Gavin Russom - Night Sky

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  • No one could ever accuse Gavin Russom of creating conventional music. Showing a penchant for modular synthesis, he's spent most of his career making lengthy, wandering pieces which seem to be as much about testing their own abilities as impressing us with them. Take 2005's epic "Releveé," with Delia Gonzalez. As a beatless excursion, it unsurprisingly received little attention from DJs. Not until Carl Craig's mind-melting version was released the following year, that is. Since then, Russom has shown more interest in the dance floor, producing percussive tracks as Black Meteoric Star (amongst other projects), though still retaining the experimental, cosmic edge which seems so at odds with DFA's usual output. The unfortunate pitfall of experimentation is that it doesn't always produce results. In this case, the idea seems to have been along the lines of: "Imagine if Pink Floyd were still making music, and they'd fallen more in love with synthesisers." Well, probably not, but that's what it sounds like. The 13 minute cut has the same ingredients: psychedelic squiggles of synth, classic electric guitar and suitably ambiguous vocals, delivered by Russom himself. Surprisingly, he manages to make the whole thing work...almost. One of the problems is that he's not a great singer, although if there's a type of music his voice is suited to, it's this. The larger issue is how quickly the track loses sight of its objectives, whatever they may be. Despite Russom adding layer upon layer of raggedy percussion in the latter stages—cowbells, shakers—and the undeniable elegance of the synth work, it still feels self-indulgent; a premature jam session requiring more takes. The sole remix comes from Mutant Beat Dance, AKA Beau Wanzer and Traxx. Despite whatever flaws the original may have, it's upfront in presenting them. Conversely, the reclusive MBD remix sounds as if drifting down a hallway. Russom's vocals have been turned down to a mere echo, and his pliant hook transformed to limp-wristed noodling. These elements excised so thoroughly, the track's spine is now constructed of vintage snare hits and a faintly ominous bass patch. It feels as if the Chicago-based duo were afraid to make full use of the bold source material, and sadly the result feels rather nebulous.
  • Tracklist
      A Night Sky B Night Sky (Mutant Beat Dance Remix)