Tuesday, September 25, 2012

United Sons of Toil- Forces of Production

I'm a big fan of USOT, but not a big fan of remixes. Truthfully, I fully respect the notion of remix culture, and I understand the cultural forces at work, but I usually just don't care for the results. Even the most expert remixes end up sounding basically like gimmicks to me. Yes, that goes for the Bloody Beetrroots re-imagining of the Refused's "New Noise" that were performed with Dennis. So, much like that, this is a kind of collaboration, as well, in that USOT put the word out "Remix us and we'll assemble it into a release", and that removes one element that I don't like about remixes- that they become a method of putting one kind of Art into another type- sort of replacing the author with another. Also, I'm not hearing another of my pet peeves about remixes- either the out-and-out insertion of a synth that was not part of the original, or manipulating the sound so far that it is the same as if a new synth like was introduced. So, there are some serious counter-arguments to calling this a "remix album". Also, another pitfall is avoided- these songs sound playable. Don't get me wrong- I can get behind fully synthetic songs, and samples ala the Beastie Boys, but ultimately I like music that sounds like humans played it- and this still sounds like humans played it. Some of the vocals, maybe not, but the music sounds like it may be difficult, and might need some augmentation, but could be played by a live band. That's a huge plus for me.
Ultimately, it reminds me of dubs, more than remixes, if that makes any sense.
So, should you get it? That's up to you, of course. I'm not trying to tell you to sell or prevent the sale of records, here- I will say that it appeals to a slightly different aesthetic than most USOT records- you know how Broadrick went all kinds of strange in the mid to late 1990's? Ice, The Sidewinder, Youpho, Krackhead, Techno Animal, Love and Hate in Dub, Us and Them? All that stuff? If you got into that, like I did, I cannot see how you will fail to enjoy this. However, if I'm speaking a foreign language to you, right now, let me explain- this isn't exactly dance remixes. This more like ambient music- you crank it up, and you live with it around you. It makes for a great soundtrack to whatever it is that you're doing at the time. Me? I say you plot a revolution with this as the backdrop, but your results may vary on that.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Max. You touched on several key points that we considered when putting this project together. First, our instructions to contributors was that no additional sounds could be used. The provided stems could chopped up or mangled in any and all way possible, but only those orignal audio files could be used as a starting point. Second, you are correct in that this is more of dub record than remix record. I, for one, have been massively into all kinds of dub, both roots and electronic varieties for nearly 10 years... Third, your mention of Justin Broadrick is well-placed. Godflesh's Love and Hate in Dub was a huge inspiration for this project. Anyhow, thanks for the kind words and insightful review.

    United Sons of Toil