So, mental baggage left firmly in the rubbish dump, we can say this record is as diverse and refreshing as can be.
Oh my, this is great, how did I miss this? Fans of strange pop and mildly disconcerting sounds; have a listen to the remix LP of Ikebana’s LP When You Arrive There! Remixed by a whole host of interesting people like James McNew, El Fog and Mathewdavid, and old names I’d never think would see the light of day again, such as Buffalo Daughter; this is a true hidden gem.
I’ll come clean and say I’d not heard the original LP, but I honestly don’t think that matters; and would quietly petition that the term “remix album” should be thrown in a skip, as the idea of remixing really has no bearing on what is created and presented here, musically. Yes I know the artists have a start point in the original work, but still; that first reactive stab at remoulding the mould is often just as exciting and rewarding. I also think the term “remix album” puts people off, thinking they have a duty to hear the original before you can pass judgement on the rework. I could wax on tangentally about the Western Tradition in Art at this point, but life’s too short and I can’t face attempting such a pompous conceit, it’s tiring.
So, mental baggage left firmly in the rubbish dump, we can say this record is as diverse and refreshing as can be; the first three tracks being an example of the surprises the “template” can throw up. We get a fabulously louche opening; the ambient take on Ends from Mathewdavid almost sashays into view, and proceeds to take up all of your time and attention. You could end up peeling grapes for it if you're not too careful. El Fog’s mix of Wrong is propped up by some determined and thumping beats whereas Sakaimasayuki & Sigh Society create a sort of aural take on the floating world with their remix of Alone. It’s spooky but very beautiful and brilliantly paced.
And it doesn’t stop there. James McNew’s “gentle” remix of Rose is another soft floating thing but with more presence; probably because any form of beat is banished and we are left with a misty, sometimes gloopy wall of loops and synthetic sounds that provide the paste. Buffalo Daughter couldn’t live without beats, and we remember them fondly when they toured with Money Mark back in the Jurassic era. Wow, their crazy drummer… Here they take the track Kiss and create a quirky, rhythmic stripped down slab of funk that has comes on like the TomTom Club. Marvellous. Danny Norbury’s remix of Ikebana is another sonic volte face, where we have very little outside of a plaintive guitar note, a mournful violin part and some softly emoted vocals. Spring (remixed by aus) is a piece of classical ambient / new classical work and a very good one at that. In the context of this LP, it is a perfect fit, as it provides a luscious and warm counterpoint to the sparse atmosphere created by the previous track. Finally we have another stab at Rose from James McNew, this time we get his “anxiety” mix. It’s a great ending as it seems to question (what with all that growling guitar fuzz, and deliberately weak and monolithic beat) what has gone before.
Simply fabulous LP. The link’s at the top of this review. You know your duty.