ICARUS: Sylt Remixes (Rump Recordings)


Posted on Jul 9th 2009 12:52 am

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Icarus: Sylt Remixes

Sylt Remixes
Rump Recordings 2009
14 Tracks. 75mins38secs

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For the last decade or so, Icarus have continuously refined their sophisticated electronica, feeding it with layers of found sounds, prepared instruments, noise, complex rhythmic structures and electro-acoustic forms. Formed of Ollie Bown and Sam Britton, Icarus started in the mid nineties as a pretty conventional electronic act with a taste for minimal forms and beats infused with drum & bass, but progressively, the pair brought in less conformist sounds and developed a very different approach to their work, which reached full maturity for the first time with their 2004 album I Tweet The Birdy Electric, published on Leaf. Sylt, released in 2007 on Danish imprint Rump Recordings, was built around a series of live improvisations, which were later dismantled and reassembled into the seven tracks that made the album.

This remix album sees a wide array of artists, from Opiate to Isan, Svartag to Xela, Digitonal to Ital Tek, getting their hands on Sylt and once again pull its sounds apart to create something entirely new. Icarus themselves have taken part in the process by revisiting Keet, in this case renamed Keets, while Sam Britton, under his Isambard Khroustaliov guise, gets to rework Jyske and Rugkiks into one with bass clarinettist Lothar Ohlmeier. The scope of this record is equally as vast, ranging from tidy electronica (Isan, Ital Tek) to atmospheric guitars and noise (Svartbag, Xela) to thorough experimentation (Opiate, Karsten Pflum, CoH). This odd amalgam seems to strangely sum up at least part of the Icarus equation by invoking various aspects of the duo’s career, whether relating to Sylt or not, and articulate them into some fascinating configurations.

While both Isan and Ital Tek create rather pastoral and peaceful pieces by recycling the intricate patchwork of noise of Keet and the more abrasive textures of Selfautoparent respectively, Badun later on offers a more complex and sombre, yet at the same time more stripped down, reading of, once again, Keet (the piece is presented here in no less than six very different versions). Xela feeds on the early textures of the original mix of First Inf(E)Rænce to build a dense and moody version, adding out-of-focus vocals to accentuate on the gloomy tone of the piece, and GoTo80 transforms Second Inf(E)Rænce into a disjointed video game soundtrack where 8-bit cheesy melodies would be replaced with distortions and micro noises, while Lothar Ohlmeier and Isambard Khroustaliov improvise freely on Jyske Rugkiks. Earlier, Opiate’s version of Keet originally appears as little more than a skeleton of disjointed sounds, but in toward the end, these are bound by a somewhat chaotic beat.

These fourteen remixes are as many curveballs, giving the music of Icarus new angles and directions, or re-jigging the pair’s sonic world into something that, although occasionally close, appears totally distorted. Sylt Remixes is a consistently challenging record which opens up the already vast sound world of Icarus to entirely new textures.


Icon: arrow Icarus | Icarus (MySpace) | Rump Recordings
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Keets from not applicable on Vimeo.

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2 Responses to “ICARUS: Sylt Remixes (Rump Recordings)”

  1. […] on were Sam Britton and Ollie Brown, aka Icarus, celebrating the release of their excellent recent Sylt Remixes album with a set of entirely new material, with stunning visuals by Martin Hampton. On record, the […]

  2. […] for years now, and this latest offering, recorded during the pair’s European tour in support to Sylt Remixes, released last year, continues to develop this […]