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Mr. Mixel Pixel

Mr. Mixel Pixel is comprised of pair of multi-instrumental mischief makers by the names of Romulos Conway and Maurice "the dokkta", who really like pushing buttons, preferably ones that make funny, synthesized noises. Moogs, Casios, and old computers are their most trusted instruments of weirdness dissemination. Damaged, filtered, cheap and sometimes quite awful-sounding guitars, odd tape loops, and all kinds of wacky drums, both man-powered and mechanized, also come in handy. Sometimes Mr. Mixel Pixel's music sounds like early '80s video game music masquerading as clever pop; sometimes it sounds like laconic slacker rock songs gone haywire thanks to unusual production and instrument choices. Lyrically the group ranges from sweetly surreal to paranoid schizophrenic. Everything's pretty happy, going from a feeling of warm day-glo to the out-of-body sensation of seeing the earth from outer space, then back again. And it all happens in an extremely lo-fi way, as if these two pranksters had recorded all their vintage science-fiction sounds in a subway station.

Comparisons with guys this far out are hard to come by, but an early Mercury Rev armed with a whole lot of cheap electronics might not be too far off the mark. Anway, Mr. Mixel Pixel recorded the full-length album Mappy Land in 2001 with the help of a few friends on their very own Mental Monkey record label. That album is the place where you can find "Cyclone Took My Baby," a moody, very spacey almost-ballad, and "Fake Violin Solo," one of the cruddiest and most warped-sounding pretty songs you'll ever hear. Those songs are the album's closer and opener, respectively, and between them you'll find eleven other brief experiments in synth-pop deconstruction.

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