Postmodern hijinks have become such a staple of contemporary pop music that genre bending and blending are hardly news anymore. What artist hasn’t ransacked the back catalog of some long-lost funk or soul label, or lifted grooves from obscure jazz hepcats or, for the even more adventurous, modern classical composers?

On that score, the approach taken by Max Tundra (real name Ben Jacobs) on his third album, “Mastered by Guy at the Exchange,” isn’t so revolutionary. But while other musicians aspire to a seamless meld of styles — or at the very least (as with Cornelius, for example) a seamless segue between different styles of songs — Tundra tries to squeeze everything into the same three- or four-minute tune.

“61over,” for example, begins as a chatty piece of electro and slowly strengthens to full dance speed until it dissolves into a repetitive, Steven Reich-inspired, minimalist piano interlude with a heartfelt, barely audible vocal in the background. As if that isn’t enough, the piano then goes all honky-tonk, in the promise of perhaps an Elton John-style hook, before abruptly ending.

The other tracks take in an equally ambitious swathe of musical history, sandwiching chirpy sing-song vocals (courtesy of Tundra’s sister Becky) in between bombastic prog-rock breaks, and interrupting swooning house beats with garrulous heavy-metal guitars.

“I am staggered that so few people make songs which end differently to how they began,” Tundra says via e-mail from his home in London. “It is positively encouraged when writers and directors produce books and films packed with hundreds of ideas, but whenever musicians attempt the same thing it tends to be frowned upon as being uncool.”

Or at least deeply unconventional. The relegation of Tundra’s album to the avant-garde section of most record stores is evidence of the difficulty of putting it into any one category. The sheer number of ideas in any one of the songs can overwhelm the first-time listener.

Once you get used to it, however, it is easy to get hooked. Tundra’s genius is to make his chaotic sensibilities effortless. His music might not sound like pop, but in its frothy effervescence, it feels like it.

If his music isn’t ultimately difficult to listen to, Tundra seems to take an almost fiendish delight in making it difficult to make.

“The instruments used are the ones which most closely tally with the ones flying round in the sounds within my head,” he explains. “I always keep the choice of instruments as subliminal and automatic as possible. Whatever sounds right will be used, however difficult it is to obtain or learn to play.

“At every stage of the process, there are myriad points of potential temptation in the form of shortcuts I could take in order to end up with a similar-sounding song. It is enough to know that other people would cut corners and compromise at these moments; this is what makes me go the extra mile, to raise the sounds to a more ambitious plateau than what I have been hearing on the radio of late.”

Because his first record, 1998’s “Children at Play,” was released on the electronica label Warp (both the new album and 2000’s “Some Best Friend You Turned out to Be” are on the U.K.’s eclectic Domino label), he has often been called an electronica artist. But this is an ironic term given the amount of energy he puts into collecting real sounds (like the oven door slamming on “Pocket”) or learning conventional instruments for his albums. Just one track, “Hited,” required Tundra to become competent at, if not master, the banjo and the cello.

“I go out of my way to fill my music with ‘real’ sounds and instruments,” he says, “in an attempt to move it out of the virtual sweaty bedroom I seem to share with those . . . boys who have richer parents than I (who lavish them with more expensive toys than I’ve got).

“I sometimes wonder why I bother,” he continues, “as people often assume I produce my songs using the same instant software-based techniques as the electronic musicians I am frequently lumped in with. If only they realized the hot, sweaty, eye-meltingly dense, hard work which went into the music I present to you today, perhaps they wouldn’t be so quick as to call me ‘the new (fill in name of insular, laptop-toting buffoon here).’ “

To make things even more challenging, Tundra decided to add vocals to many of the tracks on “Guy,” a departure from his previous records.

“Paradoxically, it makes the music easier to listen to, despite the months it took me to get the confidence to realize that I could actually formulate decent, vaguely witty sentences. People are more used to songs than instrumental music. Radio and television are polluted with crass, hollowly universal lyrics. I found this inspiring in my quest to come up with subjects and ideas which I hadn’t heard captured in songs before.”

In true Tundra form, not only are his lyrics offbeat, but they also have a tendency to wander off course. The first single from the new album, “Lysine,” begins as a paean to amino acids and ends with a reference to experimental musician David Toop.

“Bizarrely some producers of one of the most popular radio shows in England have decided that the lyrics to ‘Lysine’ are too avant-garde to be played during the day. Presumably, by ‘avant-garde,’ they mean ‘avoiding cliches whilst making total grammatical sense.’ “

If this sounds like a rant, well, it kind of is. Music this creatively deranged requires maniacal determination, the mad professor vibe, which Tundra has in spades.

At his live show at the Liquid Room last weekend, Tundra looked like Einstein if he’d suddenly taken up music and gained a spot as the opening act at a third-tier Las Vegas hotel or perhaps a first-tier Long Island bar mitzvah. Watching Tundra flail dramatically behind his barrage of keyboards in a tuxedo that had its heyday in the mid-’70s and with a frizzy hairstyle that never had one at all was to watch a man possessed.

Is his music secretly subversive?

“Ssshhhh!” he replies. “Don’t tell anyone!”

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