Melchior Productions Ltd., Apariciones Reworked

[Lick My Deck]

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Thomas Melchior’s once restrained release schedule, which only occasionally exceeded one record per year, befit a master of patient, subtle grooves. But in the wake of his landmark 2007 sophomore album, No Disco Future, the gaps between Melchior releases have shortened considerably. Not only has the period given birth to the Cinderfella alias, it’s seen Melchior venturing further afield from his home base at Perlon (while still contributing two EPs to the storied label) and rejoining his Soul Capsule collaborator, Baby Ford, for two new singles on the renewed Trelik imprint. One wonders, though, if the lengthy gestations of his releases were actually to their benefit. Because as exciting as it’s been to receive a flood of new Melchior material, the unrivaled quality associated with his name has dipped significantly. Where even his most reduced tracks once hypnotized while sounding effortless, many of his current works have lacked that earworming quality and feel somewhat half-baked. For all its lengthy repetition, the same fate befell his Latin-themed 2010 single Apariciones for Lick My Deck. Apariciones Reworked aims to inject some magic back into the original tracks with remixes by Melchior’s long time friends Baby Ford and Ricardo Villalobos.

Some may be surprised that both veteran producers opted to refine Melchior’s originals rather than transform them more radically. This speaks to either the level of respect they have for the source material or a lack of better ideas. In the case of Baby Ford’s “Cinza De Fenix,” the former rings truest as he focuses on making the track more immediate. The original’s snorting, unkempt organ riff is pushed to the front to wriggle like a marionette in the thicket of bloops and clinking percussion, making it much harder to ignore but not much more interesting. The newly plucked bass line, however, is a winning addition, as its distended notes open up a great deal of space in the busy track. Villalobos’ remix pulls “Todo Mundo” out of the haunted house and into the mirrored fun house, shedding many of the cacophonous percussive elements along the way. Instead he reaches for a crisp, bass-gulping beat upon which the original’s Spanish vocals have their pitches bent and their speeds tweaked. While his version is less cluttered or demanding, it feels as if the venerable producer ran out of steam before he had the chance to make a memorable contribution. It becomes the kind of track you’d find Villalobos using in his DJ sets as a base layer for more arresting material, which would an enviable position for any less established producer but seems like a punt for his own remix. Although fans of the original Apariciones will likely enjoy this vibe-extending remix package, it offers relatively little of the awe-inspiring creativity which once established these three producers as leaders in their genre.

james  on October 27, 2011 at 11:35 PM

this sounds like the end of something.

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