My Brightest Diamond Shark Remixes Review

Remix. Released 2010.  

BBC Review

A glowing whole transcendent of any one person’s vision.

Andrzej Lukowski 2010

There’s a certain convention to the reviewing of remix albums, one which revolves around pointing out the fact they’re usually not very good, before quite frequently going on to draw attention to No Protection – Mad Professor’s 1995 dub remix of Massive Attack’s Protection album of the previous year – as an increasingly distant example of how such things can be done correctly.

Still, it’s fair to say that you wouldn’t expect My Brightest Diamond – aka musician Shara Worden – to embark upon a remix record without aiming to make a serious piece of art. That she’s done it once before, with 2007’s Tear it Down (which contained remixes from 2006 debut album Bring Me the Workhorse), bodes well too. Her 2008 string quartet record A Thousand Shark’s Teeth was years in the making, and the fact Shark Remixes emerges another two years down the line is telling of the labour that’s gone in. A double-CD set, effectively consisting of four distinct, coherent EPs, Shark Remixes doesn’t quite have the original’s storm-lashed grandeur, but in all other respects must be held to at least equal it.

Composer Alfred Brown begins things, adding an intimacy to the hauteur, larding the songs with intricate percussion, groaning old strings and phantasmal hisses of static; Son Lux offers more warmth with a suite of chattering, dynamic electronics – his standout take on Inside a Boy starts like a Bond theme and accelerates to virtually gabba-like velocity. Roberto C Lange provides a hissingly surreal stew of found sounds and ambient effects that drag the once-strident record to a pleasantly peculiar outer suburb of the consciousness; lastly, Asthmatic Kitty labelmate DM Stith strips things back to their bare, bare minimum, the amusingly/exasperatingly named ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ peeling away source track On Top of the World until it’s just a warm little heartbeat of delicately fizzing strings.

But of course the real triumph is ultimately Worden’s: icily impressive though A Thousand Shark’s Teeth was, it was a difficult record to really love, or at least love in proportion to the amount of effort lavished upon it. Shark Remixes turns it into something bigger and richer, a glowing whole transcendent of any one person’s vision.

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