Posted on May 27th 2010 01:21 am
Adaptogen Remixes 1
Geo Records 2010
03 Tracks. 13mins46secs
Agaptogen Remixes 2
Geo Records 2010
03 Tracks. 21mins22secs
Gagarin’s Graham Dowdall is a man who has turned ‘having fingers in many pies’ into an art form. From early stints as member of Manchester’s Ludus in the early eighties and collaborator with legendary sixties muse Nico to more recent involvements with Pere Ubu and his most recent incarnation, as one third of electro-pop combo Raf & O, he has been part of many movements and instrumental to many artists and acts. With Gagarin, it is electronica in rugged atmospheric forms that Dowball has been investigating over the course of four albums and numerous EPs released on his own Geo imprint since 1996.
Following the release of Adaptogen last year come these two EPs of remixes, with contributions from Youth, Robert Logan, Mark ‘Rothko’ Beazley, Moyza, Hybernation and Gagarin himself. Expectedly with such an eclectic selection of remixers, these two sets are widely varied, ranging from the harsh urban landscape of Robert Logan’s reworking of Den Bosch to the much more nuanced and gentle guitar-infused take on Straiff by Rothko or the anthemic mastodon of Youth’s remix of Gavvers.
The first of the two volumes opens with Robert Logan’s edgy and menacing London Suburbs remix of Den Bosch which, in its original form, already packed a few heavy urban punches. Logan takes Gagarin’s ravey dubstep into much more angular post-industrial terrains, first by greatly emphasising the metallic nature of the percussions and expanding on the spatial aura of the piece, then by twisting the lot until virtually nothing of the original remains. The piece is further re-engineered by Gagarin, who accentuates the urban slant again by propelling dark rumbling bass cuts to the front of the mix. These are very much in contrast to the third interpretation of the piece, which comes courtesy of Moyza on Adaptogen Remixes 2. There is here, still, a slight urban feel to the piece, but the mood is more laidback, the omnipresent sub-bass and complex drum patterns hinting heavily at dope-induced dub forms.
In its original format, Gavvers, which was originally released as a 7” single ahead of the album, was a brooding peace of atmospheric electronica. In the hands of legendary producer and Orb collaborator Youth, it becomes an epic trance-inducing monster with every credentials to make it big on the most exclusive dance floors in Ibiza this summer. By contrast, Hybernation sticks to Gagarin’s peaceful atmospheric tones for his version of Stipa, but he injects an interesting rhythmic component by processing the sound of a photocopier, while Mark Beazley re-invents Straiff as a wonderfully airy and somewhat moody guitar-infused piece.
These two EPs, released within months of each other, are worthy companions to Gagarin’s last album and offer some interesting interpretations of his sonic universe. While his albums have become sharper and heavier in sound, these remixes extend his appeal yet again.
Adaptogen Remixes 1: 4.4/5 Adaptogen Remixes 2: 4.5/5