Mouse On The Keys

Out of Body EP

Written by: LF on 28/02/2017 20:07:40

Ever wonder how instrumental, dynamic music based on just a drumkit and two keyboards would sound? Mouse On The Keys is here to let you know! Hailing from Tokyo, the band was created in 2006 by drummer/keyboardist Akira Kawasaki and keyboardist Atsushi Kiyota, who were both earlier in the influential jazz fusion/funk band 9dw. Later, they added keyboardist Daisuke Niitome who has also been active as a drummer and composer for several jazz/funk groups. It should come as no surprise then that their post-rock is therefore very jazzy and reaches from busy math rock all the way to droning ambient at times. But even though it is technically complex, it is also both an emotional and soothing listen.

The "Out of Body EP" brings five nice and focused new compositions to the band's repertoire. They use both pianos and keyboards to create their songs and thus there is a lot of room for variation in sound despite the sort of minimalistic choice in instruments. Two of the songs here stand out as particularly memorable though. The first one is the dark "Earache" with a lush soundscape of muffled keys on a background of constantly but calmly crashing drums. The other one is the more eclectic "Afterglow" which is also definitely the most jazz fusion-influenced track here. The piano lead and the drum kit are playfully bouncing off the walls, quickly following each other's moves, but with about a minute left the song suddenly doubles down for an ethereal, clearly resounding piano-section.

Even though the EP has a distinctly modern and electronic backbone a lot of the time, it also makes good use of layering different textures and combining the electronic with more acoustic sounds from the drums and pianos. "Dark Lights" for instance echoes back and forth, left and right, creating a monotone beat for a warm piano piece to unfold on top of while "Elegie" leaves the darker tones of the piano to flesh out a lot of the song. Finally, the title track "Out of Body" has a larger than life sound in its booming beats and downplayed echoing drums and melody, finishing off the EP after 17 controlled minutes.

Much like its fractured cover that hides a sensual warmth in its different gray pieces, the EP brings five (six if you count the short intro) tracks that have very much their own purpose and hue while still fitting neatly into a focused whole. Still, the tracks tend to end suddenly as opposed to many other post-rock compositions that take their time to really evolve from the starting point into something else near the end. At least to me, the two more dynamic or busy ones mentioned here as stand-outs, have a much deeper impact than the more ambient-leaning ones, maybe because we are only just allowed to soak in the soundscapes before they each stop to make way for the next bite of sound.


Download: Afterglow, Earache
For the fans of: toe, Eluvium, LITE
Listen: Facebook

Release date 25.01.2017
Topshelf Records

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