Twenty years in the past, in an essay in The Village Voice, the author Frank Kogan seen two divergent tendencies in modern widespread music. Heading in a single course had been rock bands pulling wildly varied kinds like trance and New Age into an in any other case unified “rock” sound; and within the different camp had been pop artists he labeled as “Recombinant Dub,” which “take out the ‘lead’ instrument—the singer, the melody, the lead guitar,” and in its absence supply manifold prospects for what points of a track to emphasise or in the reduction of. The primary classification is a near-spot-on description of Spoon, whose nerviness and boxed-in swagger belie their quirky musical selections, at occasions incorporating vibraphones, saz, and beatboxing. And the second may very well be retroactively utilized to Adrian Sherwood, a prolific producer and soundboard mixer whose dub therapies of the whole lot from Lee “Scratch” Perry to Depeche Mode bear a distinctly punky and industrial edge.
On Lucifer on the Moon, these two pathways converge—kind of. Spoon requested Sherwood to remix just a few tracks from their most up-to-date album, this 12 months’s Lucifer on the Sofa, and the band loved his takes a lot they requested he sort out the entire thing. What emerges isn’t Lucifer on the Couch with totally different mixes; Sherwood recorded new components from different musicians for his “reconstructions,” most notably drummer Keith LeBlanc and bassist Doug Wimbish, usually considered the in-house rhythm part for his On-U Sound label. Lucifer on the Moon is fairly a radical remodeling, exhibiting a degree of dedication not often taken by different artists on remix compilations.
And it definitely doesn’t resemble a lot of anything made by both artist. Spoon has by no means sounded as relaxed or as spacy, and Sherwood hasn’t produced something fairly this sunny or shimmering. Such a course is uncommon contemplating the supply materials. For all its sly humor, Couch alternates between music that’s both sleazy and sinister (“The Hardest Reduce,” “Feels Alright”) or druggy and reflective (“My Babe,” “Astral Jacket”). The expectation is Sherwood would foreground these points of Couch, evoking the murk and spookiness of his On-U Sound releases from the 1980s, however Moon is uncharacteristically sprightly, even when the tempos decelerate. Sherwood’s reconstruction of “My Babe” may very well be the soundtrack for a Balearic sunset or a Screamadelica B-side. His upset of “On the Radio” excavates dubby, spliffed-out undertones that weren’t current on the unique model.
But as a rule, the outcomes are awkward. That is significantly true on the remakes of Couch’s energetic, rock-oriented songs. The reconstructions of “Feels Alright” and “Wild” don’t veer too removed from the originals exterior of much more phasing. And Sherwood maintains the identical pulse on the downcast title monitor, however together with his beachier combine it begins to recall early-2000s chillout lounge music, a interval that doesn’t want a revival. A part of the issue is Britt Daniel, whose scratchy voice and quasi-sneering supply go well with Spoon’s suit-and-tie rock however bristle towards a lusher backdrop.
It’s pure to match Moon to different dub-meets-indie-rock forays like Bill Callahan’s Have Fun With God and even Sherwood’s Echo Dek, his related overhaul of Primal Scream’s 1997 album Vanishing Level. However a greater analogy is perhaps the Fireman, Paul McCartney and Youth’s ambient-house renovations of the previous’s studio-pop LPs. Moon additionally showcases an unlikely collaboration that pushes each side in new instructions. However in making an attempt to interrupt new inventive floor, these ingenious musicians find yourself sounding caught someplace within the center.
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