Mark Lanegan - Still Life With Roses

by Kevin Orton Rating:2 Release Date:2017-09-22

Mark Lanegan’s Gargoyle is one of the best albums I’ve heard thus far this year. In fact, I’m still listening to it months after its release. Just can’t get enough of it. That said, Still Life With Roses  (an EP of remixes from Gargoyle) strikes me as gilding the lily. It only serves to remind me why Gargoyle is such a strong offering.  At best, these remixes are a curiosity. At worst, an indulgence. For my money, they don’t really go anywhere or do anything for me. To these ears, they sound aimless and arbitrary. Ultimately as cliched and disposable as any of the generic dance Music that has been pumped out on the club dance floors since the 80’s.

Gargoyle’s blistering, ‘Nocturne’ is remixed as an over busy, diffused mess. ‘Blue Blue Sea’ is drowned head over heels in a wash of knob twiddling noise. We get not one but two nearly 10-minute remixes of ‘Beehive’. Both of which spin their wheels. ‘Death’s Head Tattoo’ is reduced to little more than an art noise tone poem.

If you’re the artist, I can understand how remixes of your work might be of interest. Same if you’re the producer or stoned out of your gourd on the dance floor. Otherwise, Still Life With Roses is little more than a lark. Personally, I find a lot of these mixes grating when not generic sounding. But to be fair, I have a pronounced aversion to “dance music”. It’s always been the musical equivalent of indigestion if you ask me.  At the very least, this EP brings the Smiths single, 'Panic" to mind. Mark, I love your stuff but time to “Burn down the disco. Hang the blessed DJ”.  

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