Critical affirmation of good music nowadays seems to culminate, more often than not, in a remix album. ‘Dross Glop’, the remixed counterpart to Battles’s riotous sophomore effort that was released last year, was therefore more or less inevitable. Released in a series of four 12” splits over the span of two months, they come together to form an album that both matches—and subverts—its origins.
The best tracks in the album are those that do not attempt to quell the claustrophobic cacophony that ‘Gloss Drop’ had presented, but adds to it with even more warped riffs and thumping bass. The first track in the album, Gui Borrato’s disappointingly monotonous reworking of “Wall Street”, reduces
the originally deliriously disordered track into something mindless and utterly forgettable. A better example of repetitive loops done right can be found in Silent Servant’s version of “Inchworm”, which settles in a spot right between prickly and pleasing with a beat that seems to ring in your ears.
Naturally, it shouldn’t be surprising that Battles would complement rap well, and Shabazz Palaces’s
velvety lyrics seems like the natural choice layered against “White Electric”. However, one of the biggest singles from ‘Gloss Drop’, “Ice Cream”, featuring Matias Aguayo, receives a substandard treatment from Brian DeGraw of Gang Gang Dance, as it retains none of the energy of the initial track and is merelychopped up and hastily churned out as a twisted cousin of the original. The best tracks in the album would have to be the last two. Patrick Mahoney and Dennis McNany’s remix of “My Machines” cruises effortlessly into a dark and seductive soundscape that is itching to be played during late night drives down empty highways, while Yakatama Eye’s remix of “Sundome” which he also performed guest vocals for in the original is bolstered with schizophrenic cuts and jumps that doesn’t let up till the very last second.
Not all remixes are created equal, and the genre-resisting quality of Battles’s music is surely not easy to rewire and make your own. However, it’s pretty evident that the most successful ones are those that go the other way and help add to the crazy, making this math rock-prog-electronic-hip hop record to be one that stands in a league of its own.By Yi Zhou