Beat Pharmacy: Wikkid Times: Versions & Remixes
Wave Music

Stellar remix overhaul of Brendon Moeller's recent Beat Pharmacy opus Wikkid Times—and how could it be otherwise with the likes of Minilogue, Deadbeat, and Intrusion helping out? The “protest” lyrical dimension that guest vocalists Spaceape, Ras B., Damon Aaron, Coppa, and Paul St. Hilaire brought to the original's dub-techno grooves is still present, albeit refracted through the diverse approaches of the remixers.

Some of the treatments are clubbier than others, with producers like John Daly and XDB keeping their eyes squarely focused on the dance floor, and, as usual with such affairs, certain tracks stand out from the crowd. Making good on every one of its ten minutes, Minilogue's “Rooftops” version escalates gradually from an introductory percolating thrust to a storming dub-house throb that pretty much buries Coppa's vocal (“Make me need freedom for my mind / In these wicked times”) under its driving bass lines and heady dub atmosphere. Deadbeat (Scott Monteith) opens his magnificent “Ghostship” remix restrainedly, allowing the focus to remain squarely on Spaceape's vocal (“Deliverance and retribution / is the new constitution”), but then unleashes the track's tribal-dub broil at the two-minute mark (don't miss the beautiful break that hiccups thirty seconds later). Drenching Paul St Hilaire's vocal in an ocean of vaporous atmosphere, Stephen Hitchell works his customary Intrusion magic on the languorous “Sunshine”; Applebim & Komonazmuk, on the other hand, pair St Hilaire's voice with a furiously pulsating dubstep groove in “Nuclear Race.” Headhunter gives his “Strangers” remix a powerful yet understated dubstep thrust that doesn't get in the way of Spaceape's politically-charged lyrics (“Speak to me of language and violence / Speak to me of voices burdened with silence).

Elsewhere, Irish producer John Daly gives “Time” a clubby and soulful house makeover, “Backwards Never” becomes shuffling tech-house swing in XDB's (Metroloux Records owner Kosta Athanassiadis) hands, and Ramadanman (David Kennedy) gives “Piece of Mind” a funky skip that ends the album on a positive note. A few of the tracks, while decent, don't justify their ten-minute running times. Ras B.'s voice echoes through the clouds during Quantec's overlong dub-techno treatment of “Hope & Frustration,” while Marseille-based Teddy G. opts for more of a loose, jam-styled approach to his jazzy dub-funk handling of “Assassination of the Mind” (love that clavinet).

The eighty-minute remix set's complemented by an equally fine disc of instrumental dub “versions” of Wikkid Times' originals. Though the set can't help but feel secondary to both the original release and the remix collection, the “versions” album does shift the focus entirely to Moeller's production style, and that's no bad thing when tracks like the fulminating “Rooftops” and brooding “Nuclear Race” sound so good even when the vocals are stripped away. “Ghostship” lurches portentously, and a melodica's presence imbues the beatless “Time” with a lonely and desolate feel, but many of the “versions” are sunny in spirit (e.g., “Sunshine,” “Strangers,” “Hope and Frustration”). “Backwards Never” also impresses as a Deepspace-styled dub-scape that floats serenely through some distant galaxy. All things considered, not bad for a “bonus” disc.

August 2009