by Bracken

2007 has been a busy year for Bracken. Firstly we had their debut LP We Know About The Need, a hyperactive exploration into skewed songwriting, avant drone and glitchy sample experiments presented, seemingly of the blue, to Anticon Records by Chris Adams, founder member of Leeds, UK's experimentalists Hood.  Following hot on it's heels was a sketchbook of so-far-off-the-dial-they've-fallen-off-the-map ideas which ultimately made up the companion LP Eno About The Need. Issuing this deluxe double vinyl LP in an edition of one copy might be seen as commercial suicide but, hey, it's art ain't it? 

And finally we come to the obligatory remix CD. Given that We Know About The Need was forged from an unsteady melting pot of cut-up sounds, decaying tape loops, found sounds and the often overlooked but classic playing of instruments tactic, it seemed wholly appropriate that a motley crew of associates/heroes of Bracken should be given the opportunity to get the bits from the songs and put them in a different order. These remixes (if you will) were then sent back to the Bracken labs for fierce, tear inducing criticism. 

The collection has been issued in two contrasting formats. Primarily it is available as a download via most major downloading sites. However, more excitingly it is available in a limited run of 300 CD copies, all lovingly handmade by the band themselves. It is strongly suggested that one should not sleep, on obtaining these labours of love. Opening with a truly remarkable remix by mixtape maestro, beat finder extraordinaire and all round good egg Buddy Peace, we get a hint at why he strolled away with first prize for his entry to the Subtle remix competition. Moving swiftly on, James Rutledge (better known as Melodic and Mush recording artist Pedro) re-interprets "Fight or Flight," taking the admittedly chaotic and sprawling original yet further into the realms of noise and free jazz honking whilst retaining the abstract melody of bracken's primary version. The Boats calm the waters with an interpretation of "Safe Safe Safe" by stripping the original back to the barest of elements. Less is more with this one as a simple yet evolving 303 bassline holds the track together. An instrumental version of "Heathens" then follows, as much has been made of how different the track is without the vocals (usually when DJ'ed as part of the bracken DJ tag team). Chris is unavailable to comment as to why the instrumental sounds better than his vocal version, enough said.  Hands and Fingers is the moniker of Stephen Hitchen who is also in bracken. In his hands (and fingers) he carefully allows "We Cut The Tapes And Scatter" to slowly dissolve into a almost ambient yet strangely rhythmical drone, echoing in some way the krautrock inspired original. Bracken, to some extent repeat this trick by presenting an ultra cut up interpretation of "Of Athroll Slains" where the listener can gradually find stucture developing out of seemingly random interlocking loops. The penultimate track sees the welcome return of Matt Elliott's Third Eye Foundation guise. Here he mutates "Heathens" into a bass heavy two-step interpretation whilst allowing elements of the original to keep the melody in check. The final word, however, goes to the Remote Viewer. As ex-Hood collaborators they sit perfectly poised to bring the best out of "We Cut The Tapes And Scatter." Leaving nothing of the original but the vocals, they loop a pretty but melancholic acoustic guitar in with the glitches fittingly ending the record with a sparse, almost mournful ballad.

bracken, remixes