- There's no doubt Matt Edwards is a productive guy. His output as Rekid, Radio Slave, and one half of Quiet Village Project, among other aliases, has been unstoppable of late; and his year-old Rekids label has churned out a constant stream of new releases, many of them excellent. His remix work has continued at a similarly breakneck pace; but a few tripped-out strokes of genius aside, this year has seen him turning the same trick a few too many times - the ''dark and long'' approach, stretching out the development of a track for as long as possible over pounding, foreboding drums.
Which means that many will, like me, approach his Misch Masch with mixed feelings - will its two CDs plod endlessly, like a tired, narky elephant on a long trek? Or will it, perhaps, verge off into more inspired, spacey territory, as on last year's superb Rekid album ‘Made in Menorca’? Maybe it was the outlandishness of his developments under that name that caused him to take the Radio Slave material, by contrast, further towards the realm of functional DJ tools - slow-building tracks that are handy in a mix but never really stand out on their own.
But what's interesting about the mixed first CD of Misch Masch is how he's made it work - not by leavening the weight of these long, dark remixes, but by taking the aesthetic behind them to its logical conclusion - the result being a minimal mix that comes in any colour as long as it's pitch black. There's a huge helping of RS remixes, rubbing shoulders with similarly malevolent creations such as the ghostly Ricardo Villalobos reworking of Shackleton's 'Blood on My Hands', and the dubby, gothic techno of Len Faki's 'Mekong Delta'.
Edwards also increases the hypnotic effect by working tracks out and back into the mix - so the opener (the aptly named 'Radio Slave for K' remix of Trentemoller's 'Moan' - probably his best remix to date, all disembodied vocals and disorienting, distorted beats) makes a repeat appearance an hour or so later; the Villalobos Shackleton remix is threaded in and out of three different records; and the vocal from Deetron's 'Life Soundtrack' adds extra menace to his own mix of Booka Shade's 'Darko'. It's all pretty compelling, and when the blissful string pads of Vince Watson's 'Renaissance' come in at the end, the feeling is like coming out into blinding sunshine after an epic journey underground.
The second (unmixed) CD of remixes is split fairly evenly between aimless thudathons (Cagedbaby's 'Hello There', Moby's 'New York New York', Jamelia's 'Beware of the Dog') and stuff that's actually pretty great. The mix of X-Press 2's 'Kill 100' is powerful, but still sounds limp next to the Carl Craig reworking of same; but his own take on Craig's 'Darkness' is twisted in just the right way. The 'Unreleased 14 Minute Mix' of 'Body Language' is cool in the way it breaks right down to a minute of just kick drum before starting up all over again; but the highlight here is the version of Pet Shop Boys' 'Minimal', which amplifies the lushness of the original and adds in some appropriately Villalobos-like dubby techno drums to excellent effect.
There's enough here to sustain excitement in Edwards' future output, and a little variation goes a long way with stuff as stripped-back as this; but let's just hope he doesn't spend the next twelve months ploughing the same long, dark furrow.
Mix - CD1
01 Trentemoller - Moan (Radio Slave Mix)
02 Mocky - Extended Vacation (Radio Slave Remix)
03 Rufuss - The Celebration
04 Roman Flugel - Mutter
05 Shackleton - Blood on my Hands (Villalobos Remix)
06 Shed - Well Done
07 Shackleton - Blood on my Hands (Villalobos Remix)
08 Soylent Green - La Forza del Destino (Radio Slave Remix)
09 Radio Slave - Screaming Hands (Screamapella)
10 Canvas - The Cat
11 Brifo - Mi Piano Rojo (Percu Mix)
12 Trentemoller - Moan (Radio Slave Mix)
13 Booka Shade - Darko (Radio Slave''s Unreleased Weekend Mix)
14 Deetron - Life Soundtrack (Radio Slave Remix)
15 Andomat 3000 & Jan - Entr''acte Music
16 Len Faki - Mekong Delta
17 Vivanco - Input Zero (Matt O''Brien Remix)
18 Radio Slave - Transistor Rhythm
19 Beat Galore Friction - Bubble Dancing (Radio Slave Remix)
20 Marcel Dettman - Quicksand
21 Vince Watson - Rendezvous
Remixed - CD2
01 Cagedbaby - Hello There
02 X-Press 2 - Kill 100
03 Carl Craig - Darkness
04 M.A.N.D.Y vs Booka Shade - Body Language (Unreleased 14 Minute Mix)
05 Moby - New New York
06 Jamelia - Beware of the Dog
07 Pet Shop Boys - Minimal