Painted Girl - Familiar Trees of the North West
Familiar Trees of the North West
May 22, 2022
Nmesh’s 2017 release Pharma further asserted the artist as a powerful force. Using drugs and detachment as it’s focal point, the two-sided album acts as a wide-reaching landscape for signs and signals to float and dive as ghostly reconstruction. The artist’s often abrasive and explicitly freeform production style stimulates the subject matter. Simultaneously comedic, satirical, austere and awful, Nmesh’s work is the equivalent of cracking through a wall that’s been layered and lacquered with different graffiti for an eternity. You’re never quite sure what will erupt, and it feels like the narrative isn’t that aware either.
Mall Full of Drugs appears around halfway through the first side of the album. A sonic shrine to the gloriously grotesque depiction of drugs in the contemporary world, positioned directly next to the hallucinogenic quality of inebriates itself. A painfully slow ride in a sleek plastic cart through the maelstrom of preventative propaganda and on through the nucleus of a drug itself.
And now, as the curtain closes on another year in this evermore hallucinatory world, Nmesh let’s loose an array of artists to twist and superimpose whatever they may on the 9-minute song in the form of remixes. This is Drug Full of Remixes.
Space Candy brings a slick and pristine production style to the rough and hazy edges of Nmesh’s original. Sporadic and entirely unpredictable, the short remix is a bouncy, easygoing head-bobber one moment, and then a sickly blob of hammering bass drum and watery whistling the next. A beautifully constructed break in the middle allows the track to open up into a wide-reaching landscape. Space Candy pulls our attention to the nooks and crannies of the creation with a distant Jungle-esque drum loop. The loop quickly disperses, the bipolar narrative soon explodes into a perfectly produced, fast-paced onslaught. The former tune that was played out in samples, now heard in a wobbling synth that sags and slops from one side to the other. Space Candy is a master of combining scratching high-frequencies with thundering lows. One of the most impressive names to burst out of the Nightcore movement, the remix bridges a certain gap between two very popular, esoteric genres.
Odd Nosdam takes the reigns next in another short excursion. The Berkeley-based producer channel hops for a moment before hitting us with a all-submerging bassline. A simplistic and nonchalant drum sequence follows along as the huge swamp-like bass opens its gaping mouth every few bars. Interspersed within is a synth that sounds almost like throat-singing, a short section of a sample evidently taken from the source material, and quietly floating spoken samples. The co-founder of Anticon Records gives us a brooding interpretation that fits perfectly within the project.
Reversed Reference takes us swiftly into a heavy-handed and hazy rhythm. The humming that the artist’s mix exerts conjures images of smokey underground clubs where your brain loses its perspicacity and the lights seem to begin to control the beat and not the other way around. The low frequency elements jump from timid to overreaching as the artist moulds the sounds into something new. The track then builds into a 4-to-the-floor rhythm in which a sidechain extracts half of the sample, leaving us with an effervescent melody line. The beat then swallows itself and we find ourselves in a heap outside of the club. The artist has a tremendous amount of production dexterity and patience, the remix has an engaging texture and takes unpredictable twists and turns.
We’ve reviewed Reversed Reference before, read our…with my friends review.
FIRE-TOOLZ makes an unforgettable appearance. The remix starts off incredibly light-hearted, ghostly voices leading into a beautifully positive melody line. The drum machine sequence is fun and carefree, making way for a simplistic yet infectious minute or so. And just as we begin to think that the sound is amazing, albeit a bit too unintimidating from the artist we tumble off an unseen precipice. All silence except for the slow beat of a bass drum. A monstrous bass lights the nothingness that is speeding toward us as we fall. Voices and interjecting sounds begin to collect around us like the ingredients of a drug-infused panic attack. We struggle to keep a calibrated sense of time as screams of paralysis sway backwards and forwards. The huge bass pulses in the very back of our brain as someone screams that they were just stuck in time. The moment, lasting just under a minute, is horribly reminiscent of a trip brought on by a concoction of inebriates and sparked by the inhalation of laughing gas. The same moment repeats, no relent, no escape, no respite.
We’ve reviewed FIRE-TOOLZ before, read our Field Whispers (Into the Crystal Place) review.
OffLand‘s ambient interpretation acts as a much needed salve. The track floats in on ghostly melodies. A steady, distant rhythm appears like a sunrise along the horizon. The swishing undulations of water can be heard as we wet our feet and watch this glorious spectacle unfold. Gargantuan sounds move slowly through the frequency range as we each intricate detail of every rise and fall. A pad plays a heavenly rhythm, a multi-faceted arpeggiating wave washes over us, each note and drop of it glittering like a diamond. OffLand calls aspects in and out of focus, creating a perfect atmosphere of relaxing sound.
