Reviewed by Vils M. DiSanto (Incursion.org)
SLAG BOOM VAN LOON: So Soon
Planet Mu | ZIQ007CD | CD
VARIOUS: Versus Rather Interesting
Quatermass | QS104 | CD
Two compilation discs released this year, completely unrelated, though similar in outlook. A group of artists have been brought together on each disc to remix another artist's work. It's always a tough thing listening to interpretations of classic recordings you've known for years. Some remixers enjoy keeping the spirit of the original track present in their remix. Others enjoy creating tracks that wouldn't sound out of place on one of their own releases, and just add touches of the source material that are barely recognizable.
Slag Boom Van Loon was a project created by µ-ziq's Mike Paradinas and Speedy J's Jochem Paap a few years ago. They released a full-length disc, which has subsequently made itself scarce in availability. I have always enjoyed that collection of tracks they made together, and so I looked forward to hearing this collection of remixes. Contributors to So Soon include Boards Of Canada, Coil, Matmos, Pole and others (even µ-ziq himself contributes a remix here). Being unsure what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised by the contributions. Boards Of Canada start things off with an amazing number, their remix of "Poppy Seed" is a true gem. Pole's remix of "Casual" is so much a Pole track that without the introductory and closing melody, I would be hard-pressed to identify any other Slag Boom influence. Matmos contribute one of the finest tracks here, a very lively number called "Moon Base Alpha". A nice, plunging bass line serves as the core to the expertly edited proceedings over top. Coil contribute a ten-minute remix of "Fallen Angels Entering Pandemonium", which feels every bit as dramatic as the original. A good match for Coil remixing this number. Boards Of Canada make one more short appearance, closing the disc off with "Poppy Seed" in reprise form. It gives a nice sense of completion to the disc, as its pleasing chords reverberate softly into that good night.
The Versus Rather Interesting disc seems more a "tribute" disc than a remix disc. It seems to have been released to honour that wunderkind, Atom™ and all of his creations on his Rather Interesting label. Remixes here are performed by Plaid, Pole (once again), Fibla, Pram, Mash'ta and Atom™ himself. Tracks were picked from a small selection of Rather Interesting releases: Naturalist, Pentatonic Surprise, Fonosandwich, and Schnittstelle, among others. The remixes here by Atom™ are "light" remixes - by that I mean the original works have not been altered to a great degree. They retain the original sound for the most part, and add or remove a few things here and there. The outsider remixes stray further from the core, sometimes completely uprooting the original material. Plaid's track is one such case - it's a great track, but it's difficult to discern its origins from Dropshadow Disease. And as on Slag Boom Van Loon's remix disc, Pole's track here sounds so much like Pole. It's great that he's got his sound down pat, but it would be nice to hear him stray from the path now and again, and what better opportunity to do so than on a remix disc such as this? Fibla slows down Lisa Carbon's stylings on his closing number to great effect - the rhumba sound is quite pleasing at this pace.
While I didn't mean for this to become a "Versus Rather Interesting Versus Slag Boom Van Loon" type of review, the Slag Boom disc is a more enjoyable disc for the very reason that familiarity with the source material doesn't interfere with the pace of the disc. I think since Atom™'s contributions are so very close to his original works, I found myself not listening to the compilation as a completely new release - it feels like something between a best-of and a tribute disc. Both discs are recommended, but Slag Boom Van Loon's is my higher recommendation.
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