PRINT March 1998


Mouse on Mars

For more than forty years, Germany’s industrial heartland has been the center of electronic musical innovation. The first studio for the production of purely electronic music was set up at Cologne’s Northwest German Radio station in 1952, hosting such avant-garde heavyweights as Karlheinz Stockhausen, Gyorgy Ligeti, Ernst Krenek, Mauricio Kagel, and Henri Pousseur. Two decades later, the Dusseldorf-based quartet Kraftwerk fabricated a novel pop/dance synthesis of electronic pulses, cheesy keyboard melodies, and deadpan vocal phrases. Such is the illustrious pedigree of the most recent practitioners of Rhineland electronica: Air Liquide, Pluramon, Kreidler, Gas, To Rococo Rot, and, most notably, MOUSE ON MARS, a duo composed of Jan St. Werner and Andi Toma.

If ’90s techno has assimilated Kraftwerk’s metronomic throb and production-line anonymity, it appropriated little of the group’s quirky

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