The story of Kuedo doesn’t begin with Degenerate, the playing field-altering Vex’d album, and it doesn’t even really start with Jamie Vex’d’s solo debut In System Travel. Instead, it’s start was in-between those releases with a monumental remix of Scuba’s “Twitch.” Having little to do with the noisey, post-industrial machinations of Vex’d, the twisting bass synths and heavy hip-hop influence of this remix is where Kuedo was properly born. When Dream Sequence rolled around in 2010, it took that aesthetic and adopted the new name to go along with it. The artist known formally as Jamie Teasdale has proven himself to be a restless electronic music innovator who, with his latest EP for Planet Mu, Videowave, begins the process of a new metamorphosis.
Label mate and fellow traveler Slugabed released an EP around the same time as Dream Sequence called Ultra Heat Treated that explored similar hip-hop breaks and warped bass antics that Kuedo was embarking on. Apparently getting one to remix the other turned out to be too good of an idea, since Kuedo ended up remixing Slugabed’s unreleased “Take Off” to the point where it became an entirely new song that kicks off this EP. Not that the high frequency arpeggiators, thick kicks and bubbling bass is very far from what the original artist would have done with it. Kuedo’s influence can be heard in the denser and more frenetic pace of the rhythm whereas Slugabed’s composition tends to fall into the bumpier side of hip-hop.
A perhaps even more remarkable remix comes from Illum Sphere’s take on Kuedo’s “Starfox,” the original a clear and titanic highlight of Dream Sequence. Illum Sphere’s remix could more accurately be described as a cover, as the glittering synths and fractured bass of the original is turned into a symphonic interpretation complete with twinkling keys, tambourines providing a grainy texture, and synthesized strings emulating the original’s dramatic beat frenzy even while it becomes a simply beautiful concerto. Rather than keeping this aesthetic for the entire length, Illum Sphere fades in the original’s telltale bass line which becomes a reduced and crackling version of the entire track. The drums are more textured and the melodies more delicate, but “Starfox” comes burning through in this gorgeous re-imagining.
Clark is somewhat of a producer’s producer, having mastered Lorn’s Nothing Else and turning in immaculately engineered albums for Warp like Body Riddle. His remix of “Glow” transforms the original’s bass heavy squiggles into an electro-acoustic desolation, full of extended reverbs and flanges, glacial pacing and not a small amount of foreboding melancholy. Breaking that fog for a few scant seconds, the melody is transformed into a gentle plucking before falling back into tidal waves of squelches and noise. The keys fight to stay afloat amid this claustrophobic sea and are eventually consumed. “Shutter Light Girl” was originally a short and ambient track, which Heterotic remixes into a stuttering dance floor melter. Retaining the central ambient melody, the new version adds clicking drums, high flying synth flourishes and an arpeggiated mid-range line that winds around relentlessly.
Videowave ends with the only truly new Kuedo track, which hints that this producer is changing up once again. Gone is the hip-hop slant; the bass synths are more subdued and the melodies float with a carefree feeling. The biggest change, though, is the higher tempo and and focus on live-sounding drum kits. Kuedo has shown over his career that he can’t be tied down to just one sound and “Glow” is an interesting hint of what comes next. As a whole, Videowave can feel fractured due to the different styles employed with the remixes, but that mosaic of sound seems to be at the core of what Kuedo wants to harness. If nothing else, Illum Sphere is poised to steal best remix of the year with his take on “Starfox,” and that’s no small prize.