|Deconstruction Time Again (2015)|
Flunk — Deconstruction Time Again (May 25, 2015)
≡ THE NORWEGIAN MOOD–POP ACT LET REMIXERS HAVE AT THEIR LATEST ALBUM, OFTEN WITH SURPRISINGLY SUCCESSFUL RESULTS.
Location: Oslo, Norway
Album release: US: 25 MAY 2015 / UK: 25 MAY 2015
Record Label: BEATSERVICE
01 Queen of the Underground (Drive Remix) 3:59
02 Awkward (Dogg Edit) 3:52
03 Down (Contepella Bottom End Remix) 3:37
04 Sanctuary (Nosak Remix) 6:12
05 Bummed (Castlebed Remix) 4:21
06 Love and Halogen (Subversive Boy Rework) 4:35
07 Lost Causes (Rashid Ajami Remix) 4:02
08 Down (ChemMister Remix) 8:04
09 Personal Stereo (Jean Claude Ades Extended Mix) 6:29
10 On My Balcony (Sandro S Extended Remix) 6:29
11 Lost Causes (JustCoz Remix) 1:53
12 Awkward (Luca Bluefire Remix) 4:38
13 Down (Knights Of Yigit Refill) 4:12
14 Sanctuary (Wappaa Remix) 4:27
BY JOHN BERGSTROM, 29 May 2015; SCORE: 6/10
≡ There has never been a better time for an EDM makeover. Electronic Dance Music sounds that were once relegated to clubs, bedrooms, and personal stereos are now all over the radio. In that light, Deconstruction Time Again is a brilliant move. Where remix albums traditionally have been cash–ins and/or collectors–only items, this one could actually put the veteran Norwegian band over the top.
≡ There has always been an electronic element to Flunk’s music, but it has usually consisted of the underpinning for their moody, languid indie pop. On Deconstruction Time Again, they have allowed an international slate of producers to bring the synthesizers and machines to the fore. It turns out to have been an inspired decision.
≡ To be sure, this is not candy pop. There’s no Max Martin, Xenomania, or even Avicii to sugar up Flunk’s decidedly Scandinavian disaffection. But the expanded musical palate is often a good match for the minor–key songwriting and Anja Øyen Vister’s cooing, which could easily be mistaken for a mellowed–out Björk.
≡ When it’s working, Deconstruction Time Again does what all thoughtful remixes should do, which is shed new light on the songs by presenting them through a prism of new ideas and perspectives. Most of the 14 tracks are versions of songs from Flunk’s latest, strong studio album, Lost Causes (2013), with a couple older ones thrown in as well. Contepella adds a new punch and bite to the foreboding “Down”, while Dögg achieves an enhanced sense of urgency on the yearning chorus of “Awkward”. Sure, this music would sound great blasting out of your favorite hipster boutique, but it also invites a more intimate listening experience.
≡ Deconstruction Time Again features multiple versions of a few tracks, allowing for comparison and contrast among the different producers’ approaches. Turkish DJ ChemMister ups the tempo and turns “Down” into a gothic house number. Italian Luca Bluefire interprets “Awkward” as analog–driven synth–pop inspired by recent Depeche Mode.
≡ True synergy, however, is achieved when the producers find a mid–point between the dancefloor and the car radio. Jean Claude Ades takes “Personal Stereo” to the disco, but wisely retains enough of the original’s sad and affecting acoustic guitar line to keep it grounded in pathos. Best of all, though, is American Castlebed’s excellent reworking of “Bummed”. Keeping the original’s rather beguiling melody, he adds swooshing synth pans, deep, New Order–style guitar, and terse beats. Thus, a traditional lo–fi indie dreampop strummer becomes a sharp, dynamic, irresistible proposition.
≡ Of course, those who are enamored of the original “Bummed”, or the frankly dreamy nature of Flunk’s music in general, may not appreciate the studio surgery on display here. And when that surgery is less–than–successful, the result is either rather generic downtempo sound, as in Rashid Ajami’s “Lost Causes”, or equally generic house music like Sandro S’ “On My Balcony”.
≡ Deconstruction Time Again, then, is not a complete success. But it is a fresh take on a band whose consistent, homogenous decade–long career was probably due for one.
Artist Biography by John Bush
≡ The Norwegian folktronica foursome Flunk was formed out of the studio jam sessions of a trio of Oslo musicians: producer Ulf Nygaard (also of Folk and Rovere), guitarist Jo Bakke (formerly with the Happy Campers), and drummer Erik Ruud (a member of the Guidance–label act Antenna). After adding vocalist Anja Oyen Vister, Flunk recorded their debut album, For Sleepyheads Only, and released the record through Guidance. A folkie cover of New Order's "Blue Monday" made a bit of headway in the downbeat boom of 2002.
|Deconstruction Time Again (2015)|