Ahead of the next installment in the Slowcraft Presents series, the label have unleashed a two-track single from Riz Maslen aka Neotropic who has worked with FSOL, 4Hero, The Beloved and is a former (and last release) artist for the defunct Ninja Tune sister label Ntone. Her forthcoming album “The Absolute Elsewhere” is her first since 2010’s “Equestrienne”.
“Few records inspire hope and dread in equal measure as effectively as the upcoming Neotropic album “The Absolute Elsewhere”. Advance single “Your War” exemplifies Maslen’s knife-edge artistic tightrope act. It’s a provocative and masterful display of judgement and tonal control wherein temper and restraint hold one another in perfectly weighted counterbalance. Complementing the original is a triptych remix from Russian producer Azamat who drives the tensely poised qualities of the source through three dizzying movements encompassing folk violin, rippling electronic arpeggios and tightly focused floor-shaking breaks.“
“Your War” inspired by a 2003 anti-war protest opens with stark piano before a choir of crooning vocals floats ghostly above. Spectral of strings swirl around complimenting the vocals. Bass lines brings the vocals forth which have a jazzy, torch singer quality to them which suits the moodiness of the music. The music uses cinematic qualities that rely on minimal sound sources, but ones that are used to great effect. Strings soar in orchestral fashion, incidental sounds build moods, brass instruments mirror the vocals, the piano sets the tone and pace for the track and the vocals themselves, are more of an instrument than as a narrative tool. Initially I was thinking this might not be for me, but prior to the end of the track my opinion had changed and that is quite a rare occurence for me.
“Your War (Azamat’s Trilogy Remix)” opens with what sounds like a distant version of the track before the familiar choral voices join and cello cuts in. The reconstruction which removes the piano and places more emphasis on the strings changes the feel of the track. The vocals that were more submerged in the original are brought front and central making the anti-war theme of the track more apparent. While the original felt cinematic, this remix feels like a nice fusion of orchestral and electronic elements (which I haven’t personally haven’t heard since the “Requiem For A Dream Remixes”). The electronic feel of the tracks comes halfway through the almost eleven minutes of the piece and changes the feel and trajectory of the track. The pace picks up with layers of percussion, Synths, additional instrumentation and strings. The music occupies a futuristic template but doesn’t fall onto the tropes of a traditional dance orientated remix, but it does go through a variety of movements that maintain the electronic feel, but not the cliché sound. As the notes mention this is a tryptich remix which has three discernible sections with the opening representing the original closer than the second and third parts. That said, while moving from territory away from the beginning of the track, it does shed new light on the original which is what you are looking for in a remix.
This two-track single is available now with the full album “The Absolute Elsewhere” due out on July 20. It is well worth your attention and at only £2 for the download of the two tracks is a steal.