Caribou - Swim Remixes

by Priscilla Eyles Rating:6 Release Date:2010-10-26

Remixes, like covers, are tricky things, especially when the original production is so good. You can often be left just wanting to listen to the original instead of a version of the song which waters down the song's potency. Swim being such a perfectly produced album, the remixers have the unenviable task of producing something that is distinctly them whilst capturing what was so good about the songs originally. Mostly this album makes me just want to listen to the original but there are a few remixes that make the album worth listening to.

Many of the remixes fall into the category of creating something more dancefloor-friendly, and slightly more commercial, and often a bit less interesting. The Junior Boys Mix of 'Odessa' which opens the album is a good example with its funky bassline, pounding beat and synthy production. It is nonetheless very listenable and grows on you with each listen, the soulful synth-lead outro is a particular highlight. Whilst David Wrench's Drumapellla remix of 'Odessa' cuts out the vocals and reduces the track to something purely percussive, with drums drenched in delay and reverb. Unfortunately, it quickly sounds like an intro that's gone on too long, and is bit of an anti-climax.

Meanwhile the Motor City Drum Ensemble remix of 'Leave House' strips the track of its complex layers and emphasises the carnival-like percussive elements, then slowly builds adding some of the wind instrumentation. But it soon gets a bit monotonous. Ikonika's remix of 'Leave House' is more interesting giving the track a more reggaeton feel with its martial-like synth drums and deep reverberating basslines, guaranteed to get the crowd going at Notting Hill Carnival.

Then there are the remixes which are much more ambient and minimal like James Holden's Four Tet-like remix of 'Bowls' which emphasises the song's mystical and hypnotic qualities; looping the same synth sample over and over and building in intensity , like Junior Boys' remix it definitely grows on you. Patten's remix of 'Sun' gives the song a post-dubby Mount Kimbie feel, using a lazy sliding bass line, stop-start synth lines and added vocals which, while still sounding not as good as the original, sounds distinctive. The Walls remix of 'Kaili' is arguably the most successful of the ambient-style remixes, enveloping you in a wash of layered echoey vocals over an insistent bass drum and simple but effective bass line.

Remixes that really stood out were Altrice's 'Sun' remix, Altrice being an unsigned Tuscon-based producer who won the 'Sun' remix competition (on the strength of this remix, I'd say he won't stay unsigned for much longer). His remix gives the song a more sinister claustrophobic feel akin to something by Burial, and features a breakbeat-like rhythm and brooding synthesised brass. Meanwhile, Gold Panda's remix of 'Jamelia' add his trademark Atari samples, a rumbling timpani, a lone violin, synthesised handclaps and backwards looping to create something complex and mesmerising. DJ Koze's Alarmclock remix of 'Jamelia' is also compelling as well as being a dance-floor filler, adding a funky sampled distorted guitar line and an eclectic variety of percussive sounds.

It's a mixed bag then, but at the very least it gives you a deeper appreciation of the original songs.

Listen here:

Swim Remixes by Caribouband

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