Would it be a fair to say that modern electronic is predictable? That’s certainly not to say that there’s nothing interesting or exciting happening in the world of Electronic Dance Music (or EDM as is the popular term these days), but rather that its proprietors often seem intent on regurgitating everything that was once good about the genre. Maribou State’s latest project Portraits Remixed is a case in point.
Running on the success of June’s slick debut Portraits, the Hertfordshire duo have decided to, you guessed it, remix their own album. A veritable DJ’s dream, the production on the LP is crisp, and lends to some interesting experimentation, but the end result just seems a tad pointless, not to mention, more than a little repetitive. The silky smooth dub-step hit ‘Midas’ ft Holly Walker may indeed be Maribou State’s flagship single, but did it really require 4 different remixes?
The very same can be said of ‘Wallflower’, or the newly popular ‘Clown’ – tunes whose two-a-piece mixes only serve as elongated exercises in boredom. Considering the level of reprise on display, wouldn’t a fresh take on the upbeat ‘Home’ or the enigmatically understated ‘Say More’ ft Jono McCleery be a more welcome addition than several versions of same select tracks? Even that’s a tough argument to make though, as with the possible exception of the excellently rhythmic, fast-step Ben Pearce re-edit of ‘Midas’, Glen Astro’s intriguing, almost sci-fi sample of the same track, or the lo-fi FYI Chris remix of ‘Steal’, it is very difficult to say that any of the new versions are improvements on, or are even vaguely dissimilar to, the originals in question.
When you consider that the real beauty of Portraits lay with its creators’ use of recorded instruments rather than relying solely on technology, it’s actually quite tragic. What was originally a refreshing endeavour by the group has essentially been all but thrown out the window here. An unnecessary, uneventful, yet sadly inevitable recording.