Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Dead Horse

There has been a myriad of fantastic full length albums released in 2007 already; more so than any recent year I can think of in fact (seriously, I could make a top 50 list already). But if one thing has defined 2007 for me, it has been the string of great EPs that have been unleashed. Beirut, Deerhunter, Joanna Newsom, Animal Collective and Of Montreal have all dropped solid EPs already, none of which reek of cash-in or stop gap stink. And now you can add the Dead Horse remix EP to that list, in which the Junior Boys enlist an A-list of modern electronic artists to reconstruct songs from the fifth best album of 2006, So This is Goodbye.

Dead Horse kicks off with Hot Chip's overhaul of "In the Morning". The English electro-soul quintet blaze through the best song of 2006 with no shame, adding their own lyrics and that Warning patented micro-groove. As good as this song is though, it is amazingly still the most predictable and ordinary cut on the record. Up next is Tensnake's anthemic tech-house revamp of "FM". This stands as easily the most shockingly original vision of any song here. What was once a quiet, nearly ambient coda to a fantastic record, is now a throbbing electronic waveform, placing it amongst the best songs of the first half of the year. But most of the online buzz about this EP came from the advance leaks of Carl Craig's fantastic remix of "Like a Child", which moves from glistening house into a chopped-up vocal loop, escaping unscathed as it floats weightlessly for 10 plus minutes. And as if you could handle even more, dub-step maven Kode 9 lends a hand, reinventing "Double Shadow" as a lock-stepped dubbed-out creeper, retaining almost no signs of the source material. In fact, there are very few instances on the entire record where I can even hear original Junior Boys music. So keeping with that theme, ambient producer Marsen Jules closes out the EP with a formless, blissed out take on "FM", which sends the record off on a cloud of hypnotic beauty. You'd be hard pressed to hear a better remix record than Dead Horse this year, let alone a better EP. And oh yeah, it's 40 minutes (!) long. Who do these guys think they are, the Fiery Furnaces?


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