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Lithops is the solo guise of Jan St Werner, known as half of popular Köln/Düsseldorf-based duo Mouse on Mars. Also a member of abstract ambient outfit Microstoria, Werner tends toward middle ground with his Lithops material, fusing the smooth digital weirdness of Microstoria with the smudgy, off-kilter beats and warm, imperfect textures of Mouse on Mars releases such as Instrumentals and Glam. Lithops tracks rub the outer edges of inferential electronics, and often sound as though they began their lives as studio accidents, all fumbly, peripatetic rhythms emerging from a haze of muffled bass and overdriving synth textures. Although Werner's first Lithops tracks trace only to 1995, a flood of material quickly appeared, beginning with the two-track "Wackler/Khan" 12-inch, issued by tiny Köln-based imprint Eat Raw, and shifting into high gear with a pair of full-lengths released in 1998. Werner and MoM partner Andi Toma's Sonig label issued the first of those -- the drab, gauzy Uni Umit -- in early 1998, while the Eat Raw's LP Didot followed only months later. Although it didn't receive quite the initial distribution push of Sonig's first release -- MoM's excellent Instrumentals LP, reissued stateside by Thrill Jockey -- Uni Umit was equally as splendid, wrapping thick, organic textures around sparse rhythms, bizarre electronics, and thick, strapping, resonant bass. (The album got a stateside CD reissue in 1998, via Jim O'Rourke's Moikai label.) Didot, for its part, was slightly better-produced and rhythmically further flung than its predecessor. An additional 1998 release came in the form of the "Turbino" 7-inch, released by the otherwise unrelated Static Caravan label. Another single "Sequenced Twinset" appeared in 1999, and four years later, Lithops returned with third album Scrypt, released through Thrill Jockey. 2006 brought two new full lengths: Queries which was again released on Sonig a compilation of rare and unreleased material and Mound Magnet an offer of new shimmering dsp jewels released on stateside's Thrill Jockey label. Mound Magnet Part 2 will be out on sonig in May 2008, limited edition vinyl 300 copies only. The cd version will be released on US label killer pimp

"Jan St. Werner has been in the public eye in the last year or so for Von Südenfed, the collaboration he and his Mouse on Mars partner Andi Toma have with the Fall's Mark E. Smith. But St. Werner keeps busy and often has several projects going on simultaneously. Musically, the man never stays still; even when he's issuing a sequel, it still feels like the first time. Case in point is his new solo album under his Lithops guise. Though it shares the title Mound Magnet with its predecessor, (this is Part 2, subtitled Elevations Above Sea Level), the feel on the tracks I've heard is looser, sillier, comparatively melodic, and more focused on the driving 4/4. The epic "Rosa in a Light Speed Vessel" has a propulsive beat at its core and everything but the kitchen sink is swirling around it in a cyclone of sound-- stomping guitar chords, sea-sick synth moans, what might be a gradually pitch-shifted sample of a bi-plane's engine. It's a track that makes you feel like you're one step behind it for its entire duration, not quite able to figure out what's going on one moment as it has already moved on to the next."
Mark Richardson, Pitchforkmedia

the new Lithops album "Ye Viols!" will be released on thrill jockey in january 09