Autistici (Reworked): Resonating Wires

Some regard the remix album as a lazy move on the part of the artist—after all, how much effort can be involved in rounding up a crew of remixers and giving them carte blanche on existing tracks?—while others more charitably see it as an opportunity for previously issued material to be illuminated further when filtered through other producers' interpretive sensibilities. Regardless of one's personal stance on the issue, Resonating Wires remains a fascinating take on the genre. In this case, David Newman, aka Austistici and Audiobulb Records head, first created the track “Resonating Wire” by electronically manipulating a recording of an acoustic guitar's vibrating wire, and then supplementing it with xylophone, cello, double bass, and even the crumpled sounds of household objects, with the result included on the Complex Tone Test album released on Kesh. Resonating Wires advances the concept further by having an impressive cast of contributors—Simon Scott, Isan, Richard Chartier, Sawako, and Francisco López among them—re-interpret the original in strikingly bold manner; that each track is so dramatically unlike the original is signified by the fact that many of the interpretations have been newly titled (in place of the more predictable “Resonating Wire (Remix)”).

Newman sequenced the album so that each track flows into the next, making for a fifty-five-minute travelogue. Scott introduces the album with “Orexis,” a texture-heavy ambient-drone that emphasises atmosphere over melody, whereas chiming melodies and clip-hop beats are the focal points in Bluermutt's densely layered serenade “Telephone Lullaby.” True to form, López recasts the original in “Untitled #241” as an ever-mutating stream of tears, blips, rattles, rumbles, and—slowly surfacing near track's end—sinister string flourishes—a feast for the ears that sounds as if it was recorded in both a NASA control room and at the center of an ant colony. Also memorable are the orchestral-ambient treatment by Ian Hawgood and Danny Norbury, whose ruminative sparkle is elevated by lovely string passages, and Isan's slow-motion meditation “Isan Ice Later,” which emphasizes strings, percussive accents, and electronics. In addition, Sawako bewitches the listener with a twinkly vocal-enhanced treatment (“Tide Ride”), and Jimmy Behan contributes a ponderous electroacoustic dirge with cello, clarinet, fuzzy electronics, and double bass the prominent front-line. All told, the artists take full advantage of the possibilities offered by Newman's original, and, as a remix project, Resonating Wires is about as diverse an outcome as one could hope for.

September 2010