VA: Proximity One: Narrative Remixes
Proximal Records

Those inclined towards cynicism might characterize the idea of an EP remix of a recent compilation release as a lazy way for a label to keep its hand in the game. Be that as it may, the Los Angeles-based Proximal Records imprint need apologize to no one for giving us more of the splendid instrumental hip-hop that dominated its 2010 Proximity One: Narrative of a City release. If anything, the five tunes on the Proximity One: Narrative Remixes set are different enough from the originals that they could easily have appeared on the initial collection without anyone noticing too much in the way of similarity between original and remix.

Sounding a little bit like a Prefuse 73 production, Wake's (Matthew Hettich) take on TOKiMONSTA's “Cigarette Lust” is as powerful an argument for the Proximal label's vision as could possibly be made. Taking no more than three minutes, the tune digs into its string-based head-nod with determination, all the while pushing its vibrant electric piano and synth swirl through a pool of crackle that's as thick as quicksand. Nicky Benedek takes Dam-Funk's “A Day At the Carnival” for a resplendent electro-funk spin replete with radiant synths and hammering claps, with all of it powered by a frothy swing that simply won't be denied. In addition, BearClaw (Peter Gonzales) recasts Teebs' “Wind Loop” as a fluttering lurch sprinkled with bell tones and dizzying atmosphere, while the Lawrence Grey treatment of Dr. Strangeloop's “Strange Utopia” results in something closer in spirit to a snappy minimal techno banger than the set's other tunes. Sahy Uhns' “Tension Remeditation” of Daedelus's “Off Angles Edges” is memorable for the breakneck pace at which the shuddering cut unspools, but the standouts in this go-round are the Nicky Benedek-Dam-Funk and Wake-TOKiMONSTA jams. Though the remix set is obviously less essential than Proximity One: Narrative of a City , both releases make us look forward with anticipation to whatever else is in the works at Proximal central.

March 2011