Sophie Rimheden: H2-Fi Remixes

In my otherwise positive review of Ms. Rimheden's Hi-Fi , I bemoaned the extreme manipulations to which her voice was subjected. Whether my receptivity to such treatments has increased since then or whether the tracks on H2-Fi—Hi-Fi Remixes are simply so strong that they counter any such resistance, those manipulations no longer seem so off-putting; it might also be that the greater abstraction of the remix environments makes the elastic mangling of her voice seem natural rather than alienating. In any case, with few exceptions H2-Fi—Hi-Fi Remixes sounds great.

One of the things that makes it so strong is the varying degrees to which Rimheden herself is featured. Pavan, for example, creates a lurching electro-funk base in “Panik Mix” but then shifts the primary focus to Rimheden's chopped voice. Similarly, Sam Miller's track introduces a veritable chorus of ululating Sophies before the tune kicks into a funk groove of snare thwacks and bleeding bass synths. Håkan Lidbo's electro-pop goosestep, on the other hand, generally relegates her singing to the background, while her faint vocal first appears four minutes after “Hundarna Från Söder Remix” begins with the song's emphasis much more on melancholy tones and burbling techno beats. Other highlights include Dwayne Sodahberk's marvelous “Flower” (which retains an affecting melancholy in spite of its voice splices and acoustic guitar flurries), Static's throbbing electro-techno makeover, and Rimheden's own euphorically stomping “In Your Mind Remix.” The collection only falters when Puss's electro-disco “Strange Puss Remix” turns so sweet you sense a toothache coming on but, in general, the album succeeds with its bold mix of synth-pop and experimental electronics. The most extraordinary piece, Son of Clay's wondrous “Snack Revier,” transports the listener to celestial spheres of sparkling chimes. It's that kind of imaginative reinvention which distinguishes the collection most of all and helps make it a Hi-Fi companion worth recommending.

January 2005