San Francisco artist Marc Smith, once of the duo Coalition of the Killing and now holding down the popular new duo Safeword, offers up a remix collection of his previous solo release for Marc Kate’s abstract leaning Untitled & After label. Along with the Lady Blacktronika release, “Hindsight”, presents the label at its dance floor friendly side with sweet, soulful vocals by Kevin Knapp. Although there isn’t enough of his voice spread throughout the mixes to leave listeners satisfied completely, it’s nice to see the label resurrecting an obvious winner and getting some great local artists involved on the remixes.
Former San Francisco resident Alland Byallo brings his newer Berlin influences to the remix package. The echoed hand claps and tambourines are always a winner and folks have been using them to great affect since at least the Sixties, a prime example of a classic move that works rather than another producer just following a long line of other dance music producers turning basic musical elements into thoughtless, mindless repetition on the dance floor ad nauseum. The melodies here are a tad proggy but that’s a debate best held in other magazines where folks care about such things as hair-splitting, either listeners will like it or they won’t. The standout moment is Byallo’s chopping, filtering, and layering of vocals with melodic elements, it’s a must-hear moment and yet another innovation in the genre’s relentless march forward in to the future.
Kendig is a Detroit artist who relocated to San Francisco and whose sound is influenced by both cities on his remix, a chilled out nu disco beauty. Despite the 2011 backlash against the genre, it has brought rich melodies and musical phrasing back in to the nightclubs, at least the good ones. The sweeping sub bass accents and Nordic disco melodies are too sweet to be ignored but a vocal-less dub for such a funky rework deserves, at the very least, a yellow card.
The world needs more remixes from Kenneth Scott, he’s a real musician and a student of electronic music who can be counted on for something original despite his low output as a producer. This remix could have used more vocals but at least includes them, albeit, sparingly. The wobbling melodies and dark, dubby bass line are compelling. The vocal manipulations are hypnotic and the smallest aural details are then painted around that element for a track that fills space with ambience rather than noise, a major break from the current paradigm that equates musical space with sound density, hence the tinny hiss always heard blaring from the car radio. The change here is so pronounced that the track is impossible to ignore even from a distance or at low volume. Smith remixes his own original giving it more of the goth-techno feel that has found its way through many of Untitled & After releases. The sound has drawn criticism from many artists, but as does any distinctive underground music strongly anchored in its influences. Polemic reaction is always the by-product of exploring the new old now. Knapp’s vocals are made spooky and spectral, which is pretty cool considering the original vocals. This must be the kind of music dying folks hear, bodies awash in buckets full of DMT, perhaps this remix is an answer to the age old proof of the Choir Invisible, If that is indeed the case, then humanity is not on the road to the ‘ol Pearly Gates. The consolation is that the afterlife is going to be one Hell of a party.
|Artist: Marc Smith
feat. Kevin Knapp
Label: Untitled & After
TracklistHindsight feat. Kevin Knapp (Alland Byallo Remix)Hindsight feat. Kevin Knapp (Kendig Remix)Hindsight feat. Kevin Knapp (Kenneth Scott Remix)Hindsight feat. Kevin Knapp (Marc Smith Remix)
Our Rating: 7.5/10