The One AM Radio: On the Shore of the Wide World
Level Plane

No one should be so naïve as to think that a remix project is undertaken for purely artistic reasons. Whoever conceived the idea of the seven-track EP On the Shore of the Wide World, for example, is clearly hoping the involvement of 'name' artists will not only generate sales but re-direct attention to The One Am Radio's (Hrishikesh Hirway) originating album A Name Writ in Water—which is not to suggest that the EP isn't without artistic merit because, in its best moments at least, it certainly is. Artists like Alias, Daedelus, and John Tejada twist the material into fresh configurations, though never to such an extreme that the feathery fragility of The One Am Radio's signature sound disappears.

Inhabiting the uppermost echelon is Alias's remix of “What You Gave Away.” Sweetened by an evocative oboe motif, Brendon Whitney enhances the song's romantic mystery by adding crushing beats to the original's deep strings and soft vocal utterances. Though diametrically opposite in style, Tejada's infectious dance treatment of “Witness” is as strong. He showers a minimal tech-house transformation with staccato guitar and vocal stabs (and even adds a subtle dose of acid) though the song's most appealing element remains the hypnotic hush of Hirway's mantra-like “There's nowhere that we would rather be.” Adopting a slightly less baroque approach than usual, Daedelus backs Hirway's becalmed vocal with brooding synths in an exotic treatment of “Under Thunder and Gale.” Credible too, Caural's heavy and hallucinatory approach to “I Didn't Speak the Language” might have been better christened ‘Dazed and Confused' than 'Almost Lost' (strangely enough, the song's opening four notes echo The Beatles' “Please, Please Me”) while “Fever Dream (Calling Out by the Wind-Up Bird)” offers a commanding soundscape outro. Only the 41-second “Drowsy Haze (Jane's Blocked Out Interlude)” seems hardly worth the effort.

To return to the original question, will the 26-minute EP persuade listeners to acquire A Name Writ in Water too? Certainly, placing a remix by Hirway himself at the EP's center is a strategic attempt to ensure he isn't completely overshadowed by his guests, and it doesn't hurt that the subtly chopped choir-boy voices, warm strings, and resonant acoustic bass lines in his “Buried Below” remix sound so good. On the other hand, after listening to Tejada's ravishing take on “Witness,” it would be perfectly understandable if a listener gravitated towards his section in the record bins rather than Hirway's.

August 2005