Cokiyu: Your Thorn Remixes

Above all else, Cokiyu's music is delicate, especially when her fragile voice operates as the central element within her electronic lullabies. So it hardly surprises that this companion collection of remix interpretations of her second album Your Thorn loses some of that quality, even if it gains in other areas. In contrast to the serenading character of the original album, the remix volume recasts Cokiyu's songs as multi-dimensional electronica settings and rhythm-based workouts. It's certainly a generous collection, with seventeen tracks (four “Your Thorn” versions are bonus tracks included with the digital release only) provided by an impressive crew of remixers that includes well-known figures such as The Remote Viewer, Opiate, Tokyo Bloodworm, and others.

Opiate opens the collection with an ultra-detailed electronica overhaul of “Round in Fog” that accompanies her softly cooing voice with breakbeats and the whirr and chatter of machinery. Wisely, Girl With The Gun (a new project of Populous) updates “Recall,” one of Your Thorn's most memorable songs, in such a way that the original's stirring melodies are left intact, even if they're liberally embellished with a fuller arrangement. In a particularly lustrous makeover, 1000 Names accompanies the delicate vocal melodies of “Your Thorn” with a percolating dance pulse in a way that initially sounds incongruous but eventually comes to seem perfectly natural, while the luscious “Round in Fog” treatment Dynamophone's A Lily contributes to the project is equally soothing and entrancing. Some treatments are so rambunctious, they seem leagues removed from Cokiyu's universe (aus's combustible “Gloomy Monday,” Vieo Abiungo's orchestral epic “Gloomy”) whereas others are in keeping with the understated tone of her own approach (Scissors and Sellotape's “Textured Clouds,” The Remote Viewer's “See The Sun,” Noah's “Your Thorn”), and a couple of contributors even make the surprising move of removing her vocals altogether (Scissors and Sellotape, Vieo Abiungo).

Certainly one of the strongest of the remixes is Shigeto's “Drag the Beast,” which becomes a wonderland of dream-like atmospherics and snappy dance rhythms. Bringing a meticulous editing hand to the overhaul, the Ghostly International producer reduces Cokiyu's vocal to breathy micro-snippets and underlays it with a syncopated flow of enticingly insistent house rhythms. Much quieter by comparison yet just as affecting is The Remote Viewer's stripped-down version of “See The Sun,” which shows that a subtler treatment can prove far more rewarding in the long run than an approach that's comparatively overblown.

January 2012