Interview: Battles in the club — remixes and the art of the B-side

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Battles: Dross GlopBattles: Dross Glop (Warp, 4/17/12)

“Rolls Bayce (Hudson Mohawke Remix)”

If the appeal of a cover tune rests on an artist’s ability to emulate a preexisting song and bring new flavors to it at the same time, then the remix is something of an estranged relative. With remixes, the implicit goal is to stretch an existing piece of music as far as it can possibly go. Remixers are thus encouraged to let their musical personality eclipse the composer’s. They are essentially hired to take risks, to reconstitute, and to deconstruct — even altogether ignore — the mood, structure, and musical components with which they’ve been given to work.

The end results often qualify as works of art unto themselves, yet they also exist more or less as novelty items. Arguably, few remixes connect with more than a limited niche audience — even for fans of groups like Massive Attack and Depeche Mode — and the thought of a group of remixes working together within the larger framework of a full-length album remains an anomaly.

But that isn’t stopping experimental rock trio Battles from trying.


Guest Spot: Dosh on the alchemy of instrumental music

Dosh: TommyDosh: Tommy (Anticon, 4/13/10)

Dosh: “Subtractions”

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Percussionist and multi-instrumentalist Martin Dosh, better known as simply Dosh, is known both for his electronic-based solo venture as well as his work with Andrew Bird, with whom he’s toured and recorded. The instrumental track is Dosh’s specialty; “Simple Exercises,” which first appeared on Dosh’s 2004 release, Pure Trash, reappeared on Bird’s Armchair Apocrypha in 2007 as “Simple X” with an addition of lyrics. In the piece below, Dosh explains what drew him to instrumental music and how a few classic, lyric-less tracks continue to inspire his own music.

The Alchemy of Instrumental Music
by Dosh

I think my interest in music and sound really began when i was around nine or 10 years old; that is to say, that is when I really began LISTENING to music, to the ways instruments and voices worked together, trying to separate the sounds in my mind, trying to understand which sounds were being made by which instruments, and even what the people that played the music may have looked like. I can’t recall what the first song that really captured my imagination was, but it was likely by Devo or The Cars, maybe Billy Squier. I’ve always listened to the music first and digested the vocals and lyrics later. When I first discovered Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin, I found the vocals to be distracting. I couldn’t understand why they were there; they seemed like an afterthought.

Once I started playing drums, when i was 15, that was all I really heard when I would listen to a song: the drums. And I played a little bit with some friends, but I didn’t truly discover the joy of volume until I went to college two years later.  I spent more time listening to music in my first two years than I spent doing anything else — usually as loud as possible.  I was lucky enough to have a few friends who had massive record collections, and I listened to everything.

Stormy Records

Behind the Counter: Stormy Records (Dearborn, MI)

Each Tuesday, Behind the Counter speaks to an independent record store to ask about its recent favorites, best sellers, and noteworthy trends.

Stormy Records in Dearborn, Michigan was created to serve the Detroit area with a diverse selection of hard-to-find records. That simple mission, along with the unwavering passion of its two proprietors, Windy and Carl (also the ambient duo Windy & Carl), has sustained Stormy for more than a decade. Though the “weirdo music” that fills the shelves leaves some customers feeling entirely clueless, its specialized focus fosters a tight-knit community. Get to know Stormy, and check out photos of Windy and Carl’s favorite records.

Stormy Records
Windy holds Tabula Rasa by Arvo Pärt and Vini Reilly by The Duretti Column
Garage a Trois

The Groove Seeker: Garage a Trois’ Power Patriot

On a weekly basis, The Groove Seeker goes in search of killer grooves across rock, funk, hip hop, soul, electronic music, jazz, fusion, and more.

Garage a Trois: Power Patriot

Garage a Trois: Power Patriot (The Royal Potato Family, 10/26/09)

Garage a Trois: “Rescue Spreaders”
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Garage a Trois is the improvised groove child of saxophonist Skerik, drummer Stanton Moore, and 8-string guitarist Charlie Hunter.  The trio made a grand debut in 1999 with Mysteryfunk, a raw EP of completely improvised recordings, foregoing interest in post-production effects and multi-tracking.  In 2002, percussionist and vibraphonist Mike Dillon was added to the mix, giving the group a new tonal texture, and the band began rooting its music in powerful repetitions à la Critters Buggin, Skerik and Dillon’s former band. The departure of Hunter in 2007 led to a temporary void that was filled by rotating musicians, most notably John Medeski.  Soon after, jam keyboardist Marco Benevento was chosen to permanently fill Hunter’s place.