Thursday, 31 May 2012

Warn Defever - "Remixes" (Time-Stereo)

This CD-R compiles 18 different remixes by Warn Defever, released some time in the late 90's during this brief period when indie artists were getting into "remixes", clearly an attempt to reclaim the creative dub-act from popular R&B artists, rappers, etc. This is a mixed bag and not really attributable to Defever, but where else do I file it? It ranges from really raw, amateurish pop/folk (courtest of Deonna & Laura who appear twice) and more abstract, dance rhythms. Warn's remix of Astor Piazolla's "Unauthorized" is the real centerpiece of the CD, turning the tango master into a slowed-down trip-hop meditation that barely resembles any tango I've ever heard. Thurston Moore's 'Roots' is likewise a hissy, hazy set of bumps and bruises. My taste for Defever is generally for his Harry Smith-influenced tracks, and the total powerpop - his more "urban" aesthetics often leave me feeling a bit uneasy, and the 90's electronica vibe that infuses much of this disc makes it less than enthralling for my ears. But when he's remixing his own projects, or projects he is close to (Control Panel, The ESP's, Flashpapr) it's at it's best - taking on the wax cylinder vibe that infuses the 100 Years disc recently reviewed here, it's an otherworldly midwest distance that I totally love. Not being familiar with any of the original tunes except for Run On's 'Don't Go' (except it was called 'Go There' when I first fell in love with it). Said track gets a warbly, dubby jam which is lackluster until the Alan Licht guitar slaying comes in, super-processed here into an insane computerised sludge - but just for a second! I'm not sure to what extent Warn is actually intervening -- Happy Apple's 'Sad Song' is a total classic country strum, with weird domestic noise overtop, sounding almost like he just played it through a boom box and then re-recorded it with room sounds. The effect, though, is mesmerising anyway, at least to these ears. I'm not wild about the needless electronic percussion in much of this, but then Godzuki takes on a power-pop/twee side I don't remember about them at all when I saw them in 1995. If I had an unlimited budget I'd probably buy everything on Time-Stereo, but this I just picked up when I saw Defever live at the show I mentioned in the last review. A vanity project, sure, but that's what CDr labels are for. I almost decided to toss this when I started listening to it, but the charming twee/Americana tracks are worthy enough to keep, and besides, what would I do with it?

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