Monday, 24 February 2014


Last summer, in July to be precise, I wrote about an album called The Case of Galastrophy by an Italian guy who lives in Tokyo, Emiliano Ruggiero, aka Earthquake Island (so-named cause of that natural phenomenon of new islands being made from mud and stuff by undersea earthquakes, like the one off the coast of Pakistan last year). It was a lovely album, effusing intense chillment that was quite easy to get lost in.

Now well over half-a-year later, a set of remixes appear, reworking tracks from the original into new sonic offerings. Dubbed 9 Tales About Galastrophy, there are 8 remixes by 8 different artists, with one wholly new track from Earthquake Island himself. My favourite track from the original album, 'Fantastic', has been given a remix by another wonderful artist, Sun Glitters, placing it in more expansively brooding surroundings than before, retaining and altering the lone vocal sample – "…Fantastic…" – whilst a gravelly cascade of percussion blankets the track. Also making an appearance is Japanese beatmaker canooooopy, whose experimental hip hop style skiffles in sumptuous offbeats, providing consistent foundations to the ever-twisted noises from the original. Italian duo LIES provide their typical electro style in juddering piercing glistenings of synth in their remix of 'My Moon, My Moon', the original of which is a super-slow, fresh affair – now it pulses with up-tempo rhythm.

In a different remix, 'My Moon, My Moon' becomes a punchy, sample-invaded piece of alternative R&B in the hands of Godblesscomputers, a Bologna-based also known as Lorenzo Nada. This one is a moody remix that focuses on percussion, the synth sounds being rather understated, like a fog through which the beat marches rhythmically through. The atmospheric 'Flying Cat 2' gets a very dark reworking by Italian producer Machweo, inserting police-siren-esque noises and clanging pulses of menacing gloopy synth.

Super expansive rich synth chords in sombre progression dominate avant-garde Italian musicmaker Grovekingsley's remix of 'The Lake And The Mist', forested with bustling percussion, carried in a cradle of bass. My favourite is from Brussels-based Haring, cutting 'Sunrise On' into bite-sized pieces, chopping them together in stuttering succession, pausing for cold reverbing ambience, bass rising up into the final sample-heaven of the track soaring with whooshes of synth. Or maybe my favourite is actually Go Dugong's remix of 'Super Strawberry' – an exceedingly bassy number in its original form, rollicking with raw-sounding drums, has now become a weirdly swaying ball of energy; telephones ring, cheeky synth bleeps boil, samples of a girl laughing appear. It's full of theatrical intent, exciting as it is showy, full of electro attitude.

Lastly we have Earthquake Island's new track, 'So Bright'; founded on the skewed rhythm of an unusual offbeat, crowded with ripping snares and multi-claps tick-tocked with neat hi-hats, it features convulsing waves of bass around which heartfelt merry-go-rounds of sampled sound and voices whirl in funfair peeling-paint nostalgia above; the height of summer; running around having fun; reclining in the heartbeat pulse of the sun. This collection of artists have, with like-minded intention, remixed the songs of Earthquake Island not overtly, not dramatically, but in some cases just enough to provide a dream version of the track in question – an alternate reality version, a Dark World rendition. As such, despite not being dramatic or wildly different, 9 Tales About Galastrophy warrants a listen, its chilled-out, twisted and often hip-hop-inspired vibe a gorgeous journey nonetheless.

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