Image by Guy Laramee
Phillip Sollmann might be the most impeccably dressed guy in dance music, but his music isn’t nearly as flashy. Sure, the tailoring on his stately and reduced but ultimately floor-ready house and techno is impeccable (and, should you care to take the metaphor further, a gander at his Discogs page shows he only dresses his stuff in the finest labels), but it’s hardly flashy. I sense the man you know and love as Efdemin still subscribes to the belief that dance tracks ought to be judged by the work they do, not the attention they draw to their creator. It’s hardly surprising, then, that Chicago, Efdemin’s 2010 sophomore effort, found itself overshadowed on many a year-end list, perhaps most notably by a record on the same label that owed more than a thing or two to Efdemin’s signature soft touch. Luckily, a squadron of remixers have been coaxing Chicago out of its black turtlenecks and into some brasher duds ever since. And while this latest batch of remixes — featuring Deadbeat, Fred P, Rndm, and Efdemin himself at the controls — doesn’t exactly reimagine the material as a Tavi Gevinson ensemble, at least one of the inclusions may turn some heads.
First up on the A-side is Deadbeat, the dub practitioner whose recent Drawn And Quartered took black many orders of magnitude darker than Efdemin deigns to go. His remix of “Shoeshine,” though, doesn’t so much dip the original in ink as it muddies things up, throwing knots into the bass line and potholes into the percussion. Efdemin’s mulligan of “There Will Be Singing” makes for a relatively drastic realization: the deep chords remain intact, but layers of pitchy drums recast the original’s chilled-backness as a sweaty haze quickly burning off; “Flügelization” might have been a more appropriate tag than “Future Edit.” The flip features the cut most are likely here for, and Fred P’s “Nighttrain” reshape absolutely lives up to the expectations such a meeting of deep house minds drums up. Mr. Peterkin has already gotten a fair amount of mileage out of precisely this sort of zoned-in, circular sound, but until someone else takes house as far down the rabbit hole as he routinely does, I’m not sure it’ll get old. And though Fred has only shaved 40 seconds or so off the original, it makes for one of the briefer nine-minute intervals you’re likely to experience. Oliver Kargl, who shares Pigon duties with Efdemin and appears here under his Rndm guise, doesn’t do much more than streamline and shorten “There Will Be Singing.” But given the three refixes that precede it, dance music fans should find plenty to enjoy, if not (in Fred P’s case) positively slobber over.