- Ewan Pearson has his hands in so many pots that just a brief glimpse of his work over the last decade would probably exhaust my word limit. Whether the Berlin-based Englishman's behind the boards for artists like The Rapture, Tracey Thorn and New Order acolytes Delphic or rehashing pop artists like Cortney Tidwell or Goldfrapp—an excellent two-disc collection of his remixes was amassed by !K7 in 2007—Pearson seems almost omnipresent, namechecked in news briefs and PR sends for new projects right around the bend. That's, of course, without taking into account the man's work in Partial Arts or his DJ gigs, which has led to two commercial mixes: the electro-house snapshot of the inaugural Sci.Fi.Hi.Fi for Soma and the pop-techno mashes of Fabric 35.
But for his third market mix, We Are Proud of Our Choices, Pearson finds perhaps the perfect home for his tastes in Kompakt and warm, buoyant dance tracks that rarely extend far from their pop framework. Drawn to the label by classics like Michael Mayer's Immer, DJ Koze's All People Is My Friends, and Superpitcher's Today, Pearson was very conscious of making a "Kompakt mix," all trademarks included. The result is one of the brightest, more effervescent commercial mixes of the last few years, and a natural link to the label's past successes. Setting its sights on evening mood-setter more than late-night burn, Choices slowly bends from pulsating tech-house to electro and downtempo indie without shedding its twilight stroll pace.
Warming up with the stretch-and-yawn paces of Gold Panda's remix of Lemonade's "Bliss Out" and A Ldric's "Birds On," Pearson establishes Choices tone, if not its predominant pace, early on. Tracks like Lusine's "Cirrus" and Wah-Chuk-Ku's "T Times Too" are in full recline, lending a spaciousness and slow growth before Taron-Trekka's "Shiroi" and "Equilibrium" by Hot Natured begin to steam and bubble with their warped vocals and eerie bass pounce. As the cut accelerates, Pearson reaches arguably the mix's first minor peak with the jagged pianos and clipped shouts of Yosa's "Margaret." But the transition is subtle and uncontrived, a natural evolution, before the Petar Dundov take on Gregor Tresher's "The Life Wire"—a staple of Pearson's sets last year—retreats a bit with its warbling sci-fi grind.
Despite the coziness beneath even its headiest moments, Choices submerges in a few deep diversions in the near-growl and acid scorch between Xenia Beliayeva's "Analog Effekt" and the gravelly hop of Ink & Needle's remix of Chris Fortier's "Sunday Is a Travel Day." For the most part though, Pearson follows Kompakt's tradition of prioritizing emotive melodies over provocation and forward push, an effect exemplified by his refined and seamless mixing. Winding down with the bumpy chimes of John Talabot's Wilderness remix of Al Usher's "Silverhum" and two indie-pop cuts that remind of Pearson's remix work—his edit of Little Dragon's "Fortune" and Bot'Ox's "Blue Steel," a gorgeous closer which sounds like Nathan Fake producing a radio-pop song—Choices is slow to release you from its warm-bed grip. Though Pearson's likely to be criticized for his lack of risks and the mix's sonic uniformity, We are Proud of Our Choices is exactly what he set out to make: the next good Kompakt mix. If it's not another Immer, well, shit, you may have been asking too much.
01. Lemonade - Bliss Out (Gold Panda Remix) / Pitch And Hold - We Have Come To Bless Dave Smith
02. A Ldric - Birds On Tree
03. Rmnvn - Uno
04. Lusine - Cirrus
05. Wah Chu Ku - T Times Too
06. Yukihiro Fukotomi / Foog - Open Our Eyes
07. Neville Watson - Full Flight
08. Taron-Trekka - Shiroi
09. Hot Natured - Equilibrium
10. DXR - Faderpushing Sunday
11. Yosa - Margaret
12. Gregor Tresher - The Life Wire (Petar Dundov Variation)
13. Xenia Beliayeva - Analog Effekt
14. Chris Fortier - Sunday Is A Travel Day (Ink & Needle's Skybed Remix)
15. Al Usher - Silverhum (John Talabot's Wilderness Remix)
16. B.D.I. - City & Industry (World Balloon Dub Mix)
17. Little Dragon - Fortune (World Of Apples' Cosmic Edit)
18. Bot'ox - Blue Steel