Origamibiro: Shakkei Remixes
Though Origamibiro's Shakkei was only released last fall, a remix version of the album is already upon us. The cast list is certainly impressive, with contributions not only coming from Abandon Building associates Set In Sand, Low In The Sky, and K-Conjog but from marquee outfits such as Plaid, Isan, and The Remote Viewer. Origamibiro itself is an unusual entity: as musicians Tom Hill and Andy Tytherleigh play both found objects (such as a typewriter or a folded piece of paper) and conventional instruments (from bowed guitars to electric piano and upright bass), the group's third member, video artist Jim Boxall, conjures real-time projections to coincide with the music. For remixers, the group clearly provides ample material to work with; for listeners, there's lots to dig into as the collection features seventeen makeovers.
The remixes are sometimes as detail-packed and intricately constructed as the audio-visual trio's originals. Each song presents its own rich sound-world, one teeming with electronic and acoustic sound elements and often animated by propulsive beat structures, and in some cases an original receives multiple treatments. A snappy beat pulse enlivens the sweetly melancholic vibe cultivated by aus (Yasuhiko Fukuzono) in his take on “Sedimental Value”; in another version, K-Conjog (Fabrizio Somma) retains the sweetness but amplifies the beat thrust. Elsewhere, “Ballerina Platform Shoes” appears four times, with Set In Sand, Proem, Phylum Sinter, and The Remote Viewer all taking stabs at it.
Isan's pastoral evocation “Dusk & Umber” exudes the group's customary polish and tasteful handling of tonal colour, things that Low In The Sky (Joe Minadeo, Corey Farrow, Pat McNulty) puts to good use in its equally appealing treatment of “Quad Time.” Anyone familiar with Plaid would identify the off-beat melodic treatments in “Impressions of Footfall” as the work of Andy Turner and Ed Handley, so strongly defined is the group's sound. It hardly surprises, either, that The Remote Viewer's melancholy treatment of “Ballerina Platform Shoes” stands out from the crowd, as does Upward Arrows' (John McCaffrey aka Part Timer) stirring, piano-and-strings-heavy rendition of “Dusk & Umber.” Needless to say, the Shakkei original and remix set make for natural companion volumes, so much so that one could easily imagine them as having been packaged together in a single two-disc set rather than issued half a year apart as separate releases.