Dear Stranger

KK 072CD KK 072CD

Dear Stranger is the fourth full-length album by TG Mauss following his previous two albums Mechanical Eye (QS 165CD) and Gravity Will Keep Us All Together (QS 165CD) on the Belgian label Quatermass. The man from Düsseldorf also known as Torsten Mauss has been releasing records as TG Mauss since 2005, before which he put out several EPs under his early Twig moniker. This truly incomparable album opens with the unexpected combination of vocoder and what sounds like bag pipes on "OMG." "Tuesday" is a song which fuses atmospheric pop, noise drones and arpeggiated synths. "Welcome" conveys elements of post-rock, not least of all in the distinctive drumming sound. Besides his TG Mauss solo endeavors, Mauss also plays keyboards in the Sølyst project together with Thomas Klein, the drummer from Kreidler. This live drumming sound is also the driving force on "Ghosts," a downbeat ballad slightly reminiscent of Tarwater in its delicate vocal style and percussive element. The instrumental interlude "I'm a Child" is a pleasant foray into experimentalism and despite the title, proves with the use of ambient drones TG Mauss has a very high level of musical maturity. "Don't Argue" picks up the tempo again and its clear from the meticulous electronic production and driving rhythm why Mauss was selected to remix the likes of Roman and Hauschka, among others. The title-track of the album exchanges the electric guitar for an acoustic six-string, giving the song "Dear Stranger" a distinctly folk feel; this gently meandering drift even features the delightful sound of a recorder. "Sun King" is of course not a cover of the Lennon-McCartney composition from Abbey Road; rather, it bears that TG Mauss signature sound that by now everyone is familiar with. The penultimate tune "Dark" is actually light in timbre and mood -- the meditative loop purveys an anthemic majesty. Dear Stranger draws to a modest close with "Circle Lane," a delightful song rounded off with pizzicato plucked chords and some lovely lazy slide guitar. Dear Stranger is musically diverse enough to appeal to fans of electronica and post-rock as well as to singer-songwriting and folk-rock. The album revokes the old saying about not speaking to strangers; one listen to TG Mauss and you will want to get to know him better.