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Mound Magnet (Thrill Jockey) CD

 The unfortunately titled Mound Magnet is the third full-length solo album by Mouse on Mars’ Jan St. Werner, aka Lithops. As Lithops, St. Werner has showcased his uncanny ability to twist and contort sound, turning a myriad half-melodies in on themselves to create music that has increasingly shifted restlessly between bracing noise and infectious pop. Mound Magnet opens with churning, swirling waves of sound that set the tone for the record, dissipating for a moment before St. Werner unleashes another frenetic sonic torrent. There are moments of relative calm within the densely-packed mix of electronic sounds and musique concrete, such as the relatively straightforward grooves that anchor the slippery funk of “Cephalopod” or the playfully melodic “Stratographic,” but in general melodies and rhythms emerge briefly only to be fractured and subsumed within a writhing mass of noise. Ultimately, although there is much heaven to be found in the details of Mound Magnet, the overall effect of the volume and density of sonic activity is numbing and even a tad dull.


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