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coverpic flag Germany - Full Moon 207 - 07/22/13

TG Mauss
Dear Stranger
Karaoke Kalk

Dear Stranger is TG Mauss' (a.k.a. Torsten Mauss, who used to operate under the monikers Twig and Tonetraeger) 4th full length album, following his previous long players Mechanical Eye (2005, Quatermass/Subrosa), Gravity Will Keep Us All Together (2006, Quatermass/Subrosa), and Boring Music (2009, digital only). When putting on Dear Stranger for the first time I understand that I'm exposed to something really appealing, something really cool for sure. This isn't Mickey Mauss, I'll tell you right away.

From Dear Stranger's starter "OMG" the mood is set with an exotic synth piece, vocoder style voice and all, before the pulsating "Tuesday" turns on, with its laidback, hypnotic, robotic slow-beat. Electronic mantras. New-wave on the rocks, sort of. A neat treat. It's both chillier and a more heated at the same time. "Welcome" is an instrumental, sounding like a human machine. Like Kraftwerk spiced with elegant, simple yet exciting guitars. I also come to think of a blend of The Notwist and B. Fleishman; like with "Ghosts", "Don't Argue", and the excellent closer "Circle Line". Another artist that comes to mind is David Sylvian. Strangely enough. Don't ask me to explain this. The title track is a slow, quiet song, which is one of the best pieces on the album. It's a slow-floating song, with some Indian (Asian) sounding influences. It sounds like a really personal song. So does "Dark", which is a simple and smart song. Definitely one of the highlights! In fact the album as a whole sounds like a personal, private journey we're invited to join. TG Mauss' music is of the stripped-down kind, but it's stripped in a way that presents a fitting expression, spreading warm, mellow moods. Dear Stranger presents 11 tracks, and they're all of the fascinating kind without much deadweight (well, a few weaker stretches are to be found). The CD's got, strangely enough, one more song than the LP. Usually it's the other way around.

I'll highly recommend Dear Stranger to anyone into atmospheric and dreamlike electronic music meets pop meets kraut light -- ambient, yet highly rhythmic. Somewhere someone (a quotation from CD Universe) has described what TG Mauss does like: "...faithful re-creation of a never-never era where Devo, the dB's, D.A.F. and Depeche Mode all were being added to someone's mixtape somewhere in the world for a summer road trip." Quite some cocktail, yet I'll add that TG Mauss' songs have got a softer core, like in melancholia and warm-hearted. Another quote goes: "...an amusing mix of the slightly sleazy and the understatedly cool, perfect for the robot punch of so many of the songs...". Maximum cool Düsseldorf style. Listen in and you'll probably be caught in the Mausstrap.

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