REVIEW: SIRIUSMO – MOSAIK (2011)
Since 2008, electronic has leisurely paced itself into the forefront of what I listen to with deliberate confidence. Since 2009, a leader of this sea change usurped Ratatat’s charged six years of reign with an undeniable combination of glitch and electro pop. To me, Siriusmo was somewhat of a shadowy figure who let the music speak for himself, the kind that would-upon an interview-deliver misleading abstract biographical details à la Banhart all centered around his Anna Makaraov shotgun keyboard. It’s not for disinterest that I had not sought information about the artist until recent, more due to the fact it was so precisely executed once you started down the black diamond of a slope, you’d follow his music through till the end-then repeat. Until 2011, we did not have a full length album. Now, we have his Mosaik out on Monkeytown.
Siriusmo’s beats are bold and distinct, so much so that you can pick them out of Safari Disco Club before the first measure is over. When it was announced he was a guest producer for Yelle, that alone sufficed in generating more buzz than the mere fact it had been four years since Pop-Up. [Siriusmo is credited for “La Musique”, “Le Grand saut” and “Unillusion”.] Mosaik is less an organic, fresh from the electric vine full album, but a sonic collage of this musician’s unique art. And it just blends to perfection due to the sheer consistency in how Moritz Friedrich concocts music. Almost as if easing you into the next sixteen tracks, “High Together” makes a reappearance following applauds, jeering and hilarity reminiscent of someone who’s holistically proud of what your ears are about to experience. The track was original to 2009’s The Uninvited Guest (buy it just for “Let Me In!”), and is later accompanied by its fellow brethren “Nights Off”. The album is no greatest hits with additions, as the follow-up “Feromonikon” sweeps in from the side with a swiftness that leaves you lulled…all before a tremendous late-night depth charge is unleashed.
There is always that fear in listening to an album that the album peaks so early on, then fades into obscurity by the fifth track. Blame that innate apprehension on music prior to this millennium. “Sirimande” leads you along that path, almost tauntingly with bongos balanced by glitch and sounds that are merely fly by. It succeeds in staying the course, but with so many changes you still can’t quite grasp what else is to come. “Call Me” reminds me heavily of Wax Tailors’ “Ringing Score” or “I Don’t Know” with staggered swagger. The ensuing title track “Mosaik” is the convincing moment that this, indeed, is more a gallery exhibition of Siriusmo’s music permitting “Einmal in der Woche schreien” and “Nights Off” to return without any feeling of being mere filler.
Apprehension was abound upon first listen, and time and again it’s the following duo of “Bad Idea” and “Lass Den Vogel Frei!” that have rooted Mosaik as, already, a top ten of the year in my opinion. The wariness came from the fact his diverse sounds leave little premonition of where the music will or could possibly go. “Bad Idea” starts similarly with music box chimes over live hip-hop influenced drums before pulling back the curtain on dubstep-laced rhymes that surround, swooping in like Blackhawk helicopters hauling speaker towers around your ears. Too heavy? Well, “Lass Den Vogel Frei!” lightens instantly with punchy jazz and piano key drops over twists and swirls that provide those sharp contrasts to “Idiologie” and “Einmal in der Woche scherein.”
In a soundscape of 17 songs, only a few are disturb a bit of the cacophonous harmony. “123”‘s beginning (we’ll blame it on me not knowing German…thanks high school foreign language options), “Peeved,” and “Red Knob.” The latter only because it could have been better placed with a more satisfying end to ease you down or hit repeat. I’m thinking how “Mbox” had its muted house beat as a last call.
Unlike prior heavily anticipated albums, Siriusmo’s Mosaik ends on such a solid note that ascends with “Feed My Meatmachine” and “Golden Kugel.” The former is an emblematic selection of what makes the Berlin-based electronic artist memorable. Heaviness at the foundation without the fear to abandon all, tear the song’s roof off to let it breathe and expand before the keys surround and enclose the song to the beat once more. It’s the balance between weight and pure, precision lightness that allows Mosaik to be one of those rare albums that matches, and surprises, expectations.