If Collected Reworks Vol. I looked to the light then Vol. II turned to the dark as Foals surprised followers with its Friday, July 31st release. Gone is any easing in with a housey, disco party. It’s replaced by a freaky accompaniment to an Alice and Wonderlandesque nightmare, bestowing a profound contrast between the two collections; this exploratory version holds artistic merit and curiosity. Just like the previous release, the Oxford outfit dived into their extensive archive of electronica remixes to deliver tracks previously unavailable on main platforms. Except for brand-new KUU’s look at Wash It Off: an earthy number with a tiny touch of inspiration from Blondie’s Heart Of Glass.
Blowing the mind is Vessel's version of Exits. Right from the get-go, the out-of-tune keys and warped voices are theatrically disturbing building to tribalistic percussion, strings, and unusual timing. This piece is weird in the best way. Also part of that club is The Haxan Cloak remix of What Went Down. If you get the feeling that you are listening to a horror soundtrack building to a pulsating heart racing beat, you are not mistaken; Haxan created the score for Ari Aster's beautifully disturbing cult classic, Midsommar. Equally as honorable, but different is the big beat explosions of Bandwidth’s version of the track. A number of the songs, including Tom Vek’s Wheezemix of Inhaler and Jono Ma's Mountain At My Gate, could underscore video games and interestingly gave me the urge to dig out the soundtrack to the 2000 film The Beach.
Paying tribute to the traditional rave culture is Hummer from Surkin, the French artist who produced M.I.A, and from partying in the 90s, we are pulled further into the past with Miami from Lissvik and its Joe Jackson baseline. If you want to go back even further, Miami is addressed again by Tim Fuchs, and a guest spot from Flight Facilities, fusing funky 70’s guitar and piano house. Night Swimmers was already at home in the dance genre, so Mura Masa chose to distort and play with their version, and Alex Metric’s Bad Habit recreates the heady clubbing days of the early 2000s. There’s a slight change of velocity for the Starky reworking of The Orient, also found in the steady and effortless Spanish Sahara by Chad Valley.
The final in the series will be shared later this summer, before the highlights are compiled into the Collected Reworks vinyl box set, released on October 9th. It will be a treasure for fans to behold and features three 140 gram records pressed on yellow, green, and pink vinyl, collated in a slipcase package. Already causing debate, it depends what is sonically pleasing to you, of course, but this intense vibe suits, inviting us to wonder what shall Vol. III bring? As we allow ourselves to fall further and further down the rabbit hole.
Article by Beverley Knight