Electric Company Greatest Hits Review

Released 2002.  

BBC Review

...even the keenest minds won't fully grasp it on the first listen.

Olli Siebelt 2002

Forming Electric Company out of the ashes of such influential Los Angeles bands like Savage Republic and Medicine, Brad Laner has always been a bit of a maverick. While his contemporaries were out at the Whisky, headbanging to the sounds of Motley Crüe and Ratt, Laner was holed up in his apartment listening to the likes of Can and Stockhausen, and we applaud him for it.

This maverick spirit shines through on his latest project, which sees another release on the famously anarchic Tigerbeat6 label. Having released several works from Mr. Laner in the past, the label have unleashed a greatest hits compilation not of individual tracks, but rather a collection of Laners work remixed by some of electronica's most notable laptop composers and musical abusers.

Unlike most Tigerbeat6 releases that completely destroy the source material (like they did with NWA, Missy Elliot, etc,) the remixers here have chosen to amplify and enlarge on Laners material, albeit in a different form. It came in with a suit and tie and its left with board shorts and a hula-hoop. Take u-ziqs gorgeous remix, Octelogopod - that wonderful Laner guitar treatment still comes through the surrounding soup of timpani drums and layers of timestretched pads, most of which are flanged out about as far as Moscow is to Melbourne. Dissonance has never sounded this joyous.

On some of the remixes things fly past so quickly you barely have time to grasp what's going on until the whole thing breaks down into a gorgeous ambient bed before flying off into lunacy again. Time signatures leap back and forth in Blectum from Blechdoms short-wave inspired workout of Elco-Me-Oh, as do those in the especially fantastic Hey You Guys (remixed by Phthalocyanine) which turns the original into a 380bpm gabba nightmare straight outta Oxbridge with its complex time changes and challenging cut ups before morphing into something resembling a 1950s science fiction movie soundtrack played through a blown speaker.

The fact is there is so much going on here sonically that even the keenest minds won't fully grasp it on the first listen. But again (as with so many of the Tigerbeat6 releases) its coming back to them time and time again that makes them so worthwhile and so much fun. Viva la Powerbook!

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