Grizzly Bear’s evasive sonic constructions initially seem an unlikely candidate for a full remix record, even at a time when remixing full albums is an undeniable trend (many records got the treatment last year, including Bloc Party, Beck and the more questionable DFA 1979). Not quite every track on Horn of Plenty, which was released by Kanine in 2004, merits a remix, and the tracks that don’t tend to blend into each other’s organic drones. But with their ragtag group of deejays and friends, the members of Grizzly Bear have unexpectedly doubled the depth of their debut, spinning a breath of life into their niche genre.
In a sense, these mixes can be divided into two camps: dance-y and contemplative. Several attempts are made to up the tempo of Grizzly Bear’s deliberate proceedings, and the results are a mixed bag. Simon Bookish succeeds with his version of “Eavesdropping,” beginning with an initial dance beat that gives way to startling fluttering synths and Books-style cut-ups. Less can be said for Black Moustache’s standard raving up of “Service Bell,” which puts a strong foot forward by adding synth noise but is ultimately overtaken by unfortunate club beats.
Solex adds her atmospheric flair to sex up “Fix Up,” which leads into a strong finish for this collection, with the Bommar Monk’s noisy reinvention of “Deep Sea Diver” and Final Fantasy’s revolving strings on ‘Don’t Ask.” But its Ariel Pink’s take on “Disappearing Act,” all tape hiss and lo-fi, that sums up the broad strength of this collection.
Like a cover song, a strong remix retains the mixer’s musical sensibility while at the same time paying tribute to the source. Just about everyone who touches Horn of Plenty here succeeds at this.
Prefix feature: Grizzly Bear [Not your average neo-folk band] by Annie Wilner