The Break Out twelve-inch from Polish down-tempo duo Skalpel represents some of the brightest entries from a recent remix competition they sponsored. The task was to remix the warm, settling sounds of “Break In” from Skalpel’s eponymous 2004 LP. The grand-prize winners rolled out to Poland and some others had their versions listed on the Ninja Tune site and released on this six-track EP.
The subject at hand is the mysterious comedown blend of chimes, eerie vocal samples and scattered drum pieces that tends to characterize most of Skalpel’s LP. Opener “Low” is an interpretation of Skalpel opener “High” by London’s dance deejay/producer twosome Amalgamation of Soundz. The remix retains the original’s urgency, but Soundz changes the elements somewhat by taking on a new melody and slightly tweaking the tempo.
Skalpel’s own remix of “Break In” is all over the place. They pull out its reliable steadiness and replace it with chaos by way of different percussion. It’s a bit thin, with only snippets of the original lush accompaniment remaining intact. Runner-up Michael Paradowski’s take pushes forth a club vibe, shifting into a break of mid-track weirdness by dropping out the drums before heading back into relatively bland dance-floor music.
The song by the grand-prize winner (credited as Backini here but called Tagit James on the Web site) put me to sleep compared to Dr. Rubberfunk’s vibrant Hammond organ wah-pedal and funk mix. The doctor takes the porno-sounding cake on the EP, turning Skalpel’s romantic original into late-night filthy digital-cable fare, and even beats out the tight hip-hop breaks of what is referred to as J’s remix. More of the Rubberfunk will be worth seeking out, but none of these others really touches the original’s beauty.