By: Eric Greenwood
Printed Circuit"s retro-electro pop is memorable simply because of the dichotomy of unsophisticated melodies and complicated beats. She marries her Kraftwerkian melodies to computer-generated stutters and pulses with a childlike sense of awe and innocence. Such groundwork creates quite a playground for disparate remixers, and Reprints showcases such a scenario. Printed Circuit asked a diverse collection of her peers and friends to interpret some previously released and unreleased material and the results are stunning.
Frederick Schikowski"s remix of "Diatomy" sounds like, well, a Frederick Schikowski song when it"s all said and done. The percussion scuttles like a crab beneath his moody pop atmospherics. Sustained keyboard lines reminiscent of Gary Numan"s machine-world remain constant while the beats ebb and flow. Sequenced rhythms add a level of joviality to the fairly downbeat tone. It"s very hypnotic stuff. Random Number"s deconstruction of "Oh, To Be A Mechanical Man" evokes a more palatable version of an Autechre song. Watery beats clash with electronic rips and imperfections. What it lacks in melody it makes up for in intriguing noise effects and broken pulses.
Without a trace of Depeche Mode"s Speak And Spell looming over him, James Figurine (from electro-pop band Figurine) delivers an uncharacteristic mix of Printed Circuit"s forthcoming "Super-Jockey." Throbbing beats replace the expected synth-riffs, and repetitive bass loops and sequences build into a pulsating headache. One of the few disappointments here. French duo GNG tackles "Gimmie Aibo" from an extremely hard to find Printed Circuit 7" on the Spanish label, Elefant Records. Splicing the original melody into a wash of robotic vocal samples, GNG renders the song unrecognizable from its original form but creates a disturbingly potent remix in the meantime.
The highlight of the record is The Mathematics" remix of "Chevron." This is no coincidence as The Mathematics consists of Claire from Printed Circuit and Andy from Big Eyes. The happy-go-lucky electro-pop is darkened by the presence of an heavily affected vocoder. Tiny new wave keyboard lines abound. It"s analog, digital-style. The syncopated, tinker toy effects on I Am Robot And Proud"s remix of "Things To Be Ashamed Of" create an auditory dreamscape not unlike a busier Boards Of Canada track. Music to make you stare off in the distance aimlessly.
Also noteworthy is Transistor Six"s version of "A.I." Adding gloomy, songbird vocals as well as real bird noises and soft abbreviated beats, Transister Six practically writes her own song, using Printed Circuit"s original as a distant archetype. Remix albums tend to be hit or miss, usually falling on the side of the latter due to the temptation to be self-indulgent, but since Reprints enlists such a diverse crew of talented remixers, it succeeds in sounding edgy and innovative on practically every track.