By M of Damned By Light. May 20th, 2011.
As this release is a remix-compilation, it won't reveal you a lot about the artist's actual work; to know more, read my previous reviews here.
This time around the noise-focused solo-project Hjorten from Sweden offered me a remix-compilation for a review. The EP-lenght record opens up with the "basic" track, which is to be remixed and manipulated on the following six tunes. The song, entitled "Ministry of Alteration," is a really hostile tune of sharp and somewhat clean distortion that gets digitally twisted and manipulated for over four minutes.
It's not a too spectacular tune and it doesn't have a lot of mass, but it does have a violent and ear-piercing sound and it doesn't restrict any specific ways of remixing it, which at least made me curious on how the track would be transformed in the hands of others.
The artist himself did two remixes of the track as well. The Speeded Remix is just a short bit that serves as the record's outro, and does it well with its quick twists. The Cut-Up Mix lasts for almost four minutes and doesn't really bring a lot of new to the original song; it just features a lot of breaks and has more rhythms, but its thin sound and lack of layers causes it to have little power.
It serves as a good build-up to Tarmskrap's (who's also known as IOK-1) Filthbeat Remix, though. This one remix employs a sleazy hip hop-beat on top of the now low-pitch noisiness that twitches forward irregularly. Loud and in-your-face, and overall pleasing.
Tarmskrap's other remix of the song employs rhythms as well, but in a more subtle manner, and does so while also giving the original noise-wave more harshness, mass and shredding edge. A few electronic effects are also used (but not overused, luckily) to spice up the track, and the end result is a twiching and pulsating mass of damage to your ears. I'd label Tarmskrap's remixes a success.
The remaining two artists are the ones who modified the original song the most. SSH Visor's take on it is a lot quieter and softer. It consists of really low beats and minimalistic, bubbly electronic drones with a twist of harshness provided by some electronic screeches. The ambient softness morphs really nicely between the lower and harsher drones, and I could've listened to this stylish piece for a longer while.
La Nausée's Remix relies on a looped burst of distorted noise which arises from and fades back to the background with a steady pace. This loop is topped with a thin and high-pitched frequency of electronic distortion waving in the background, and it gives the loop enough life and variation to keep it interesting for the four minutes. Well done.
The compilation has been put together with a surprisingly good sense of style. Despite featuring many artists, the compilation retains a logic and progresses naturally from one tune to another, and each tune is very distinctive from the ones around them. The track's placing amplifies their individual qualities as well; placing Hjorten's Cut-Up remix between the Tarmskrap-remixes makes it sound more distinctive and brings out a pleasing side in its thin sound and rhythms, while also making the Tarmskrap-remixes sound more powerful due to the contrast.
Visually speaking the mini-DVD-case doesn't really provide a lot of treats for the eyes, but it has all the necessary info and a suitable price tag. It's all stylish, but nothing too special.
I personally dislike the artist choosing such a thin and lifeless track for the artists to modify, but luckily they were all on par with the challenge. The compilation is not a too spectacular one, but the violent electronic distortion and the hostile rhythms should serve as a good ear- and mind-cleanser every now and then. Do note that "Ministry of Alteration" has a ridiculously low pressing amount, so if you want a copy of the release, you should get it now.
7- / 10