An absorbing reinvention of the Brooklyn band’s celebrated recent long-player.
Brad Barrett 2010-09-13
Bear in Heaven's last album, Beast Rest Forth Mouth, their second, seemed ripe for the remix treatment from the off. It's become a common technique for garnering interest from fresh audiences: for example, daunting noise band HEALTH altered perceptions of their music considerably with their two remix LPs to date. While this affair is no grand reinvention on that scale, with the original essence sustained through respect of the source material, it is just as absorbing.
A few stand-outs seal the inseparable DNA of the respective remixer within them. Justin K Broderick's serene doom-scaling in the innocuous Dust Cloud is inspired and reminiscent of a light-hearted version of his dense, guitar-laden project Jesu. The Field's trance-drone vision of Ultimate Satisfaction is reliably brittle and lengthy compared to the brief, fierce shoving of the original. Twin Shadow's mix of Lovesick Teenagers snares the chorus and channels it into anchored grooves. Excellent touches like the cave echo and Steve Reich-esque bell tones on Pink Skull's Wholehearted Mess segues into the shimmering, minimal vocal rave of Fake Out tackled by BRAHMS. There are irresistible moments of deft blueprint-defying which only give greater emphasis to the sadly undervalued charms of its big brother. You Do You is the track closest to its original form and loses none of its ominous power, but is somehow lifted to a euphoric penultimate number, the opposite of its role on Beast Rest Forth Mouth.
However, comparing individual tracks to their originals is probably not the point here, as fun as it is. The tracklisting has been significantly shuffled so as to retain the all important flow of an album as opposed to merely presenting a mirrored set of alternative visions. Significantly, the feel is to really craft an electronic tribute as prominent hooks are often softened or discarded in favour of throbbing, hypnotic rhythms. This isn't a far cry from what Bear in Heaven achieve with their limited set-up. It has just been indulged further and deeper by those adept at spreading singular ideas across a riskier length of time. All it needs is that time to dispel the initial reaction of precious protection over the first, and therefore defining, work, which it ultimately does admirably.
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