Battles - Dross Glop
- By Matthew Laidlow -
- Apr 16, 2012
Remix albums are suddenly all the rage. If they aren’t bundled with the main artist’s record as an additional extra, then they’ll usually be released just under a year later. Electronic artists have always had the luxury of bringing out a 12” single with a new reworking already attached.
In more recent times, indie bands have started branching out in a similar vein, with Radiohead at one point releasing a new 12” every week. But was this really a surprise for fans and anyone aware of the Oxford band? After all, their fourth LP ‘Kid A’ showed a new avenue in their overall sound as they flirted with experimental electronica in the title track ‘Kid A’ and the full on techno with ‘Idioteque.’
It might be unfair on Battles to say that they don’t fit the mould of a typical Warp Records artists. The label that has famously given us Squarepusher, Boards Of Canada and of course, Aphex Twin has since seen a change in its output. Maximo Park famously signed as Warps first guitar band and more experimentation was recruited in the form of Bibio who could easily take an ambient guitar piece and thrust it full of noise and chaos.
Just like electronic music, Battles have also been given the honour of being given a dubious genre tag. Supposedly, they’re “math rock” due to the rhythm structure in their guitar work. That literally makes no sense to anyone. The music Battles make just sounds brilliant and following their departure with vocalist Tyondai Braxton, their second album ‘Gloss Drop’ (can you see how they got the remix album title?) was one of 2011s best records.
Filled with often frantic and chaotic sounds, these were broken by more minimal and dare it be said to Battles more, conventional pop sounding songs such as ‘Sweetie & Shag’ featuring Kazu Makino from Blonde Redhead who brings a cold sounding vocal against the warmness of the track. If anything, ‘Dross Glop’ takes an already stable album and looks to beef up the sound chunkier beats and appeal it to a dance floor audience.
Distinctive sounding tracks such as ‘Ice Cream’ that has a driving and catchy rhythm throughout make way for a tribal beat and effect laden beat before slowly dragging back the songs original hook that doesn’t shy away greatly from the original. Swift and effective work from Gang Gang Dance. Not all of the remix’s even stretch a song further than its original length. The Alchemist chops the original length in half before adding a splattering of beats and samples.
People may label remix albums as a quick profit for the label, but for music lovers, it does showcase other producers and artists. Shabazz Palaces were completely unknown before this record arrived for review and it turned out to be the track with the most amount of care and attention on this album. The Seattle based hip-hop collective not only rework the music, but add their own style of vocal that could have seen it appear on the original record and used as a collaboration.
With other high profile producers such as Kode 9 and Hudson Mohawke, none fans of Battles can be assured that none of the original tracks have been butchered, but instead given an interesting and creative change of direction.
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