TG Mauss: Mechanical Eye

TG Mauss (Torsten Mauss) joins kindred spirits Wechsel Garland and F.S. Blumm at a bucolic seaside retreat on Mechanical Eye, a winsome collection of delicate folktronic pop and Mauss's follow-up to last year's This Is Not Here, his Tonetraeger outing with Volker Bertelmann (aka Hauschka). The mood of the solo debut is generally bright, the elegantly sombre “Real” (“Is it real or just another vision?”) a conspicuous exception, and while Mauss adds softly purring vocals to many songs, instrumentals constitute the larger share. Amidst bird twitter and gentle waves, his fragile sigh floats over a delicate acoustic guitar breeze in the overture “Konitiki” and through the title song's percussion tinklings and horn masses. While Mauss's arrangements are typically minimal, “Places to Go,” a sunny marriage of acoustic guitar, piano, wheezing harmonica, and vocal harmonies, builds to almost epic proportions. He wisely exploits contrasts of mood throughout, between the meditative drift of “Bay Shore” and the staccato dance patterns of marimbas in “The Old Song” and relaxed tech-house of “Ahab.” And while a generally bucolic ambiance reigns, Mauss adds raw electric guitar to the Rhodes-enhanced groove of “It Lies Within.” Think of Mechanical Eye as an attractively companionable cousin to The Isle, Garland's collaboration with World Standard, and Blumm's Lichten and Zweite Meer.

October 2005