Baptiste & Pierre Colleu: Dolphin Kid Remixes
Nuearth Kitchen

Nuearth Kitchen takes a bit of a left turn from its customary experimental alt-house style for a remix-oriented release firmly rooted in some heady Balearic-Afrobeat-Krautrock combination. It's a bit of an unusual release in that though its forty-eight-minute running time makes it seem like a full-length it's actually a double EP set, with six tracks spread across four twelve-inch vinyl sides. The collection includes the original track by the brothers Baptiste and Pierre Colleu and follows it with versions by UK duo Coyote, L.I.E.S. recording artist Willie Burns, Seattle-based producer Jon McMillion, and Black Merlin, the latter of whom gets the second twelve-inch all to himself.

The Colleus come by the original's Afrobeat quality honestly, by the way, as they spent a chunk of their childhood in Africa, though they're now based in Paris. But too much shouldn't be made of that detail when “Dolphin Kid” concentrates on a Balearic cosmic-house vibe more than anything. Their five-minute treatment swings breezily, animated as it is by funkily syncopated synth patterns, earthy percussion accents, and a strange kind of nocturnal eerieness derived from a faint, owl-like cry.

The five remixes, all of them longer than the original, add to it in different ways. Coyote's “Intense Mix” adds a funky snap to the groove by threading in hand drums and beefing up the trippy synth atmospheres, after which Burns arrests the track's momentum for a ponderous take that resets the motorik propulsion of the original to an ethereal, slow-motion pulse. McMillion's aptly christened “Sea World Mix” feels at first as if it's having to power its way through a dense mass of flotsam and jetsam, though the struggle doesn't prove to be so consuming that the original's robust groove gets lost in the process.

The Black Merlin remixes take “Dolphin Kid” to its most extreme places, with the first of the two, the “Romance in the Dark Mix,” presenting a harrowing array of horror soundtrack atmospherics. Horn-like blasts, echo-laden dungeon noises, and eerie synth treatments help turn the version into an unsettling helping of the macabre. But it's the set-closer, the almost thirteen-minute “Peyote Mix,” that's the major draw, as Black Merlin pulls out all the stops to create a festering, doom-laden ambiance. Strap yourself in for a ride whose itinerary includes a diseased tour through a ghoul-infested graveyard and generous doses of acid-soaked synths, hard-wired sequencer patterns, and a punchy disco-fied groove.

April 2014