Thursday, May 28, 2020
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Title: Opaque (+ re)
Format: CD
Label: Room40
Rated: *****
There's an interesting modus operandi behind this remix project by Swiss artist Steinbrüchel: his track "Opaque", composed in 2003 for the two-day music festival Taktlos in Bern, was submitted to five artists around the globe, each one chosen for his peculiar approach to sound. What is interesting is that all of them received different sound files, and none had listened to the original track in its full form. This can explain why the remixes vary even in radical ways, yet with recurring particles and atmospheres in a sort of deja vu feel. Steinbrüchel's original is a beautifully fragile piece made of microscopic clicks and melodic drones; a little masterpiece in its genre for sure. Both Ben Frost and Toshiya Tsunoda underline its darker characteristics, coming up with two hostile isolationist pieces. By adding jarring piano loops, Chris Abrahams (of The Necks fame) transforms the piece in a strange disjointed composition; I've had to listen to it a few times to stomach it, but I admit it's an interesting approach - putting some chaos in the maths laboratory. I admit I expected a bit more from Taylor Deupree, who emphasizes the melodic and rhythmic aspects of the track, and Oren Ambarchi, offering a very short track reminiscent of his "Insulation" times - that said, my partial disappointment only comes from my exorbitant expectations. The whole project is fresh and worth listening time and time again nonetheless: it's worth buying for the original track alone, and as a plus all the interpretations are inventive and well done.