Best known as one half of the innovative German electronic duo Mouse on Mars, Jan St.
Werner also pursued a solo career as Lithops and under his own name. While MoM's work often combines absurdist humor with abstract yet danceable rhythms, Werner's solo work is generally far more experimental. Shortly after the duo released their first album in 1994, Werner began making glitchy minimalist ambient music as part of the duo Microstoria, with Oval's Markus Popp. He also began releasing solo recordings as Lithops, and while initial releases were similar to Mouse on Mars, albums like 2003's Scrypt were significantly more abrasive and challenging. During the 2010s, Werner initiated a series of releases titled Fiepblatter, which ranged from ambitious, nearly operatic works like 2015's Miscontinuum Album to the visceral attack of 2017's Spectric Acid.
Jan Stephan Werner was born in Nuremberg, Germany in 1969. His earliest recordings include the 1992 album Slow (in collaboration with F.X. Randomiz) and two limited self-released cassettes, all of which appeared prior to Mouse on Mars' 1994 debut. He began releasing music as Lithops in the mid-'90s (around the time of his collaboration with Markus Popp, Microstoria), issuing several singles and two full-lengths, Umi Unit and Didot, by the end of the decade. Despite Werner's work with Mouse on Mars and the duo's spinoff project with the Fall's Mark E. Smith, Von Südenfed, Lithops' output continued at a steady pace in the 2000s, including albums like Scrypt and the two-part release Mound Magnet as well as compilations such as Queries and Ye Viols! During the 2000s, Werner also acted as the artistic director for Amsterdam's Institute for Electronic Music.
In 2013, Werner released Blaze Colour Burn, the first of a series of experimental releases called Fiepblatter, on Thrill Jockey. The second volume, the limited cassette-only release Transcendental Animal Numbers, which used extreme dynamic and frequency shifts to approximate the random yet organic quality of field recordings, appeared later that year. A limited 10" single called "Split Animal Sculpture" was issued by Infinite Greyscale in 2014. In 2015, Werner collaborated with members of Earth, Oval, and Bo Ningen on Miscontinuum Album, which had already been performed as an opera and radio play in the four years prior to its release. The fourth Fiepblatter release, Felder, appeared in 2016. The album was designed to be performed as a public installation, with the artists free to interpret the work as they wish. A year later, Werner released the hard-hitting Spectric Acid, the fifth volume of the Fiepblatter series. Glottal Wolpertinger, a collection of pieces for microtonally tuned feedback, appeared in 2019. ~ Heather Phares, Rovi