reviewed by Ben Hogwood
What’s the story?
The celebrated record label Heavenly, one of Britain’s most durable independent record labels, was built in part on the art of the remix. It is therefore only right they celebrate the craft with a quartet of compilations. The first two were released in late 2021, while the much-missed Andrew Weatherall who made their first remix, gets the third and fourth volumes all to himself early this year. This review covers the wide selection of music housed in the first two releases.
What’s the music like?
Hugely enjoyable. The great thing here is the planning on the part of the label, who have skilfully blended remixes old and new into a logical order without losing the sheer enjoyment of the process.
Among the many highlights is the now legendary Underworld remix of Saint Etienne’s Cool Kids of Death, with spacey pianos flitting in and out of the picture. This is in contrast to the blasts of distortion given to Jimi Goodwin’s Terracotta Warrior by Andy Votel. The Mother remix of Espiritu’s Los Americanos brings the funk, while a surprise Cherry Ghost cover of CeCe Peniston’s Finally has a meeting with The Cure’s Lullaby in an unexpected turn of events from the studio desk of Time and Space Machine.
The more recent material includes a windswept take on Unloved’s Why Not from Gwenno, while Raf Rundell struts out in the company of the synths of Harvey Sutherland, an excellent take on Monsterpiece. The spatial effects applied to Midlife’s Automatic from Jono Ma Ascend are also a treat for the headphone listener, and the loping beat of Confidence Man’s Out The Window, as managed by Greg Wilson & Ché Wilson, is brilliant.
The second volume has a similar old-new profile, which once again is brilliantly managed. The enjoyably gritty Monkey Mafia remix of Saint Etienne’s Filthy is very much of its time, with big beats and heavy bass, while The Orielles succumb to a great piano-led house treatment from Dicky Trisco & Pete Herbert on It Makes You Forget. The artfully restrained Mikey Young remix of Boy Azooga’s Face Behind Her Cigarette is nicely done, and leads into typical glittering excellence from Lindstrøm, as he takes Doves’ Jetstream to the cleaners. R. Seiliog’s swirling take on Gwenno’s Chwyldro is a compilation highlight, making a heady impression, while in a similar vein M. Craft’s Chemical Trails is wispy and rather lovely when passed through the studio of Beyond the Wizards Sleeve.
Does it all work?
Yes. A few of the remixes show their age but why shouldn’t they? It all adds to the appeal of a compilation that will leave its listeners more than a little misty-eyed, but will give the rush of familiar vocals in unfamiliar settings. The wide range of styles only makes the package more attractive.
Is it recommended?
Without hesitation. Anyone with a passing interest in dance or indie music will take a lot from listening to these two volumes, and some of the components will fill valuable gaps in many a collection. It is a genuine thrill to hear a remix album as good and as fun as this collection is.
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