Friday, September 21st, 2012

Asaf Avidan & the Mojos – One Day / Reckoning Song (Wankelmut remix)

Nothing like a nightclub to remind you of your own mortality…


[Video][Website]
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Sabina Tang: The sort of song one discovers while surfing YouTube at 2 a.m., Googling for context in a separate tab. Israeli (folk) band, German (techno) remixer. The mix up for review sounds as if an overbearing slab of club synth had been surgically removed from the track’s mid-range. The eight-minute dub further deconstructs the remaining components into a pleasantly elastic vista of plucked guitar and shuffling percussion, vocals cracked and filtered, dropping in and out. I would guess the use case was “minimal techno night: drunken polka breaks out in front of the DJ booth.” 
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Jonathan Bradley: Avidan’s folky original take is hardly ingratiating — his quavering, nasal yelp isn’t a particularly agreeable sound — but the dread imbued in his spare acoustic guitar plucking saves it from being entirely a lost cause. The Wankelmut remix retains the strength and accentuates the flaws; speeding up the vocals results in the hokey sample-as-Museum-of-Natural-History-diorama quality that haunted Moby’s Play, only the source material isn’t nearly as powerful. Avidan ends up sounding silly and trivial. And yet, at hyper-speed, those guitar flutters still sound deathly — and even more so encased within an insistent dance beat. There was something to this, even if it was a something never given a chance to blossom.   
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Alfred Soto: The acoustic guitar and octave-spanning vocal surprised me more than the handclaps and programmed beat. There’s something happening here and no one knows what it is.
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Will Adams: Sample house doesn’t really strike me as much more than a demonstration of how to properly use a low-pass filter, but because this omits some of the original’s unlistenable vocals, I can be a bit more generous. The pretty-pretty guitar helps some, too.
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Jonathan Bogart: So, pretty much anything on a loop does well in Europe, huh?
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Iain Mew: Extracting one line from the tinkling, overblown original, setting it against chillout murmurings and dragging the maximum meaning out of it through repetition is a great trick and works for quite a long time. If only Wankelmut had done that for the whole song. Instead, he also decides to include part of the verses (a waste of space) and some unadorned Jack White paroxisyms to finish (excruciating).
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Brad Shoup: Is that couplet expressing pre-emptive regret? Or is it just some muffed ESL approximation of that Railroad Revival Tour banality? The tepid shuffling treatment screams “nice mix, man CHECK OUT MY SOUNDCLOUD PAGE.” Why wait ’til you’re old? Euthanasia Now.
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Anthony Easton: The idea of love being gotten over with the idiom “my heart is dry” is new to me, but it’s innovative and quite intriguing — almost as much as love ending is tragic because it ends a narrative construction. These two ideas — and the ambiguity between being pleased by the ending, and not being able to grow old with someone, maintains its own structure in the first few minutes, but then the first half is dropped off, and it becomes more and more desperate — a kind of manic begging. When the tension falls apart, so does the song. 
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