Tuesday, August 17, 2010

From Arcs To Embers - Bitcrush

From Arcs To Embers

n5MD Records.

SCQ Rating: 78%

Remix albums are rarely a popular type of release, typically stirring as much anticipation as your average London Philharmonic Orchestra Plays the Music Of… compilation. I suspect a number of grounds for disinterest from a listener’s perspective: (1) the compilation lacks an appealing flow due to so many hands in the jar, (2) it’s recycled material that borrows from an original you likely prefer, and all these qualms arise after you consider the inherent disconnect behind The Remix as an idea, (3) whereby an artist who didn’t write the song reorganizes it without the heart. Coming from the top tiers of n5MD, however, this remix project made clear straightaway that all presumptions were mute.

Earlier this year, I was forced to take a hard look at my tenets of remix-ignorance upon the release of Aarktica’s In Sea Remixes, which, dare I say, nearly trumps the original 2009 effort. Bitcrush (Mike Cadoo, previously of Gridlock and Dryft) takes this revisionist approach a few step further with From Arcs To Embers, a collection of remixes that span his six releases, from 2004’s Enarc up to this year’s Of Embers. And I shouldn’t be surprised how excellent it is; a thrilling elegy of pillowed glitches and sweeping electronic melodies, From Arcs To Embers brings the emotional crème of Bitcrush’s compositions to the ice-surface. No one with a pulse should be able to escape the delicate power of Near the Parenthesis’ remix of ‘The Days We Spent Within’, which unfurls with the majesty of a subdued Sigur Ros epic, nor should they underestimate Bersarin Quartett’s widescreen remix of ‘Post’ which opens the album. With a strong focus on drifting beats and still-life atmospherics, it’s architecturally smart to have some head-nod worthy percussion, courtesy of Worm Is Green and Funckarma, bolster the LP from getting sleepy. Throw some explosive charges into the mix, such as Jatun’s take on ‘Waiting For Something’ and port-royal’s glacial stretch on ‘Of Embers’, and here we have another remix record in 2010 that has positively stumped me. Acting as both a collaborative celebration between well-respected electronic musicians and a necessary reminder of Bitcrush's exciting output so far, From Arcs To Embers closes this early chapter of Mike Cadoo's discography with grace and heart.

1 comment:

Gordon Hackman said...

I agree with your overall take on the album. While I wouldn't have called them a favorite, I have enjoyed at least some of the other Bitcrush releases, so I downloaded this hoping to enjoy some of it but not having high expectations. I was immediately sucked in and blown away by the Bersarin Quartett remix that opens the album and the Worm is Green remix that follows. I've also come to really love the Winterlights remix of Every Sunday and of course the Near the Parenthesis remix is lovely. I've listened to the whole album through several times and find the whole thing to be overall worth listening to. This will be in my top releases of the year, most likely.