Rod: All My Love
Underscan/Front End Synthetics

How to rise above the electronic rank and file? If you're Rod Morris, compose a tune as totally bewitching as “All My Love,” that's how, and then ask Front End Synthetics' Spectac (Paul Morrin) to contribute a splendid remix for an encore. Simply put, Morris's original is so divine it might have dropped from heaven. It opens in promising though hardly unusual manner—languid bass lines joined by the rattles and clicks of laid-back beats, with sparse Rhodes chords kissed by a nautical ping—but then a supplicating, Sigur Rós-like voice suddenly enters to give the song a soul-stirring punch, an impact subtly intensified by church organ tones. Even though structurally rather simple, it's an absolutely stunning composition that becomes ever more beautiful as it blissfully unfurls across its seven sublime minutes.

Though the other three offerings don't quite match that peak, they're strong too. Spectac gives the song a harder-edged, electro-noir makeover, with the crying voice pushed far into the background and stoked beats now rattling viperously and peppered by chopped voice fragments. Revisiting the lush ambiance of “All My Love,” Morris envelops laconically chugging hip-hop beats with sweet melodic sparkle on the soulfully dreamy “Kalico,” while “Nova Scotia” spreads its percolating groove across ten head-nodding minutes. Ultimately, though, while all four pieces are fine, the brightest jewel in this crown remains its seductive opener.

February 2005