Remix projects are most exciting when they are unpredictable affairs, pitching together artists who in some senses overlap but differ even more. Lakker and Mark Fell both make the kind of electronic music which nods to the traditions not just of Juan Atkins but also of Steve Reich and the broader field of modern composers.
Fell has spent years away from dance-orientated music but his Sensate Focus project and collaborations such as those with DJ Sprinkles indicate a renewal of his interest in dance music forms. In making their recent ‘Tundra’ album, Lakker fully embraced the possibilities the long play format offers. The industrial menace of their previous twelves is counterbalanced by dynamic and harmonic variation.
In remixing, Fell disregards the melodies and flattens the structure, parts which were central to the dark, ‘Oktavist’ mood. With a minimal palette of sounds sourced from the original he builds a tough rhythm workout with sharp off-step rhythms, giving away exactly which parts sit well with Fell’s own aesthetic. There’s no consideration given to being DJ friendly. It’s an unforgiving shaping of syncopation and collision in which the elements tussle round each other in some kind of post-garage desolation.
I note that Fell seems to have made only a handful of remixes in nearly twenty years of music production. Considering how challenging some will find his work here, I suppose he can seem a brave commission. But if you like your beats surly and uncompromising, this one’s for you.
Released: September 2015
– Mike Curtis