Much to our chagrin, we cannot figure out the artist of this painting. If you know, please comment.
2009 was a particularly quiet year for My My. With Nick Höppner busy managing Ostgut Ton and Lee Jones still riding the waves made by his acclaimed 2008 album, Electric Frank, it’s not all that surprising their output was limited to “Going Going Gone,” their contribution to the All Night Long series, and the Price Tag EP. The last two years have also proven somewhat stylistically problematic for a pair who breathed new life into the sample-heavy micro-house sound as more and more producers spiked their subdued house tracks with sampled snippets. Inviting the Berlin-based producer/vocalist Emika to appear on “Price Tag,” then, seems a fillip for audiences who’ve relied My My for unexpected sounds, providing human depth that’s difficult to evoke with even the deepest sample vaults.
If Jones and Höppner set out to diverge from past My My records on Price Tag EP, the title cut is the most obvious point of departure. Whereas many of their tunes are made from a patchwork of diverse sampled textures that keep ears hunting for Easter eggs through their length, “Price Tag” has a creative if limited palate that guides listeners to two glowing passages featuring Emika cooing the chorus. The steady stream of affected, Emika-sung syllables and moans suspended above a sauntering bass line and a few percussive flourishes feels surprisingly laconic and monotonous, humdrum valleys between almost corny swells of fingerpicked guitar and whistling. My My make better use of Emika’s vocals on the more dance floor-oriented “Lights Go Down,” reducing her voice to abstract swirls around an infectious, almost mysterious progression and insistent bass notes before she takes lead and harmonizes. It’s a step up from “Price Tag,” but still relatively weak in the context of My My’s discography.
Luckily, “Price Tag” was remixed Appleblim and his latest co-conspirator, Komonazmuk, who reintroduce “Price Tag” to dancers with a dubstep twist. They cultivate tension with rambunctious bass notes and crestfallen chords which hang in the air like one’s breath in winter. Emika’s few reverberating words bounce between slinky rhythms while her full sentences rub against glowering bass runs, the track’s moody temperament finds multiple ways to get dancers sweating. Vinyl buyers may despair at not receiving Sideshow’s digital-only dub version, which retains the effusive glow of the original inside a heavier, splashed out rework which spills over as if its organ-led progressions are flaring sunspots. The Price Tag EP is not among Jones and Höppner’s proudest moments and its remixes vastly outweigh the original. All the same, a My My miss would be many producers’ shining moment, and with few new releases there are fewer duds to go around. I’ll always check out My My.