Ceremony: Extended Play
Whether by accident or design, Soundpool and Ceremony often move in mysteriously unitary ways. Just as the two outfits issued concurrent albums in 2010 (Mirrors In Your Eyes for Soundpool, Rocket Fire for Ceremony) so too are both unleashing remix EPs upon their ever-grateful publics (Killer Pimp will sell 500 only copies in both cases). One almost expects to find remixers common to both releases but on that count the EPs part company (Soundpool's release also has six tracks to Ceremony's four, and the former's thirty-four-minute total offers more music than the latter's twenty).
On Re-Mirrored, Syntaks, Strategy, GTO, Screen Vinyl Image, Colder, and Lawrence Chandler (of Bowery Electric fame) climb aboard to twist six Soundpool (vocalist Kim Field, guitarist John Ceparano, keyboardist Mark Robinson, bassist Sanford Santacroce, and drummer James Renard) songs into new formation. If there's a downside to such a project, it's that the identity of the band gets muddled in the process, with Soundpool recast as a synth-pop band, other times shoegaze, and even a psychedelic indie-rock troupe; at the same time, there are compensating pleasures in hearing the band's music refracted through the remixers' prisms. Syntaks' “Shelter” serves up five minutes of shoegaze splendour that sounds like My Bloody Valentine, Ride, Slowdive, and Cocteau Twins rolled into one. Strategy (Paul Dickow) turns “Mirrors In Your Eyes” into a mouth-watering concoction of gurgling electro-pop guaranteed to get the bodies moving, despite a mid-song breakdown that's more noise exercise than dancefloor filler. Like some mutant psychedelic spawn, Field's bright voice chirps above a whirlpool of blinding synth swirls and funky beats in GTO's roaring makeover of “Sparkle in the Dark.” In addition, Screen Vinyl Image's “Listen” opts for bold electro-shoegaze gymnastics, Colder's stripped-down “But It's So” goes the jagged punk-funk route, and in the EP's most radical change-up, Chandler presents “I'm So Tired” as a cosmic drone.
Ceremony (Paul Baker and John Fedowitz, who both sing, play guitars and drum machines, and conjure a veritable cyclone in doing so) hand the reins over to Justin K Broadrick (Jesu, Godflesh, Techno Animal, Pale Sketcher), GD Luxxe, Monster Movie, and Jessica Bailiff—a diverse crew if ever there was one—for the meltdowns gracing Extended Play. Broadrick's “It's Too Late” sprinkles its grungy no-wave and pounding drumbeat with neon-lit synthesizers, the lacerating mix so molasses thick the vocals barely rise above it (business as usual, in otherwords, as far as Ceremony's own music is concerned), after which GD Luxxe takes “Someday” on a blissed-out, synth-pop joyride. In Monster Movie's hands, “Stars Fall” becomes an anthemic romantic ballad, and, last but certainly not least, the too-seldom-heard Jessica Bailiff roughens up “Never Make You Cry” with grime and soot while leaving enough room for her vocals to offset the noise. If anything, the guests tone down Ceremoney's trademark blitzkrieg roar for a decibel level that, if not quite serenading, is still less eardrum-shattering than the group's norm.