John Maus - Screen Memories
An early collaborator of Ariel Pink, John Maus rose to prominence 7 years ago with his darkened take on synth wave with an approach that mirrored early 80’s outsider artists. Maus’ music regularly takes on a sinister shape thanks to his menacing basslines, soundtracky synths and his bellow-like voice. He was regularly name-checked in 2011 as an artist on the rise and his last LP, We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves, was a favorite of the year. But then he vanished. Or so it might seem.
Though he already graduated with a degree in music composition from Cal Arts, over the last 6 years Maus was working on completing a PhD as he worked on completing his dissertation in political philosophy. He was also hard at work building his own modular synthesizers. All of this builds to his new record for Ribbon Music, Screen Memories. While his previous records were lo-fi in nature, his new work takes on a deep-space groove with his sonic pallette in full bloom. Maus still enjoys straightforward lyrics with an ironic twist like the sporty “Touchdown” which emphasizes dismissing field goals and a “forward drive to the touchdown.” The kaleidoscopic “Teenage Witch” gets playful and pop-centered with a melodic drift and a lush wash of synths populated once again by Maus’ spooked croon. And “The Combine” dives deep back into Maus’ soundtrack-ready tones while referencing some of his Medieval tendencies from records past.
If you’re fearful that Maus will go away once Screen Memories has faded from view, fear not! Next year he will release a career-spanning retrospective LP boxset which will include an exclusive LP to the set, Addendum, which will effectively be recent outtakes from this here record. But for now, sit back with Screen Memories in all of its synthy glow. (Dom)
Check out a track here.