd “Doit” redresses the balance, though, sounding like a Speak and Spell machine rapping over oompah techno. “First : Break” is almost comically Aphexy, a barrage of frenetic programming that could’ve been looted from a forgotten corner of his rambling, contemporaneous “Drukqs” set. The cod philosophising of “Unity Concepts” makes the poetry often found littering Moody Blues albums sound like a Sex Pistols lyric. With its languid guitar and strings (or at least synthetic representations of same) closer “Fantastic Analysis” offers some respite.

So, “Idiology” is a difficult listen. It’s all over the place, but not necessarily in a good way.