Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Reviews:: Stars Do You Trust Your Friends?

Ninety-nine percent of the time, I am anti-remix album. Standard fare is some hectic beats mashed together with the vocals, creating a product no one is really all that hyped on. Growing up obsessing about the Beasties and loving golden-age hip hop, I sat through (and wasted duckets on) a cornucopia of bad remixes – the horns o' plenty if you will.

Of them all, I think only one really made the grade, and that was the Tribe remix album, Revised Quest for the Seasoned Traveller (I disagree with Shane on the success of the Cactus Revisited).

Where am I going with this? Well, the Stars have released a remix album of Set Yourself on Fire, with the catchy title, Do You Trust Your Friends? Luckily, their friends are mostly comprised of talented, successful musicians, so establishing that trust is pretty easy. The album starts with everyone’s favorite violin, dungeon & dragon’s playing artist (Final Fantasy) adding some looped strings over a simple piano line. The song progresses into a classical violin piece and sets the tone for this whole record. These mixes aren’t simple changes in time or adding some heavier beats. The artists have put their own spin on the tracks.

The songs on this record are surprisingly interesting. As I said, normally with remixes, after the initial interest in the new sound, I just end up wanting to hear the original. With this collection, artists like Apostle of Hustle, Jason Collett, and Serene Republic take some big risks and actually pull it off. Ageless Beauty (The Most Serene Republic) has been floating around the net forever after being released on the Arts and Craft sampler, but the funky acoustic riff and piano is perfect in its simplicity. Jason Collett’s take on Reunion is rollicking and you could easily see sliding into his energetic live set.

The remix record, much like the original is a tale of two cities. The upbeat numbers are still my favorite, and the slower tracks have me reaching for the >>| button. Tracks like the spastic Dears take on What I'm Trying To Say Pt. 1 and Metric’s spin on He Lied About Death are interesting (the acoustic riff really sold me on this track), and Apostle of Hustle’s One More Night is (simply put): funky. The latin vibe really spices up the track and the band (wisely) decided to rework the vocals themselves. If you didn’t know this was on the Stars remix record, you’d never guess this wasn’t an Apostle of Hustle song and that’s why it’s so great.

The Junior Boys handclap heavy beat suits the vocals nicely, and is a perfect after party track that I can imagine popping up in lounges all over Vancouver. Herohill favs, Camoflage Nights team up with Kevin Drew to add a horse sound effect, blips, and a softly strummed acoustic and a big crescendo to Celebration Guns. The Russian Futurists drop a rough hip hop beat to make The First Five Times a gritty track.

The one track that I really have to wish wasn’t touched was Soft Revolution. I absolutely love this song, and the Stills fingers muddled it up for me. But hey. As far as remixes go, this record is extremely successful and well worth a listen.
MP3::Sleep Tonight - Stars (Junior Boy's mix)

Posted at 11:59 AM by ack :: 0 comments

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