Too Pure - 2003 - 75 mins

Dissonant bleeps stream from the bedrooms of aspirant musicians as electronica continues to be the most vibrant of musical genres. The lack of instrumentation means that there are no traditional pigeonholes for electronic band members and the result is a rash of solo artists and duos.

Depending on which story you believe, Andi Toma and Jan St. Werner met at a death metal concert or in a health food store (surely it is factoids like this that are responsible for electronica's irredeemably nerdy image?)

'Rost Pock' is a compilation of four EPs that Mouse On Mars recorded between 1994 and 1997, padded out with a few one-off tracks written for compilations such as Volume's 'Trance Europe Express' series.

Most collections of this type are disjointed, and Rost Pock is no exception. 'Saturday Night's simplistic pounding is only marginally better than the Whigfield track of the same name, while 'Frosch' and its sequel 'Froschroom' are typical of the acidic 303 excursions that ruled German techno at the time of their release.

By contrast, 'Maus Mobil' and 'Schnik-Schnack' take their cues from another typically Teutonic sound, that mixture of dub, jazz and jungle popularised by Jazzanova and the K7 label.

The latter track is taken from the Cache Couer Naif EP, an intriguing collaboration between Mouse On Mars and Stereolab vocalists Laetitia Sadier and Mary Hansen. This musical equivalent of the Chirac-Schroder pact produces similarly contrary results, the title track (almost) adopting the structures of a pop-song, while Sadier's vocals are barely discernible in 'Lazergum's robotic funk

Mouse On Mars are undeniably talented, with an admirably wide range of musical influences but this snapshot of their output in the mid-Nineties shows a band who are fidgety and unable to settle on a distinct musical style. 'Rost Pock' is a richly enjoyable electronic identity crisis.

Luke McManus

Tracklisting: Frosch - Bib - Maus Mobil - Saturday Night - Schnick-Schnack - Schlecktron - Lazergum - Saturday Night - Twift - Cache Coeur Naif - Rototon - Schnee Bud - Amiga Home - 7000 - Froschroom