Monday, June 25, 2007

DEXTRO: Hearts And Minds (Gronland Records)

Hearts And Minds
Gronland Records 2007
04 Tracks. 25mins07secs
Format: 12’

Buy it: 12"
Dextro | Gronland Records

Ewan Mackenzie’s first stab as a recording artist came in the shape of the confident Consequence Music, his debut album, originally released on his own 16K imprint, and recently snapped up by London-based Gronland Records. This accompanying EP features the original album track, plus remixes from Arkham, Alias and Clark.

The original version of Hearts And Mind is a haunting piece of beautiful melodic electronica which resonates with the melancholy typical of Boards Of Canada records, but Mackenzie develops a rather tight and personal combination of electronic and acoustic sounds, upon which a distant processed voice floats, which contributes greatly to the enthralling aspect of the piece.

Although retaining the vocal influx and some of the acoustic tones of the original, Arkham beefs up Dextro’s dreamy electronic by applying a more dance floor-friendly beat structure and electronics which are not without recalling Spooky circa Gargantuan. In the remixer’s hand, Hearts And Mind becomes here a heady piece of vintage electronic music. Anticon’s Alias takes an entirely different path with his version, adding vocals, acoustic guitar and glockenspiel. Over the course of its six and a half minutes, his remix builds up considerable momentum, rising from delicate pop to a dense, shoegazer-esque wall of electronics before returning to gentler grounds. Last but certainly not least is Warp’s maverick Clark, whose take on Mackenzie’s track is a thoroughly deconstructed version of the original, with added abrasive twist. There is very little left of Dextro’s exquisite soundscapes left here. Instead, Clark sends beats bouncing on harsh noise formation, providing an interesting counterpoint to the rest of the EP.

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