Her Space Holiday
The Young Machines Remixed
Mush / Wichita
2004 / 2005
f Her Space Holiday, or any band for that matter, had released an album of undoctored songs as varied, melodic, emotional and experimental as this it’d be up for some sort of hyperbolic next best thing award. But while it’s easy to praise the release, it’s not as easy to lay this praise at the feet of Marc Bianchi’s one man band; after all it’s not the same album. The original release’s musical reach only stretched as far as the pleasant side of VU crossed with some pleasant folktronica stylings and the music here is a whole new kettle of fish.
The album’s instrumental beginning belongs to The Album Leaf, its delicious bell-ridden tinkling techno managing to sound wide-eyed with wonder. While some acts like SFA (with their stumbling vocoder pop) and Arab Strap (with disco drums and cheap fat synths with an appropriate piece of sung kinky darkness) are happy to do their ‘great, but nothing new’ remix thing others move beyond their normal remix remit. Rebuilding and layering with wobbly-wheeled acoustic guitar and violin, Matmos set out a bouncy home-grown mix with poptastic percussive triangle melodies. Their take on “Tech Romance” and its coiling strings isn’t as spare or fleshy as some of the duo’s better known work, but this blend of melody and experimentation bears the Matmos stamp of quality.
DNTEL’s extensive dalliances with Ben Gibbard comes out on “Japanese Gum”’s moving lyrics about abuse and damage and are given a respectfully appropriate backing. This subtle and warm Stereolab-styled swirling piece is analogue enough to carry both the lyrical weight alongside a poignant flute melody lines. It’s a shame, then, that when Stereolab themselves turn up to tinker with “Girl Problem” it comes out sounding like an Ice Hockey organ sample stuck on repeat in some hellish Emilio Estevez movie—with vocals heavily indebted to Mercury Rev. I don’t know if you can get refunds on remixes, but someone should be looking into it at Wichita.
Other standout mixes from Boom Bip (Selected Ambient Works 85-92 can be relived through “The Luxury of Loneliness”) and Blockhead (“Meet the Pressure” via Boo Radleys horns, Spanish vocals, and banjos at a Morris Dance) lift the songs out of their original musical cul-de-sac and create a varied consuming listen. Collections of remixes are awkward but enjoyable little buggers, and this is a fine example of a better one.