Though I have now spent a decent amount of time with this brief collection of OPN remixes, I am yet to slip out of a habit of referring to it as “Mad Dog in the Fog,” and much of the time that I am not thinking directly about it I suspect that I believe, someplace in my mind, that it is, in fact, called that. But, sadly, this dog is not mad and enshrouded in fog, but merely the latter; these recordings have not been given a title that would tie them to a pub in the Lower Haight, where it is very pleasant to watch a soccer match and sip an ale. But part of the music here, the best of it, is the bluff of hallucination, the generating of an appearance of something solid to take hold of with your hearing where there is no body, no real shape, no order outside of sound strung together in time.
At least that is the case with the most exciting piece of music on offer here, Matmos’ remix of “Replica,” which cuts apart and re-splices the original, along with vocals and viola parts added, at the request of Daniel Lopatin, by Limpe Fuchs, a veteran of strange and formless music building whose work in the sixties in Germany with her husband, Paul, as Anima Musica is said to have been a formative influence on the “Krautrock” to come. The result is an array of starts and stops, off-kilter and yet made such that every sound, in its metric and unpatterned repetitions, may give rise to both rhythm and melody at once. The original had a narrative push without even taking on words, and here that is torn apart, and the most exhilarating part of the mix, Matmos’ staccato stitching up of Fuchs’ sung syllables, renders the “human aspect” a manipulation that manufactures, slightly but spectacularly, an other humanity.
The other mix of “Replica,” a redo by Lopatin with vocals contributed by King Midas Sound’s Roger Robinson, instead deepens the narrative aspect of the original. Its frail evocation of a need for a replica of a past-lover again plays mix and match with man and machine, while invoking a peripheral glance at Blade Runner, perhaps, and adding a second chapter to Lopatin’s collaboration with Antony, the remake of “Returnal,” the title-track from his last LP. Surgeon’s take on “Remember” is pleasing, if uneventful, rolling away from time with its tactile textures and cycling percussion, an entirely different meditation than its source material. And Richard Youngs builds a crunchy dirge out of shrapnel mined from the flickers of sounds that make up “Nassau.” I suspect its pensive melee of parts would be more effecting in a live setting, a room where the voice actually is, without quite knowing why I suspect this.
While nothing here is disappointing on its own, behind the swerving world of sounds pieced together by Matmos, the other pieces can indeed seem so. That one is a remix worth holding onto in a world that now and then seems so overrun with remixes that you may indeed have to run from them rather than simply ignore them.
Matmos – West
Limpe Fuchs – Via
King Midas Sound – Waiting for You