Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Review: Battles - Dross Glop

Another album review for Beat street press, originally available both in-print and also online. Reproduced here for the AMR'ers.
BattlesDross Glop (Inertia, 2012) 
The unique rumble of Brooklyn art-funk-fusion outfit Battles has always been begging to be remixed. Now, thanks to the sweeping success of their sophomore album, the un-spoonerised Gloss Drop, their music undergoes a full makeover. 

Having been handpicked by the trio themselves, the sheer variety of producers and beat-makers on offer reflects the group’s eclectic tastes. Much how its source material employed a global panorama of collaborators (eletro godfather Gary Numan, Chilean original√© Matias Aguayo), Dross Glop similarly features artists from all over the musical world. Sweden, Berlin and Japan all get a look in, while Brazil’s Gui Baratto gives a deep disco flicker to 'Wall Street', while Scotsman Hudson Mohawke embellishes 'Rolls Bayce' with his brand of wonky beats. 

The problem, for better or worse, is that many of these new versions play closer to the spirit of the artists mixing them than the muscular approach to experimental rock that serves as their blueprint. For instance, Kangding Ray’s deep trance take on 'Toddler' or the heavily cyclic house of 'Sweetie & Shag' from The Field will certainly appeal to their respective fan-base, but are completely unrecognisable renditions to fans of Battles. 

Arguably, the very people this record is for. Many of these remixes alienate the most important element of Battles’ music: complex rhythm; with John Stanier’s titanic drumming all but removed from the majority of them. There are exceptions, such as Gang Gang Dance’s stripping back 'Ice Cream'  to its percussive core, or cult hip hop act Shabazz Palaces spitting psychedelic over the warped lines of 'White Electric'. 

Both demonstrate that the best of these mixes, are those that look at their originals from a skewed perspective rather than rewriting their foundations.
Battles - Ice Cream (Brian DeGraw Gang Gang Dance remix) by myblogcliche Battles - Rolls Bayce (Hudson Mohawke remix) by Synth.

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