It doesn't seem like that long since I was reviewing Headman's Turning EP and noting that the Chicken Lips mix of 'It Rough' reserves a special place in my heart. It is therefore a pleasant surprise to now be faced with a brand new re-release of the track.
That Chicken Lips mix takes the lead, to the extent that the original mix doesn't even get a look in. It's as fresh and spartan as ever, a raw slab of bass and percussion, and whilst it felt incredibly of its time when released it feels remarkably current now, almost ten years on. It's the interplay of hard 808s and treble-heavy drum rolls that mean this track has lasted so well.
Two new versions from Headman then feature, the '2012 version' and the '2012 reprise'. Both of these use the same post-punk sound as a jumping off point but the inspirational reference points feel a little more rounded. There are more obvious no-wave tones here, along with a cosmic edge brought through in the heavy use of spectral analogue synths. The reprise comes from a similar place but with a cunning Moog bass line and some heavier drums. Whilst none of the additional mixes here feel as vital as that Chicken Lips one these updates feel like they really sum up a lot of what has happened musically since the original release.
The first new guest mix comes from Scott Fraser, who gives the track an acid overhaul to make it into a building peak-time electro workout. Finally Remain's mix is more analogue sounding, a soup of robotic machinery and sharp drum beats. Overall it's a smart package that revisits a track thoroughly deserving of it.
It Rough 2012 is out now on 12" through Relish with the digital release following on 18 January. Available to pre-order on MP3 from Amazon.co.uk [affiliate link].