Spoons: A Collection of Remixes, Collaborations & Interpretations
May 23rd 2008 (Eire)
June 2008 (US & Eur)
Casino Gravity Records
Jeff Martin- Shuttlecock (Minotaur Shock Remix)
Update- Spoons: A Collection of… has recently been released state-side in limited quantity by Carrot Top Records in Chicago. Request it at your local specialty shop, or buy it off iTunes or the Goidelic online indie record shop Road Records.
Remix albums are rarely if ever any good. However, Jeff Martin out of Dublin Ireland has assembled a collection of songs that defy this conventional wisdom and common knowledge. Since the release of Spoons, Jeff Martin has had the pleasure of touring with some great indie acts. He has shared the stage with New York’s The National and Chicago’s Archer Prewitt, as well as Lambchop, David Grubbs, and The American Analog Set. Martin says that this remix record was not initially intended to be released. He asked some friends and fellow musicians to give their take on some of his material. What resulted was more than compelling enough to be released internationally. A wish-list cast of contributors colluded with Martin for the finished product. The record itself serves as a showcase of talent, exhibiting the style of collaborative musicians while remaining focused on the vision that Jeff Martin initiated with Spoons. Contributors to Jeff Martin’s project are listed below. Click on their names for their My Space or web page.
Minotaur Shock 4AD- Bristol
Isan Morr Music- UK
Stephen Shannon Casino Gravity/ Halfset- Dublin
John McEntire Thrill Jockey/ Tortoise/ The Sea & Cake- Chicago
David Pajo Slint/ Papa M/ Tortoise/ Zwan- Louisville
The High Llamas V2/ Duophonic- London
Mice Parade Fat Cat/ Bubblecore- New York
Decal Planet Mu / Rotters Golf Club- Dublin
Jeniferever Drowned in Sound- Sweden
Chequerboard Lazybird- Dublin
Dublin Guitar Quartet Greyslate- Dublin
John Parish Thrill Jockey / PJ Harvey- UK
Given the breadth of contributors, it is difficult to describe the myriad of styles that reform Martin’s work. What makes this record so excellent is the consistency provided by the base that Jeff Martin has constructed. While nearly every track is laden with electronic beats and celestial atmospherics, the meat of the music is rooted in the organic, natural sounds of the acoustic guitar, banjo, piano, mandolin, violin, and cello. Indeed, most of the tracks are instrumental, flowing into the limbo that is post-rock. A few songs include Jeff Martin’s voice which has a surprising smoky quality that contrasts sharply with the velour texture of the music.
The most outstanding track off the Spoons remix record is its first. Shuttlecock is energetic, voluminous, and expansive. It comes to us remixed by Bristol’s Minotaur Shock from 4AD. The song begins with a beautiful interplay of strings and xylophone, which is then mixed with a syncopated acoustic guitar riff, a clarinet, and brass. As Shuttlecock accelerates and builds, it perfectly exemplifies the beauty that electronic/organic fusion achieves; the fast paced beats layer the spaces between the chimes of a dozen other rhythms; it increases in velocity, but remains measured and deliberate. This track is simply ridiculous.
Spoons: RCI has many other gems as well. Strange for a Tuner by Chequerboard is sequenced perfectly. Balancing Act by Decal has a latent retro 80s structure that becomes fully born as the track concludes. Some tracks lack many of the electronic elements that are so prevalent throughout the record. Plays Music by Mice Parade and the impassioned Augustine by the Dublin Guitar Quartet are both gorgeous instrumentals. For those of you who love multi-instrumentalists like Sufjan Stevens and Tortoise, the beats of the Album Leaf, or even if you are a listener of the more ambient songs from God Speed You Black Emperor, Spoons: A Collection of Remixes, Collaborations, and Interpretations is a perfect addition to an ever growing and diversifying, nameless genre that flees moment to moment and movement to movement, renegotiating our expectations of complexity and simplicity, tonal dialectics and the subtlety of repetition.