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Tundra Remixed (R&S)

Tundra was a surprise out of leftfield earlier this year, and it
still ranks as my favorite album of 2015 so far. Remix collections
are often unpredictable because the results often depend on the
chemistry between the remixers and the source material. Thankfully,
the roster herein is largely made up of hits rather than misses. The
most noteworthy qualities of Tundra, particularly in setting it apart
from past Lakker releases I’d heard, are its haunted, disembodied
vocals and its contrast of dynamics, moving from ethereal dreaminess
to rawer, visceral, more physical sound. The remixers often follow
Lakker’s lead there, but not always. Arad’s remix of “Ton’neru”
all but casts the original aside for what is a monster of a track,
sort of like Autechre’s EP7 put through a gabba filter, while Mark
Fell’s leading “Oktavist” remix puts the source material through
his own erratic beatmaking algorithms to its logical, jerky
conclusion. Spaces’ take on “Mountain Divide” casts off the
scintillating hook of the original but keeps all of its coarse edges,
cutting them apart and reorganizing them in frenetic fashion to good
effect, while Kyoka’s “Three Songs” rework is glitchy and
obscured, with only traces of the original’s vocal samples coming
through like a lingering ghost.

However, not all of these veer so far
off the dancefloor into more experimental territory. There’s about a
50/50 split of more accessible and/or DJ-friendly mixes, such as
Primitive World’s mid-tempo italo disco treatment of “Pylon,” or
a skittering breakbeat rework of “Milch” by Lahun which harks
back to 90s Warp and Rephlex braindance. While the pieces and parts
of this collection are very different from one another, as an
assortment they bring a whole new layer of interest to the Tundra
material. Despite its harrowing art direction (inverting the
snowblind original), it shows off not only Lakker’s originals ideas and content in new ways but also the varied talents and creativity of its contributors and
collaborators in vivid color.

Buy it: Boomkat | Bleep | iTunes | Amazon