Various Artists / hfn reworked eins
For volume one of a new reworks series of hfn music's catalogue, Faded Ranger producer Neville Attree is the first to make the running and chose to re-imagine three classics from the label's formative years. 'Speeddance', 'Hey!' and 'Delusional' will be more than familiar to most, representing some of the best work so far from Reptile Youth, Darkness Falls and Human Woman but these new excursions are sure to raise a few eyebrows with their bold, eclectic approach.
There are more surprises on Reptile Youth's 'Speed Dance' as it relocates to a dark warehouse rave complete with rattling breakbeat and subsonic bass. Stripping the main elements back to highlight the raw beauty of the arpeggiated synths, the gnarly guitar licks and dark pads give the classic vocal performance a new edge while the breakdown morphs the cascading vox motif into an otherworldly tribal chant that dominates the remainder of the track. Human Woman's 'Delusional' revisits a Glastonbury field circa 1991 as echoes of vintage Orb and Primal Scream influence a tripped-out dub, packed with booming 808, smokey percussion and scratchy soundscapes. The euphoric chorus is still present in all its glory, soaring high above the beats before proceedings suddenly take an unexpected turn, plunging into a fathomless, ambient breakdown and then reemerging, cloaked in a more illuminated, introspective vibe that both compliments and enriches the care-free hedonism of the original.
The new Darkness Falls LP may be grabbing the limelight at the moment but this driving, four to the floor version of 'Hey!' demonstrates the enduring strength of their early releases. Live percussion parts dovetail neatly with the melodic bass and dancing strings while carefully chosen vocal hooks punctuate the groove. Then the acid kicks in as the track moves up a gear, recalling the brooding menace of the original and utilising its weird and wonderful theremin solo to full effect. It's an epic journey that shines with a wavering light, feeding mind and body in equal measure.
All in all, the retrospective futurism of Neville Attree's freestyle remixing certainly does justice to the originals while demonstrating a canny ability to twist things out in new and unexpected directions. There's definitely no 'square peg, round hole' scenario here with each new version having been loving sculpted to stand alone in it’s own right. What's more, each remix appears in a compact instrumental form, edited slightly to enhance its danceability. Get ‘em while they're hot!