[sic] Magazine

Bitcrush – From Arcs To Embers

My love affair with the remix album was a fleeting thing. Stung by one betrayal after another, I practically withdrew from partaking. What are remixes for anyway? If a track is in need of some outside doctoring, what does that say about it? If it is already a classic, why bother?

Then again, some remixes are wonderful. I admit that. I just can’t help thinking that a whole albums worth of mixes, like covers, is tough to sustain. Two of the best examples in recent years have been port-royal’s Flared Up and Mogwai’s Kicking a Dead Pig. Indeed, both are valuable reference points here. However, unlike those two bands, (whose remix albums were centred on earlier work) Mike Cadoo has selected pieces from his whole Bitcrush output dating from the latest In Embers all the way back to 2004’s Enarc. (Hence the title, arcs to embers) And if the choice of material is important its significance fades in comparison to the key element, which is quite simply… who to give it to. Here Cadoo has rather excelled. From Arcs To Embers contains precious few of those crashing, confusing reconstructs yet plenty of the ‘beautiful companion piece’ variety.

Well chosen then, but equally well done. The mixers shuffle the pack, stamping their personality onto these pieces without stripping away Bitcrush’s own. At the beginning, both Winterlight’s ‘Every Sunday’ and Bersarin Quartett’s ‘Post’ radiate light like sunshine piercing through a cloudy sky. And man, do those clouds swirl! The effect is somehow original yet utterly in keeping with the parent tracks. Funckarma’s ‘Colder’ is probably the harshest mix on offer whilst Vanessa Van Bastens ‘An Island, A Penninsula’ is arguably the most transformed, although Stripmall Architecture must have a shout themselves with their excellent ‘Bitcrush in Dub’.

Three label mates, Near The Parenthesis , port-royal and SubtractiveLAD close the album in superb style. The royals possibly deserve special mention if only for their sheer restraint, managing to reign in a good deal of their trademark echoes and thereby avoiding the complete transformation ‘Of Embers’ into a port-royal track. Then again SubLAD’s reworked ‘Of Days’ is panoramic both in scope and splendour.

As a non-proper studio release album, From Arcs To Embers is about as far from any completist, ‘cash-in’ as it is possible to get. As an introductory point for new fans it works, whilst exisiting followers of both the remixers and their subject will be more than pleased with this offering. As an album though, FATE feels like a Bitcrush record. Because it is, simply. Reason alone to get it.




Of Embers