Monday 13 April 2015

Review: Laibach – 'Spectremix'


Laibach are a force of nature in the world of music. The band have, for 30 years, presented an unrivalled tour-de-force of avant garde art dressed as pop music set on subverting the mainstream. With albums such as 'Nova Akropola', 'Let It Be', and 'WAT' they pushed buttons, provoked, celebrated and mocked the meat on which they fed. In 2014 the collective released 'Spectre', hailed as their most complete and political album to date, the world seemed to have finally caught up with the Slovenians.

In 2015 the band release the deluxe version of the album including the bonus remix album 'Spectremix' (which is also available as a standalone release). The band are no strangers to remixes and collaborations to rework their material as can be seen with the 2nd disc of the band's 2004 “best of” collection 'Anthems' which collected some of the more notable ones together.

In a world where the remix album is a necessity for most bands to extend the shelf-life of the original, it seems strange at first that the group would play along with this new convention. But Laibach being Laibach, there is always an ulterior motive. The band have always looked to dance orientated producers and artists to allow their message to spread into dance floors in the forms of what ever the current trends happen to be.

This time around the duties fall to producer Marcel Dettmann, labelmates Diamond Version, Sandwell District’s Function, longtime collaborator iTurk, Slovenian electro-pop band Torul, Scottish DJ and producer Alex Smoke, German DJ, producer and co-founder of the Common Sense People event series Konstantin Sibold, and Slovenian producer, DJ and musician Gramatik. The result of which is a varied and intelligent blend of EDM, IDM and Techno that preserve the menace of the source material. In particular it is the likes of Diamond Version, iTurk, Torul, Function, and Konstantin Sibold provide the highlights on the album, giving the tracks suitably interesting and different sounds.

There is one issue though with the album, which is the repetition of songs. Instead of offering up all of the tracks on the original for remixing, there is just a small selection available, and the omissions in some cases are glaring. But there is no denying that even in this reworked form the tracks, no matter how different they are from the originals, they still cut through with Laibachian wit and menace. At the end of the day though, especially as a digital only release (why no limited vinyl run?!), this is one that is really just for the DJs and completeists out there.  

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