Tuesday, June 2, 2020
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cover
Artist: Delicate Noise (@)
Title: Filmezza Remixes
Format: CD EP
Label: LENS Records (@)
Distributor: LENS Records
Rated: *****
A while back I did a review of Delicate Noise's 2009 'Filmezza' album. At the time, I seemed to like the packaging better than the musical content. For me, it was a mixed bag; it took a very Boards of Canada approach without adding anything new. Also, there were just too many children's' voice in the mix for me. I like good ambient music (even the beat-propelled kind, which this often is, when it has something different to offer, but I didn't get that from the first 'Filmezza' album. The 'Filmezza Remixes' sounds like a whole different animal. First, it takes only six tracks from the seventeen track 'Filmezza' album - 'Butterfly Envy,' 'Pheromone,' 'Pheromones' (2 versions), 'Lush and Coated with Words and Birds,' 'Beware of Digital Children,' and 'Astronaut in Training," and they all sound considerably different. This seems to have been a smart move. At 38 ½ minutes, it's a somewhere between an EP and full album, maybe a Maxi-EP would be the best way of describing it.

The 'Butterfly Envy' remix is done by France's Jauzas the Shining. He adds some welcome bass and better synth sounds than the original, processes the children's voices so they don't sound like kids, replaces the original percussion with something far better (no hokey handclaps), darkens it up a bit and gives it a Kraftwerkian feel. Way cool! It sounds so much better this way. The first 'Pheromones' remix is done by Knowing Looks from Canada. The original is a bit of a diverse mess with sampled voices (yes, including those obnoxious children) that's pretty light until the heavy synth bass comes in. In the remix, the percussion is a bit more steady, and the synths minimal, mostly atmos with accents. It's sparse with a slightly dark tone throughout. Sounds nothing like the original, which is a good thing. 'Pheromone' which follows is remixed by Sunao Inami (Japan, where else would you expect?). He fixes up the percussion so it sounds less pattern-oriented, removes the sampled voices, adds some low ambient undercurrent and makes it sound more dreamlike.

The second 'Pheromones' remix is done by Document One of Iceland. Vocal samples are still there but pushed in the background with reverb. He only brings in percussion midway though the track, and then it's a crunchy trip hop beat. The remix is clean where the original was a mess with that synth-bass overriding a cacophony of sounds. In this remix the bass is subdued and enhances the ambience rather than competes with it. Its more minimal, but it works just fine. Heinrich Dressel (Italy) takes 'Lush and Coated with Words' and adds a pulsing synth bass (in place of the percussion) to the repetitive five-chord progression of the original, while embellishing somewhat on the synth melody and adding another synth sequence to go along with the bass. He also eliminates the vocals. Maybe this song wasn't the best choice for a remix; there is only so much you can do with those five repetitive chords.

10-20 (UK) tackles the remix for 'Beware of Digital Children,' the track I liked least on the original Filmezza album due to sampled children's voices. If it wasn't for them, the track would have been pretty good, but it ruined it for me. 10-20 replaces the draggy percussion of the original with something far more interesting. The kids voices are pushed so far back in the mix, you'd swear they were blocks away. I can handle that. Other than that, it's fairly minimal. On the original album, 'Astronaut in Training' is only a minute and a half of ambience with sampled NASA-type scratchy communication dialogue over it. Tension Co.'s (Spain) remix manages to stretch it to an incredible 7:38, the longest track on the CD. It's now a very cool piece of beatless spacey ambience and no 'ground control to Major Tom' samples.

Overall, I found the 'Filmezza Remixes' to be a much more enjoyable and listenable experience than the 'Filmezza' album. Sometimes, less is more, in both time and treatment. This is the way I like my ambient music. Kudos to the remixers!

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