Tracey Thorn: Opposites EP
Strange Feeling

Not that any proof was needed, but Tracey's Thorn Opposites EP nevertheless shows that the singer has lost none of her vocal prowess, even after decades of recording activity. Arriving quickly upon the Why Does The Wind? remix set (on Buzzin' Fly), her second EP follow-up to the recent Love And Its Opposite album features three originals accompanied by treatments by Visionquest, WALLS, and Blue Daisy. As satisfying as the originals are, it's the diverse makeovers that recommend the release, especially when each refracts Thorn's material in such arresting manner.

“Kentish Town,” a forlorn reverie recounting reflections upon a visit to a former abode, pairs Thorn's robust vocal with willowy harmonies in the acoustic original. Tackled by Kompakt act WALLS (Sam Willis and Alessio Natalizia), the downcast tune becomes a pulsating kosmische musik dreamscape with the lead vocal stripped away and the focus placed on the backing vocals and supple ambient atmosphere. While Thorn's original “Late In The Afternoon” unspools as a piano-laced exercise in romantic languor with a trip-hop edge (a bit reminscent of her work with Massive Attack), the version by Blue Daisy (aka Black Acre label head Kwesi Darko) drenches her multi-tracked voice in swirls of synthetic textures and prodded by a heavy sub-bass and beat thrust. “Swimming” (“When that summer sun comes down / When the season comes around / There will be no end in sight / We will be beseiged by light”) finds Thorn's voice joined by the fairy dust sprinkle of Nashville's Cortney Tidwell and a sparkling electro-pop arrangement that matches the palpable uplift exuded by the jump in the vocal melody (specifically on the word “be”). Just as sweet is the nine-minute makeover the tune's given by Visionquest (Seth Troxler, Ryan Crosson, and Lee Curtiss) where the vocals blur into a dazed chant before Thorn's lead vocal and a charging drum groove kick the Balearic-styled tune into overdrive. Entranced and entrancing, the remix digs so deep it alone makes the EP worthy of one's attention.

September 2010