Nicolas Bougaïeff: Higher Up The Spiral (Mute, 2020)

November 16, 2020 at 6:37 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Nicolas Bougaïeff: Higher Up The Spiral

Nicolas Bougaïeff’s first album for Mute, The Upward Spiral, is a grand, ambitious set filled with unpredictable twists and rhythmic shifts. Its remix album takes these tracks into several further directions, most excitingly when a few experimental drum’n’bass producers take a crack at them. Overlook’s “The Upward Spiral” starts out as a back-alley creeper and then explodes, bringing the shivers like peak techstep. Sam KDC’s “Nexus” plays with the contorted rhythms of the original and ends up with some heavy, breaky terror-techno. Dusty Kid and Benjamin Damage both remix “Thalassophobia”, and both keep the interlocked yet disorienting patterns of the original but add a heavier thump for the clubs. Other mixes tend to retain the grittiness and some of the percolating sequences but make them feel more straightened out. Kosei Fukuda does something different though, turning it into a slower, more measured ambient techno track which could also be heard as very nuanced drum’n’bass. For something more storming and heart-on-sleeve melodic enough to approach trance, but coated in sizzling static, there’s Aoud’s “Listen Carefully to the Heart Beat”. Surprisingly enough, breakcore OG Din-ST appears with a mix of “Nexus” which honestly doesn’t add much to the original, but it’s still nice to see his name pop up. The title track, a collaboration with Private Agenda, concludes the release, and it’s actually a pleasant, sparkly pop song, yet it has all the tempo shifting and rhythmic contortion of Bougaïeff’s album.

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