Since its soft reboot around the turn of 2017, R&S has been on strong form. While the dancing horse is as familiar an icon as ever, the label feels fresh and rejuvenated. Once such highlight from this brand new era was the collaborative project between John Talabot and Axel Boman. Between the two, they crafted one of the best albums of last year in the form of ‘The Night Land‘. One year on and we see Aksel “Superpitcher” Schaufler, Samo DJ, Luke Slater–as L.B. Dub Corp–and Powder step up for the remix alternatives.
A remix project is often risky and inconsistent. The resulting works can often be patchy in terms of context and quality as it is in the lap of the gods what is returned off the back of the source material. In addition to this, where the original album is so unerringly consistent and tangibly realised, you could say that benchmarks are set so high for the assembled producers to even attempt to match them, let alone surpass them. This isn’t a release where you’ll be plucking out one from the melee to slide into your sets, you’re going to be immersing yourself in each and every take.
First off, Aksel tightens up album closer ‘Dins El Lilt‘ into a sprawling twelve minute emotional epic, hitting upon the same sort of strains that his Pachanga Boys project with Rebolledo did on dance floor wrecker ‘Time‘. Following this, ‘The Ghosts Hood‘ is spun into a really fidgety workout by Samo DJ. Off-beat snares, a bass line that is not so much constructed from individual notes and more of a continual squirm, plus an acid arpeggio that continually pokes and prods you in every sensitive area as you futilely try to defend yourself with a measly two hands.
Luke Slater has recently revisited his L.B. Dub Corps alias with an excellent new album, and rolls that hot form straight into his version of ‘Brutal Chugga Chugga‘. The weird lo-fi meander of the original is thrown out the window and replaced with some straight up authentic good vibes house music. If you’re more used to Slater in Planetary Assault Systems form, then you’ll find the Balearic tint here an unforeseen surprise, with a remix that just about edges the competition as the cut of the release. No mean feat.
Finally, a digital bonus sees Powder tackle ‘Loser’s Hymn‘, arguably the original album’s highlight. Again we have another moment where the bass line writhes rather than being played, hi-hats that sound they are being received over a cheap FM radio and glacial washes replacing the big twinkling chords of the original. It is increasing levels of tension rather than feather light wonder. It also is far from being an also ran as you’ll be cursing the limitations of vinyl that this one doesn’t make the physical package. Although that that aptly demonstrates the strength of the quartet on show on an excellent compilation.
The Night Land Remixed is out now via R&S Records, order a copy from Bandcamp.
A1. Dins El Lilt (Superpitcher Remix)
B1. The Ghosts Hood (Samo DJ Remix)
B2. Brutal Chugga Chugga (L.B. Dub Corp Remix)
D. Loser’s Hymn (Powder Remix)