Been meaning to post this since it dropped earlier in the week, but December being what it is I'm only getting to it now. Anyway - a killer remix of the emotive closing track from Caribou's latest album Our Love from Carl Craig. The melodies are stripped back here creating an even more amplified disconnect - Dan Swain's vocals are all the more exposed against Craig's distorted, mechanical bass. So good.
Hell's last album Teufelswerk felt impenetrable purely due to its sheer length - it turns out that two discs of camp German techno is not necessarily always a good idea.
So the chance to focus on one track at a time is welcome, particularly when it features guest vocals from Bryan Ferry and boasts remixes from Carl Craig, Tim Goldsworthy and Simian Mobile Disco.
If you know any Hell then the original track sounds exactly as you would expect it to. It is Bryan Ferry, crooning at you through the lowered partition screen whilst you bomb it along the Autobahn in a black Limosouine at 3:30 in the morning. Ultimately it's functional but not a patch on Hell's fantastic 'Tragic Picture Show' on NY Muscle.
The remixes have a lot to live up to - RadioSlave's thirty-minute mix of 'The DJ', on which Hell was joined by a(nother) angry rant courtesy P Diddy about the fact that real DJs play it looooong ("15 minute versions!"), was clever if a little obvious but more importantly it was well executed.
Inevitably nothing here lives up to that, probably due to the source material more than anything. Carl Craig turns in two mixes, imaginatively entitled Mix One and Mix Two. The first adds a bit of synth but is a fairly functional version of the original, just re-tooled for dancefloors. Mix Two is more ambitious and strips back much of the original's production, eventually adding in a fairly serious bit of acid. Sadly when the full vocal is introduced it can't help but feel forced, and the music and vocal melodies clash. It is a shame the vocal was not applied more sparingly.
Simian Mobile Disco's mix amps up the paranoia, dousing Ferry in petrol and threatening to spit cigar butts at his head. The resulting horror show (think Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet) is much more consistent, with the vocal doing far less to constrain the track than Craig's first mix and fighting with it far less than his second. It eventually dissolves into hiss but sadly lacks the conviction to leave it that way, coming back in for the inevitably dull DJ outro.
Of all the mixes you would perhaps expect Goldsworthy to be the best positioned to handle this track, Goldsworthy having worked with Andrew Butler as Hercules & Love Affair, whose vocals share a certain pomp with Ferry. And Goldsworthy's mix is easily best - the most effortless, going with the vocal rather than against it but at its best on the percussive outro once it is abandoned.