In Sea Remixes (Silber Records, 02.2010)
For: Stars of the Lid, German Shepherd, Yume Bitsu
Byline: One of 2009's best releases gets the remix treatment from loads of talented musicians. Drop everything and buy this.
Jon DeRosa's elegiac masterpiece of an ambient-drone record In Sea got me through a very busy semester of school last year. The weight of the music, DeRosa's amazing story, and the therapeutic nature it had on me as I sat up writing paper after paper led to an easy place on my best of 2009 list. Now, Silber Records is graciously releasing a glorious remix album no more than 3 months after its initial release. The remix album is a tricky feat to pull off. First, the source material has to be strong enough to retain its core attributes while withstanding radical tonal and textural changes.
A big check in that box.
Second, the contributers have to alter the original recording enough to warrant another listen to a song you have spun through over a dozen times.
Put another check there.
Those said changes have to alter the song enough to make you look at it in another light, recognizing things that you missed and opening the song to limitless possibilities.
Three for three.
Fourth, make sure Prefuse-73 is on there.
Oh man, so close.
While Scott Herren may be absent, Aarktica's talented friends more than make up for this. Remixes include contributions from Al Qaeda (fellow non-SLC moondial tape contributers) who take "A Plague of Frosts" and underscore it with post-industrial percussion and haunting field-recordings in the vein of Odd Nosdam's eerie "Burner" off Level Live Wires. My favorite remixes are by Planar and Keith Canisuis who take previous wordless songs and sing over them, totally owning the song and changing its very meaning. I have an unhealthy obsession with the Keith Canisuis remix of "Autumnal", I love his decidedly 80's take on the song, transforming the subtle guitar lines into cheesy 80's synth lines and gorgeously-weird keyed up vocals. I don't know very much about this Dutch artist, but I expect to be delving into his back catalogue very soon. Other contributers include but are not limited to: Aidan Baker-collaborator-ThisQuietArmy, the skittering electronic percussion of yellow6, Mason Jones, the pastoral field recordings of Summer Cats. TOME favs Remora, Declining Winter, James Duncan, Ramses III, etc... Not to be missed.