Following on from the pleasant discovery, late last year, of the rather intriguing Cubic album from LITE, I noted that regular touring partners were fellow countrymen and Tokyo based trio, Mouse on the Keys. At the time I remember checking out a few Youtube videos and making a mental note do some research after the festive season. Needless to say it completely slipped my mind until the recent press release, announcing that the trio would be performing in the U.K. and across Europe during April and May 2017, triggered the grey matter.
The press sheet also mentioned a new release from this keyboard-led trio.
Immediately dispel all thoughts of similar formations as not only do Mouse on the Keys comprise a variation on this theme, with two keyboard players and a drummer, but they travel a different musical pathway. Mouse’s music is rather more minimalistic in approach, although not without its own complexities, incorporating elements of jazz, funk, ambient and electronica. Perhaps mindful of the pitfalls of their rhythmically challenging, often quirky arrangements, the trio never lose sight of musicality and the playful Afterglow is a prime example here.
Curious, I decided to backtrack and Mouse’s previous album, The Flowers Of Romance (2015), which certainly pushes the boat out with it’s unfriendly foot tapping beats and rhythmically angular keyboards. There’s also a firmer grasp on the dissonant, however it still retains many of the aforementioned elements. I suppose there’s more meat on the bone with The Flowers Of Romance, clocking in at just under forty minutes, whereas Out of Body doesn’t quite get into its stride. Or perhaps I’m just being greedy? At just under eighteen minutes I’m not entirely convinced that Out of Body has enough time to fully work. What’s there is fine and the sombre and evocative Dark Lights, for instance, is delicious.
Out of Body does suggest a slightly more introspective phase for Mouse on the Keys, but given the underlying theme of death, or near-death experience, perhaps not unexpected.
Above is Leviathan, a track taken from the band’s previous album The Flowers Of Romance – and well worth checking out.
01. Intro (0:11)
02. Earache (3:10)
03. Dark Lights (4:50)
04. Afterglow (3:44)
05. Elegie (3:25)
06. Out Of Body (2:33)
Total Time – 17:53
Akira Kawasaki – Drums
Atushi Kiyota – Piano & Keyboards
Daisuke Niitome – Piano & Keyboards
Record Label: Top Shelf Records
Country of Origin: Japan
Date of Release: 25th January 2017