[sic] Magazine

Various – The Reconstruction Of Fives

The Reconstruction Of Fives is a remix album from the emotive IDM stronghold, n5MD. The basic premise was to offer n5 works to non-n5 artists for re-interpretation. Although it may sound like a clear ‘step outside’ of normal boundaries, it actually isn’t. Those invited were chosen specifically because they are like-minded and/or have collaborated in the past. We need not tie ourselves in knots trying to apply rigid definitions to this as it all gets blurred by the fact that some of the mixers themselves, Winterlight and Dalot , are now signed to the label. I prefer to think of the mixing collective as part of the n5 extended family anyway. Or indeed a genre extended family as the electronic/IDM world seems to be one tranch of music where the artists greatly appreciate each others work. No posturing side-swipes here. No drive-by shootings. (are you listening Britpop and Rap, respectively?) Just a mutual appreciation bordering on the fraternal.

Speaking of appreciation, my there’s a good deal to admire in this collection. Admire and enjoy. Remixes, like colour schemes, can complement, contrast or even clash and all these things are evidenced over an hour of fascinating music. It begins with the ominous brooding of Pale Sketcher’s ‘Secret Knots’ (Originally by Proem ).

Architect’s ‘Blood Tracer’ takes what sounds like a mid-80’s remix and throws a modern day IDM blanket over it. The almost Asian tones of worriedaboutsatan recall David Sylvian ‘s early ventures into ambient and dovetails beautifully with the Bersarin Quartett mix that follows it. Other tracks delight in deceiving. I thought I heard a pang of Tobias Lilja only to discover I was listening to Last Days’ , ‘A Storm Tore This House’ reimagined by Rafael Anton Irisarri . (A Lilja piece does crop up – the aforementioned ‘Blood Tracer’) Some of the mixes here are almost unrecognizable from the original.

Those cynical over what remixing has to offer might be advised to check our feature article. These treatments are light years away from cash in’s or lazy re-hashes. The Reconstruction Of Fives can only be seen as a win:win because fans of the original artists and fans of the remix artists will probably all want this record and their worlds will be opened up to all manner of other great musicians. Such is the strength in depth on offer here. And although The Reconstruction Of Fives sounds diverse, it doesn’t really ever feel like a remix album or a compilation. It is both these things but our minds are taken off this by the sheer quality from start to finish.

The album was commissioned to mark the labels 10th anniversary. Funny, because it feels more like my birthday than theirs.

One of the best mix collections I’ve heard.

Info and buy

Remixing – feature article