Fantastic source material, a stellar cast of artists on remix duty and a 53-minute run-time make In-between Remixes a release you can’t afford to miss.
Barring two excellent various artist compilation albums (check out Europe and Uncharted Places) Arovane & Hior Chronik’s debut collaboration In-between was the first vinyl album release on Ryan Griffin’s A Strangely Isolated Place. Often more reminiscent of Harold Budd than Arovane, it’s an album of shimmering, ethereal ambience of the challenging, esoteric kind that featured in many top releases of 2015. Following up that album as well as last year’s stellar ambient Theia from Markus Guentner comes the first of the label’s 2016 physical releases, In-between Remixes.
First up, Arovane scoops “After Tomorrow” up from its icy cloudscape, applies a dusting of sun-drenched shimmer from “A Day, November 2013” and then slowly pulls it back down to earth, giving it a pop-ambient makeover in the process. It features, in it’s latter movement, one of those truly breathtaking, sit still and listen sequences of the most dreamlike, pastoral ambience I’ve heard heard in years, creating a sister piece that’s every bit as—if not more—emotional and evocative as the original.
Fans that can’t get enough of Bvdub’s already prodigious library of work probably know by now that a Brock van Wey remix is always going to sound more like Bvdub than the original. No exceptions here as he plays with time-stretching, treated and looped vocal samples and almost acoustic sounding rhythm sections across a modest (by Bvdub standards) eight minutes to create yet another slice of uptempo pop ambient.
The first of two remixes by Rafael Anton Irisarri is served up under his Herr Irisarri alias, crushing the windswept, powder-covered glaciers of “Wunderland” under an elephantine, lurching dub monster. Then Porya Hatami reframes the amorphous, swirling mists of Aaron Martin’s cello-infused “Past Creates The Future” within a mysterious, watery and insect-filled oasis that gradually brings that cello into sharp focus.
The starry glow and nocturnal drones of the original “Scale” that stretched out into the depths of space wreathed in a haze of hiss and sigh sent a clear and repeated request for the right remix, and what better choice could there be than one by Markus Guentner? His beamed response is altogether darker yet never sinister, displaying his usual ability to create immersive, deep focus soundscapes on a grand scale, this time intensifying to an interference-blasted whiteout to close out the disc.
But it doesn’t end there. As if this twelve inch wasn’t crammed to bursting point already, there’s also a suitably epic digital bonus track that can be downloaded with every purchase. Rather than Bvdub turning in the super-extended opus, on In-between Remixes we’re instead treated to a second Irisarri remix, this time as The Sight Below, in a glorious nineteen minute treatment of “A Day, November 2013.”
This is a rare Sight Below treat that allows Irisarri’s looped, glowing guitar embers, insistent beat and metronome tick to evolve over a period that I only wish had been afforded so many favorite tracks on the seminal Glider. The croon of that guitar swoons and sways into focus until the track hits its spellbinding, three-minute outro that has it slur and vibrate itself into a pulsating, gelatinous soup.
And just because this is an EP—a remix EP at that—doesn’t mean A Strangely Isolated Place are going to let their quality control slide on the presentation front. It might be on the “ultra” side of minimal, but the usual tactile matte-laminated black sleeve is adorned with a full-size UV spot-varnished ASIP logo that looks stunning.
Fantastic source material from Arovane & Hior Chronik, a stellar cast of artists on remix duty and a 53-minute run-time (including the digital bonus track that accompanies the release) make In-between Remixes a release you can’t afford to miss, so don’t slack as it’s severely limited. Another triumph for A Strangely Isolated Place who’ve promised much more to come in 2016.
In-between Remixes is available on A Strangely Isolated Place.