John Maus, Cønjuntø Vacíø #5′ headliner

In full band for the first time

The American intellectual, experimental synth-pop crooner returns after six years-hiatus with “Screen Memories,” his fourth full-length album, out on Ribbon Music. Touring for the first time backed up with a band, he will star the Festival Cønjuntø Vacíø #5 line-up set on November 4th at La Capsa, Prat de Llobregat, a location near Barcelona. It will be his third-time performance in the city, introduced at Primavera Sound 2009 and rebilled for Primavera Club 2011, by the time of his breakout album, “We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves” (Upset! The Rhythm).

John Mouse has a dedication for other matters but music to become an almost regular five-year period releaser in between. He is one kind of musician, an outsider with an academic formation in Philosophy fascinated by pop as expression, a concept to be taken as naked as the universal elevated sense or down as common standardized practice in particular time. He anchored experimentalism to the melodic pop for his absolute, the well-crafted song convention as the motive and the ’80s synth-pop tradition as the teenagery moving memory. He always reached the edge of it, to the fringe limits to form connected and unexpected twists, where universals meet on atemporal nuances. A general field where synth-pop patterns share harmonic backbone with other musical conventions, from Middle Age and mid-Renaissance pieces to baroque as surprising as electronic pioneers Ultravox did with magisterial ‘Vienna.’

He is atypical as much as a singular voice to gain a cult following from the two first official albums with negative reviews upon release, “Songs” (2006) and “Love Is Real” (2007). He got a favorable critics’ attention when “We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves” came out in 2011, his third solo album through London’s D.I.Y. Label Upset! The Rhythm and the most accessible to date then. It was a reflective work about the inconsistency of immediate writing back and forth in a narcissistic trip through social media and, mostly, a roll call to shout our names in forgetting to think. From ‘Cop Killer,’ the banal of evil turned on the subversive ballad of dehumanizing, to the ecclesiastical modes of ‘Believer’ were eleven tracks full of synth glow, electronic drum kits, narrated by baritone vocals in a grey shadowed background, a timbre resounding for our human condition. He defended and depicted sole, in a pre-recorded, way of karaoke-box sets, as the performer of the accident, him and his circumstances on stage. Often criticized for not offering a regular show instead of throwing himself around.

Now the profile image of his Facebook account shows a human figure observing the overwhelming absolute. It is a representative of what German 20th-century philosopher Heiddeger described as Dasein (“being-there”). Sustained as involuntary throwness into the world, may lead us to concern about the temporality of our existence, Being-towards-death, having language as House-of-being and Nature as the Standing Reserve to act. Yes, it is ontological, pre-nihilistic, as dark as real. As absolute as reduced into the TV static, enframing no signal, the snow screen, the white noise, the picture on “Screen Memories” album cover. The very Freudian title is his latest release in a pace almost ruled by quinquennials, recalling about how we manage ‘Sensitive Recollections’ as repressed elements to defend ourselves against them. It is hard to admit we have a neural net security system to avoid unapprehensive fears to survive, save the unconsciousness mode to keep going and multiplicate on the verge towards an end.

Excuse me for bothering you with this kind of pretentious rags, and thanks to an artist that stands up in front the absolute, giving aware of on heartfelt songs, faithfully devoted to a sound, repeating cannons that echoing either Alan Vega’s ‘Hey Hey’ or assembling Reinassance polyphonic funeral chants. It is all in ‘The Combine’ to dust, a default falling sound to particles that we should listen as static. We need him as a healthy practice, his raw irony in ‘Pets,’ and the marvelous sense of humor admitting he wasted time building up modular synthesizers on their hands. Love to that guitar in ‘Find Out,’ and please, take yourself seriously and go for the “Touchdown,” after earning Ph.D. in Political Philosophy from the University Of Hawaii.

We waiting for him with a full band for the first time on stage, with Joe Maus in Bass Guitar; Luke Darger on Keyboard and Synthesizers, along with Jonathan Thompson playing Drums and Drum Machine. It is going to be soon; in a venue away few minutes ride from downtown Barcelona.

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