New wave music with the chirpiness of synthesizers in the vein of Wendy Carlos, and a voice that is almost painful to listen to. While someone like Atom and His Package can use a kitschy sound and synthesizer to make light-hearted music, Mizar loses any impressiveness from the intricately planned out synth lines with vocals dumped on each track seemingly with a $2 microphone. The lo-fi synth sound has been explored successfully by bands like The Unicorns, An Albatross, and The Locust, and the fanciful fop market has been cornered by Momus, so I’m really not sure how “The King of the Stars” could be an album one would deem as “essential”, or even of a high enough quality to be put on rotation on 200 record labels. The general sound of the disc is of a 8-bit video game soundtrack, with a Voltaire-esque spin on the vocals. With lyrics that are muttered and sputtered out with a lack of elocution enough to be confused for a different language, the simple fact is that at most times on “The King of The Stars” , an individual is forced to only focus on the aforementioned synth lines, which do tend to get clichéd in the 4+ minute compilations.
The title track slightly moves away from the flaccid synthesizer, slowing down the tempo in both instrument and voice to give a twenties sound to the track. In this track, the comparisons to Tiny Tim are merited, and Mizar even looks the part – a skinny, straggly gent that could break glass with eir’s voice. While “The King of the Stars” is not created under the same condition or is influenced by the same artists, many parallels can be made to Steve Lieberman. Where Steve Lieberman has watered eirself down to a degree that each track is an exercise in futility, Mizar has dug eirself so deep in a rut with the same general sound that I’m not even sure if ey could drag eirself out.
The carnival atmosphere for the opening of “Infernal Game” is a welcome change, but is not far enough from the path that Mizar has already traveled to make a difference. Mizar is like Peaches – maybe kitschy and fun for a song or two, but after individuals realize that the music that they both put out is repetitive and uninspired, relying mainly on gimmicks, the disc wears thin easily. For a more successful experiment in popular music, check out the aforementioned bands (Momus, An Albatross, The Unicorns), and avoid this album.
Top Track : Infernal Game
Rating : 3.0/10
Mizar – The King of the Stars / 9 Tracks / 2003 Mizar / http://www.mizar.us / Reviewed 26 February 2004