EDA takes us down another minimalistic path. The Parking Garage Paranoia Remix consists of very brief clips initiating the end of every beat. Gradually arbitrary noises ease their way into the mix, muffled feedback, the echoed singing of a nightbird, a deep and intimidating thud. A beat begins, sounding like the closing of a car door and some crashing cement. The interpretation is haunting and devoid of comfort, as the humming pads hang there unaccompanied for a fairly long time. Birdsong enters the stereo field once again, following after it a slow and echoed tune. It disappears in an instant, but the effect of the remix is perennial.
SplitSuns starts with an explosion of comedic voices. But before it can burst into some wild and intensely scary sequence, a calm and collected sample takes over. A simple trickling hi-hat rhythm provides a uniform rhythm. Choral voices rise, as does a slowly widening frequency. The percussion disappears, and a light lead takes control of the track. This then turns into ever-rising melodies played out by glitched guitar and bass sounds. Around halfway through we inhale something a bit stranger and enter back into the beat. This time the melody is less obvious, more a fragmented collage of chanting voices and arcade sounds. The sounds continue to pile up on top of each other. A thick sludge of arpeggiated synths and air horns. All of a sudden, with a huge delay effect, the sounds are decimated and turned into dust. Out of this falling dust, another slow-moving and lethargic beat lumbers towards us, it stops and we are left with echoes. The New York-based producer provides us with a beautifully crafted trip with some more hilarious moments intertwined.
Zero Tep’s ‘Come Get Your Friend’ remix begins with screams of paralysis before we are transported through a stretching wormhole of sound to a strange and echoed soundscape. Bass pulses and weaves it’s way around us as a sample melody/beat begins. From the start we can hear the incredible amount of control the artist has over rough and overwhelming bass sounds. Even a brief listen to the producer’s own material is enough to acknowledge that this style of heavy-set bass is characteristic of a Zero Tep track. And as the song really starts to get into a groove, we hear whole beats lost to the gargantuan sound of the low frequency synth bass the artist lets loose. The artists brings back in the voice samples, slowed to an almost unintelligible slur. But what is really enticing is the beautiful rhythms created, the percussion is crisp but also slithers along the ground in one amorphous form with the help of bongo and tom sounds giving it a danceability. The bass rips through everything sporadically, the bass drums hit multiple times in one beat. The result is a remix as trippy as it is infectiously rhythmic.
The self-proclaimed ‘Pharaoh’ of hugely successful label Dream Catalogue makes an appearance. HKE’s remix begins with a heavy-set drum sequence with samples swirling around it like mist atop a pool of water. It continues on like this as the beat holds incredibly steady. The Nmesh samples appear like strobe lights, their speed slowed by inebriation. The experience the artist harbours is clear and evident from the remix, though the aesthetic is crowded and heavily effected, the positioning and arrangement is intricate and thought-out. The synths that hang in the background lure us into the next room of the underground club, desperate to find their source, only to come to in the toilet cubicle with the synths trickling in through the door and the beat stuck like glue in our head.
Hot off the release of the fantastic H Y M N, w i n t e r q u i l t 愛が止ま is the next artist to turn the dial on Nmesh’s track. A reshaping of the choral voices fills the stereo field with icy reverb. A huge scream brings us into a rapid fire hi-hat and snare sequence, slowed samples play out over the rushed drumbeat. The bassline wobbles and glides along with the bass drum’s rhythm. A few BPM’s up from even Drum & Bass, the speed w i n t e r q u i l t 愛が止ま is challenging for the listener to say the least, but provides a unique experience. A rap verse gurgles in the background, echoed and somewhat unintelligible, apart from a break, in which we here the voice repeat ‘lets take X, wanna have sex?’. Voices scream somewhere we can’t see, the drums fall away to make way for a detuned bassline and then the high slowly fades away.
We’ve reviewed w i n t e r q u i l t 愛が止ま read our H Y M N review.
German-based producer Zwansound tries to keep the insurgent feelings of dizziness and nausea at bay with his ‘Counterinsurgency remix’. We start in a somewhat ambient and peaceful soundscape, a bass tone flows underneath us in rhythm. A hi-hat begins to tap out an obvious rhythm as percussive and melodic elements echo past us. The producer creates an atmosphere to bring us through the eye of a needle into a clean and dancey sequence. Laser sounds shoot directly at us as Zwansound keeps a swift feeling about the remix. The beat comes back in, the bass louder now and interjecting on every single beat. Jungle percussion samples begin to appear, snare sounds keeping the listener on their toes. It’s interesting to behold that at a lot of points, the remix is almost entirely percussion, yet because of the work that was put into the intro, we still feel a part of this huge ethereal space. Stuttered voice samples play in time with the beat, hi-hat’s trickle in quantified perfection, creaking samples echo against solid structures. The cold and brutal nature of the production is hugely enjoyable and Zwansound puts enough uniqueness into every section to keep the remix coming for 7 minutes. Pitched voices begin to disorientate us, but then disappear immediately, leaving us in the same echoed landscape. We are asked to ‘think about it’, and with the mind-bending remixes still to come, it’s hard not to think about how fucked up we feel.
Listen in full/download here: https://nmesh.bandcamp.com/album/drug-full-of-remixes