TG Mauss Mechanical Eye

On his first solo outing, Torsten Mauss, previously one half of electro duo Tonetraeger, seems to be pulled in two directions — whether to present a vocal pop album or instrumental electro experiment. Tonally the album is cohesive, with a healthy balance of played strings, sampled instruments, soft electronics and found sounds. Mauss’ vocals are airily thin but, as in "Real,” effectively wed to the delicate layers of plucked bass notes, harpsichord keys and soft synth sounds. Ironically, this track is complex and compelling regardless of the vocals, whereas instrumental tracks like "Pacific” meander without destination beyond a point where they’d be heard as interludes. In the post-Postal Service world of electro, such a hook-free song feels unfinished. Luckily these missteps are few. Mauss’ taste in sublime sound combinations gently drives the album along. If full-blown pop songs tell stories, these pieces are the equivalent of postcards: brief, heartfelt, scenic and atmospheric and with only the most ear catching details provided. (Quatermass)