Dusseldorf-based electronic producer / multi-instrumentalist Torsten Mauss released his first album under his TG Mauss moniker ‘Mechanical Eye’ on Quatermass back in 2005, and this third album ‘Dear Stranger,’ (his first for Karaoke Kalk) arrives six years after his preceding collection ‘Gravity Will Keep Us All Together.’ During the intervening years Mauss has hardly been idle though, being occupied playing keyboards in his Solyst project alongside Kreidler drummer Thomas Klein. The ten tracks here see Mauss crafting an inspired fusion of leftfield electronics, pop and post-rock instrumental elements, resulting in a collection of songs that are as accessible as they are multilayered. Either way, there’s certainly a extremely broad range of terrain being covered here.
If ‘OMG’ offers up a futuristic intro section composed of phased analogue synths and vocoder harmonies, ‘Tuesday’ sees things shifting into eerie and stripped-back downbeat electronic pop that carries more than a hint of Ultravox and ‘Ultra’-era Depeche Mode, as icy synthetic arrangements and a clicking minimalist drum pulse gather momentum and grandeur around Mauss’ melancholic vocal harmonies. Elsewhere, ‘Don’t Argue’ sees Mauss channeling more of soul vibe as his treated falsetto purr slides against a flickering minimal techno backing that’s peppered with lazy acoustic guitar chords and sparkling jazzy keys, before the title track sees things taking a more scifi-folk turn, as phased vocals slide against a delicate web of plucked acoustic guitar strokes and subtle reverberating electronic percussion, in a highlight here that occupies similar territory to the hushed downbeat atmospheres explored by Karl Hyde on his recent ‘Edgeland’ album. A consistently inspired album from start to finish, ‘Dear Stranger,’ sees TG Mauss crafting a bold fusion of forward-thinking pop, electronics and post-rock.