A record as diverse as its producer
Even in the well-stocked haberdashery that is popular music, John Maus is cut from pretty strange cloth. Sometime keyboardist for Animal Collective and Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Maus – by day, a philosophy professor from Minnesota – claims inspiration from Gregorian chant, critical theory, and classical composers Handel and Schoenberg. The charts, as you might expect, do not tremble at his approach. But this rag-tag collection, dating from between 1999 and 2010, sets out his stall as an outsider savant in an Ariel Pink vein, the likes of ‘Castles In The Grave’ and ‘Mental Breakdown’ spiriting something vivid out of blurry VHS-quality synths and Maus’ sad, Ian Curtis-like tremor – although there is a moment midway through the naggingly silly ‘This Is The Beat’ when you find yourself wondering if this is what Keyboard Cat did next.