Remixes are all too often contentious territory, but luckily the Innervisions family has given these well-loved tracks the respect they deserve, making for compelling listening.
What happens when the xx enlist Berlin-based house/techno label Innervisions to remix cuts from their Coexist record? You get a selection of tracks that tempers some of the mournful beauty that was Coexist with a whole new landscape of sound. Given the xx’s sound is rooted in melancholic, pregnant pauses of space that manage to unnerve and comfort all at the same time, it’s fascinating to hear the spaces close and a whole new range of meaning spring to life.
Innervisions labelmates and co-founders Dixon, Ame and Marcus Worgull, as well as the reigning dame of the underground, Maya Jane Coles, have undertaken remix duties here and each imparts their distinct flavour with ample respect for the original track.
‘Tides’ has its sorrowful string section brought the forefront by Dixon, who injects a crunching techno beat, and were it not for the occasional strains of the chorus it would leave the original behind almost completely. Meanwhile, Maya Jane Coles’ take on ‘Fiction’ seems more cohesive than Marcus Worgull’s attempt at the same track. Coles infuses her version with a steady warmth, the gently pulsating house beat working in luscious harmony with the vocals to the point it becomes easy to forget you aren’t listening to the original. Worgull’s version is clean, crisp and punchy, with plenty of sharp percussion elements, and the melody becomes staccato and robotic, stripping away any warmth that Coles had swaddled her version with – or indeed the aching sadness of the original.
However, it’s the remix of ‘Reunion’ by Ame that is the standout here. His take chooses to keep a heavier focus on the vocals – it swirls the original melodies up into a dizzying, well-layered house beat that will leave you breathless.
BY MARISSA DEMETRIOU
Innervisions Remixes out now through Young Turks.