Mouse on Mars is recognised as one of Germany’s most defining and innovative electronic music projects. Free from schools of thought, genre conventions, or of the music establishment’s constraints, Jan St. Werner and Andi Toma have forged a unique musical language over 20 years, mapping their own idiosyncratic trajectory through a no man’s land between pop, art, club music, and the avant-garde. On the occasion of their 21st birthday, Mouse on Mars celebrate with the lavish two-day 21 AGAIN festival at HAU Hebbel am Ufer from 31 October to 1 November. Curated by the band and featuring many of their peers and artist friends, the event coincides with the release of new and old Mouse on Mars material on the same date on Monkeytown Records. While the 21 AGAIN Compilation features a series of new artistic collaborations, the exclusive 21 AGAIN Box set documents the band’s rich history. Mouse on Mars’ musical and artistic universe thus emerges only through a holistic consideration of their extended constellation of collaborations, projects, and references. Within the two-day 21 AGAIN Festival, Mouse on Mars present collaborations with and performances by fellow artists, musicians and theorists as well as older and new projects that have sparked and shaped their universe. Taking place at HAU1 and multiple rooms of HAU2, the event avoids the shape of a traditional retrospective, instead manifesting itself as a collaborative work of restless mutability. Its programme is accordingly diverse:
Among the highlights is the performance of the orchestral work, Paeanumnion, an unusual exchange with the world of contemporary classical music commissioned in 2011 by the Cologne Philharmonic. Directed and orchestrated by André de Ridder and performed by internationally acclaimed Ensemble Musikfabrik, the occasion represents only the second time the work is performed in Germany. A special link to contemporary instrumental music is also forged through a performance of the piece, Lumio, together with Berlin’s adventurous Solistenensemble Kaleidoskop. A special power and resonance is to be expected in the cooperation with ex-Battles frontman Tyondai Braxton, with whom Mouse on Mars created a startling interpretation of Terry Riley’s classic “In C” this past February 2014. They will be supported by Simon Moritz Geist’s Sonic Robots, a midi-controlled robotic percussion ensemble, which can be expected to infuse Mouse on Mars and Tyonday Braxton’s hybrid rhythmics with a special anarchic dynamic.
Installations and interventions by a number of visual artists such as Susan Philipsz, recently featured with a large installation at Berlin’s museum of contemporary art, Hamburger Bahnhof, the internationally acclaimed installation artist Rosa Barba, computer artist Karl Kliem, or Marcel Duchamp prize winner Sadaâne Afif enhance the environment in which the festivals concerts and events take shape. Painter and drawer Katja Davar, which also has contributed to Mouse on Mars’ exhibition project for Kunsthalle Düsseldorf “doku/fiction”, will present one of her surrealist video paintings. Performance and film artist Jimmy Robert shows a video that interprets a song of the 21 AGAIN Collaborations album. Mouse on Mars will of course also perform one of their intense “Trio Sets”, bolstered by long time collaborator Dodo NKishi on drums and featuring a short contribution by ex-Stereolab singer Laetitia Sadier. This evening also highlights a joint live set by Mouse on Mars with Puppetmastaz “Boss” Mr. Maloke.
The festival includes further concerts by collaborators Oval, Schlammpeitziger, or former Stereolab mastermind Tim Gane performing under his latest guise, Cavern of Anti-Matter. Modeselektor’s Gernot Bronsert and Siriusmo join in for their joint DJ premiere as Siriusselektor. Located on the first floor of the HAU2, the WAU restaurant is open both festival days for a multi-hour Skweee jam as well as hosting DJ sets from DJ Elephant Power and Candie Hank. Earlier in the evening, festivalgoers are invited to enjoy a 21 AGAIN synaesthetic menu designed by C-Schulz and Christian Schwarzwald, enhanced by a specially conceived playlist by C-Schulz. The foyer of HAU2 features additional concerts by Vert, F.X.Randomiz and The Allophons within an improvised pop-up store yb Cologne’s A-Musik.