|Born||23 February 1980|
|Origin||Minnesota, United States|
|Genres||Avant-garde, Synthpop, Pop, Lo-fi, Post-punk|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, composer, record producer|
|Labels||Upset The Rhythm, Human Ear Music, Mistletone, Demonstration Bootleg Ltd.|
|Associated acts||Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, Panda Bear, Holy Shit!, R. Stevie Moore|
|Website||Upset the Rhythm|
John Maus (born February 23, 1980) is an American avant-garde musician, and composer. A keyboard player for Panda Bear and Ariel Pink, he has released three albums of his own music to acclaim. He grew up in Minnesota. He is known for his eclectic samples when composing, "an almost absurd mix – a stand-off between taut, bass-driven post-punk, whooshing electro-pop and, thanks to the chants and bleak intoning, Medieval and Gregorian disco."
Maus was born in February 1980 in Austin, Minnesota. Experimenting with music from an early age, his first efforts were strongly influenced by Nirvana and film scores of the 1980s. He later studied music at the California Institute of the Arts. As a college student he was interested in experimental music, such as the work of Michael Pisaro, as well as Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque music. When he befriended and began to work alongside Ariel Pink, he took a greater interest in pop music. While continuing to make music, Maus went on to study philosophy at the European Graduate School in Saas Fee, Switzerland, where he earned his master's degree. He was awarded a doctorate in political philosophy from the University of Hawai'i, where his thesis advisor was Michael J. Shapiro.
Maus is known for the energy of his performances, and the intellectually advanced nature of his composition. A 2012 review of a London performance in The Guardian noted him to be a "ferocious theoretician" in particular given his quoting of Alain Badiou in the title of his album We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves. The review also remarked on the physical nature of his live shows, "Prowling the stage alone like a patient who has given his care nurse the slip, Maus pogos, head-bangs and gives vent to a succession of feral howls as he jack-knifes at the waist, singing over pre-recorded tapes in what he self-effacingly describes as his "karaoke show"." Charles Ubaghs 2012 review for the BBC also took notice of the philosophical undertones of Maus' works: "...behind these retro overtones is a desire to explore our modern relationships with pop, and its impact on our wider philosophical and cultural lives." The review also remarked that on Maus' self-referential tendencies: "Couple this with lyrics like The Fear’s surprisingly frank “What’s wrong with me, ‘cause I’ve tried everything,” and you’ve an accessibly rich portrait of Maus’ ever-questioning mind." Likewise a 2011 BBC review noted that Maus was " as much a professional existentialist as he is a synth-pop musician" and that "reading his interviews can make your cerebral cortex pulse with befuddlement."
- ca. 1999: Snowless Winters (self-released)
- 2000: Love Letters from Hell (self-released)
- 2003: I Want to Live (self-released)
- 2006: Songs (Upset the Rhythm)
- 2007: Love Is Real (Upset the Rhythm)
- 2011: We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves (Upset the Rhythm)
- 2012: A Collection of Rarities and Previously Unreleased Material (Ribbon Music)
- 2006: From U.S. to I (Ballbearings Pinatas)
- 2006: The Human Ear Vol.1 (Human Ear Music)
- 2007: Mistletonia Xmas compilation (Mistletone)
- 2012: Rough Trade Shops: Counter Culture 11 (Rough Trade Records)
With Ariel Pink
- BBC Music John Maus We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves Review, from the BBC. Retrieved May 16, 2012.
- Loscutoff, Leah http://bombsite.com/issues/1000/articles/5837 “John Maus” BOMB Magazine July 2011, Retrieved July 26, 2011
- "Upset the Rhythm - John Maus". Upset the Rhythm. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
- “John Maus” BOMB Magazine July 2011, Retrieved July 26, 2011
- "University of Hawai'i Department of Political Science". Retrieved 12 November 2014.
- Ubaghs, Charles (2012-08-21). "John Maus A Collection of Rarities and Previously Unreleased Material Review". BBC Review. BBC. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
- Gittins, Ian (15 August 2012). "John Maus – review". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 24 January 2013.
- Parkin, Chris (2011-06-30). "John Maus We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves Review". BBC Review. BBC. Retrieved 24 January 2013.