Marc Romboy vs. Stephan Bodzin, Phobos

[Systematic]


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Marc Romboy and Stephan Bodzin’s original “Phobos,” dating all the way back to 2006 and also featuring on their 6 Monde mini album, was a wearily downtrodden, electro-tinged stunner. Putting a top-heavy tapestry of rough, against-the-grain downward strokes on top of a spindly and barely-there backbone, it’s the kind of track that abrasively grinds itself into you, almost defeatedly anthemic. Following a catch-all Drei Monde remix EP last year, Romboy’s Systematic label is only now releasing an EP dedicated entirely to “Phobos.” While that might seem like an odd decision, clearly Romboy & Bodzin place a lot of stock in their near-classic track. While the original is absent, there’s a “Synthapella” that removes that translucent rhythm section and instead emphasizes the full-bodied synths in all their grainy, burned-circuitry glory, reaching a wall-of-noise climax that brings to mind any number of hip kosmische ideas and releases from the past year; maybe this release isn’t so oddly-timed after all.

But ostensibly this EP is all about the remixes, and the two German producers have commissioned two very different remixes from Moritz Von Oswald and Pan-Pot. The latter pull out the track’s bottom end and stilt the groove for a pulsating, big room revision that lets fragments of the original’s haunting melody through in squeezed chunks over an enveloping sheet of rolling bass frequencies. It reaches unexpectedly majestic heights when the beat drops out for a breakdown not unlike a condensed version of the “Synthapella”; and when the bass drum hits again for an even more straightforward outro, Pan-Pot have got listeners and dancers firmly in their palm. Von Oswald goes in for a much more meditative and steady remix, smoothing over the harsh synth textures and turning in an intricate rework made out of marbled stone. Floating at a glacial pace for eight minutes, pressure is released through monochrome pads as the steady one-two-step staggers on in typically monolithic fashion. Maybe sometimes timing isn’t everything; it doesn’t matter if these remixes are about five years late, because they sound just as fantastic now as they would have back then.

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