Disco 2 (Lovepump United, 06.2010)
For: See Below
Byline: The LA noise rocker's second album, Get Color gets the remix treatment on this monolithic, occasionally brilliant, collection of contributions from some of the innovative artists working in electronic music. Originally published on www.inyourspeakers.com. Used by permission from inyourspeakers, LLC.
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At its best HEALTH’s second remix album is a peek into the compositional soundness of one of 2009’s best albums, Get Color. That album, with its sheen of post-industrial guitars and atonal blasts of noise punctuating, rather than designing, the group’s songs, gestured towards a greater level of accessibility, and hinted at a band that really wanted to make dance music. DISCO 2 is an exercise in further turning down the caustic dread and repackaging seven out of Get Color’s nine songs (Death+ and We Are Water are curiously left out) into compositions that range from Miami Vice synth-scapes via Javelin to chopped and screwed nü-goth a la Salem.
At its worst DISCO 2 is the aural equivalent of everyone showing up to the office Halloween party all dressed up as the same thing. Eleven contributors, who instead of embracing HEALTH’s noise-barbed explosions, tend to ignore them as tantrums from an ill-tempered child and zero in on the band’s pummeling, frequently insane, percussion. Instead of extrapolating the tonal-rich interplay between the shrieking electronics and pulsar wave guitars, most of the contributors (many of which were part of the Chillwave explosion of 2009), tend to focus on the percussion-heavy elements of Get Color to the exclusion of much else....
....Heavy hitters Tobacco, Pictureplane, and Gold Panda put their own personal stamp on Get Color’s biggest “hit,” “Die Slow”. Tobacco filters “Die Slow’s” industrial luster through his characteristic manic-motorway synth lines that rip ragged holes through the entire composition. He does right by isolating and accentuating the breathy Cocteau Twins-like vocals and trading the songs primitive two-beat thud for more layered, heavily textured percussion. Where Tobacco highlighted “Die Slow’s” vocals, Pictureplane, the Denver purveyor of swampy chillwave, glitches the vocals up, chopping them into indecipherable chunks of Burroughs-esque word-virus and layers them over vaguely tropical beat with a heavy low-end. The albums most anticipated track, Gold Panda’s remix of “Die Slow” is also the most glitched-out, but in a manner more informed by 20th century electronic music. Gold Panda turns HEALTH’s characteristic polyrhythmic drumming on “Before Tigers” into an endlessly sampleable palette of breaks, and then a clinking, clattering percussion line reminiscent of electronic artists on the Kompakt label or Pantha Du Prince’s microhouse groove....
....Blindoldfreak, Salem, and Crystal Castles represent a trifecta of bands who take HEALTH’s din and dread seriously, producing three of the best tracks on the album. Blindoldfreak, guitarist for former HEALTH tour mates, Nine Inch Nails, produces the album’s most minimalist track, full of escalating, pitch-shifted tones and naked, isolated vocals, resulting in one of the most oddly triumphant tracks on the album. Crystal Castles, who are no strangers to HEALTH remixes nor to dance-heavy noise, stick relatively close to the script by layering on tempo-shifted, absolutely bonkers drumming, calming vocals, and a bevy of household/medical found sound. Salem’s remix of “In Violet”, Get Color’s least abrasive track, takes advantage of the song’s surging rhythm, turning it into something dark and sinister, not unlike the repackaging of industrial music that HEALTH succeeded in conquering on Get Color.
HEALTH’s own contribution, the most electronic sounding song of their career, “U.S.A Girls,” is more than worth the price of admission and often, when played in the context of the album, overshadows the rest of the contributions.