Listencorp review image of with my friends by reversed reference

…with my friends (remixes)

Reversed Reference


Liam Murphy

June 23, 2020

Tracks in this feature

Tracks in this release

A shroud of artefact-ridden dust begins …with my friends (remixes). 部屋 208 bathes the melodic synth from give it up…

A shroud of artefact-ridden dust begins …with my friends (remixes). 部屋 208 bathes the melodic synth from give it up in warm heavenly reverb as it inches upwards in pitch. A juddering sound propels us as the sounds continue to ascend, glimmering as the listener hears shards of synth peel off and float back down to the ground. The euphoria is broken by thudding, almost defunct bass. The artist pulls the vocal hook from the original track and slams it front and centre, every sibilating vowel and consonant forced to the very top of the mix. A pad begins to emerge, a drumbeat begins a quickening of momentum. We find ourselves narrowed into a tunnel going at some speed as the artist readies us to follow them. A squelching bass and crashing snare set up a heavy, domineering beat. This is followed closely with a bass sound that spreads across the percussive elements. What follows is a twinkling melody line set amidst bursts of rhythmic hi hat and snare. 部屋 208 does everything to make a rich and multi-layered atmosphere, integrating echoed guitar and choral vocals. The track is an emotive journey, the artist’s poppy drum choice supercharging the remix.

Fire-Toolz remixes monochrome death for the next track. Distorted guitar writhes about at the very start before a heavy robotic fist comes smashing through the mix. The first moments of the remix sounds like a NASCAR event gone wrong. A revving sound fills the background of the mix as machines whir and screech. The space clears as the artist brings in these beautiful, euphoric string sounds. Slowly the brazen percussion floats away, leaving a methodical beat to lead us into the next section. Guitar chords ebb over to us on a harmless wind, almost sounding like mirages from a sun-soaked place. A beautiful vocal line emerges, untainted and laden with artificial beauty. The movement from dissonance to melody is effortless, as it so often is with this artist. That steady resonant beat taken from the original song still strides around at the back, but Fire-Toolz smothers the mix with effervescent sound, creating a tranquil atmosphere. We come full circle at the end however though, brought back to hammering bass drum and unpredictable modular shifts.

Enraile’s remix of decision deciphered wastes little time, pumping the original track’s hook melody with huge drums and perfectly timed bass. Glitched vocals are actioned to match the main melody, giving Enraile time to swipe at us with this chattering drum and bass rhythm. On the original …with my friends release, decision deciphered showcased this grimy sound, a sawtooth synth played this melody as Reversed Reference coated it with noisey samples and overdriven drum loops. Here, Enraile places it into a clearer context, allowing the melody to soar with the help of the disembodied vocals. Two incredibly insightful experiences born from one stimulus melody.

believe in this starts with a bass drum that sounds like a pen stabbing through paper. A repetitive melodic loop calls out like a hidden beacon nestled somewhere underwater. Vylter builds a dizzying experience, some facets of the percussion dashing low-frequency echoes out into the muddy stereo field. Toward the end, these roaring piano notes seem to begin to bring the more tonal sides of the track to the forefront. One can’t help but envision this bleak and murky world, and be thankful to Vylter for lifting us out of the entrancing loop that held us at the start of the track.

bubba rip the noodling piano notes from the original EP’s opening track taint for their remix. Chainmail percussion keeps the time at the very start as other arbitrary sounds begin to appear. An arpeggiating string begins to unfurl alongside the piano sample. With the interjection of a heavy bass drum an eerie atmosphere is created, halloween-like notes peel off into the ether. What was an ambivalent sense of austere in the original has now become a devilish, ghoulish creepiness. The second part of the track trades noodling piano for even heavier use of the bass drum. The halloween-like notes now create a different rhythm, moving away from the original sample. Bass drum throbs from deep within the track as bubba creates a track reminiscent of a UK Grime instrumental.

Soft was this wonderful, almost improvisational track on the original EP. Here however, Van Orhari creates this completely new atmosphere. Timid synths modulate, creating this uncertain wall of noise in the background. An arpeggiating sound that is soft and ghostly comes to rain down on the track, shifting and moving with the emotional value of a classical piece. Like the sun coming up, a whole new set of sounds begin to appear over the horizon of the mix. Van Orhari marches twinkling synths and stumbling bass sounds toward us before they disappear. We find ourselves between two worlds of nature, the call of the dolphin and the chirping of the birds becoming one.

The macro remix by Greystar begins with a trip-hop sensibility. A steady rhythm tinged with a light room-style reverb, giving this cool and calm atmosphere. A distorted rumbling bass trips from high notes to muffled lower ones. A binary chord and bass sequence giving each other aspect a rigid structure to work with. Glistening pads drift in, perfectly mixed into the ether background. They shift upwards in pitch randomly, the further regions of the mix contrasting the simplistic beat and melody with amorphous sounds and textures. At around the midpoint, a squelching bass takes more of a control of the track. Its resonant tone galvanises the surroundings. Everything hums with life, but the style of the track is still fairly laidback.

Another fast paced reimagining as W3imaraner reimagines styro as a dramatic speed ballad. Cloudy synths move slowly from chord to chord, given a clear and rapid structure by the percussion. The artist lets these synths grow a little bit on their own, allowing the listener to hear them without the hindrance of any sequenced drums. But slowly they creep back in on the back of a repeated note. More matter-of-fact and restrained in their delivery at first. Claps begin to shift from one side of the mix to the other as W3imaraner builds the track up once again. Beautifully organic chimes begin to twinkle amidst the growing noise. And then silence, and even the most experienced of music listeners will wonder where they’ll be dragged too next. The artist brings the original tune and percussion in, thundering back into the fore with clattering hi hats and heavy drum work. The reprise is short lived, and we are carried out by the thick synth notes.

Ahero‘s remix of end of the line//行末 injects a junglist sensibility into that beautiful melody from the original track. Synth notes sit in back of the mix, pushing their way through the rough jungle drum sample. Everything has this layer of fuzz worked into its design, giving the track an authentic and deteriorated feel, but Ahero does not let this lo-fi quality affect his sense of sequencing and song structure. Emotive synth lines begin to emerge, with a taunting eeriness. All the way through, the intensity of the song is augmented by the shattering ride cymbal included in the sample. The track always working away, creating this full and overwhelming sound. 

Rakshal digs a little deeper than the others. Uncovering a 50-second filler track on the b-sides EP that Reversed Reference themselves confessed had ‘no musical qualities’. The artist certainly proves them wrong! Bell sounds resonate as a voice recites a fragmented speech. A real feeling of anonymity carries on, as the voice is broken up and sampled. A plosive consonant made into a rhythmic guideline as an 808 drumbeat begins. The slow bell sounds chime somewhere above us as each percussive aspect reveals itself. And all of a sudden, an earth shattering bass opens the doors to a wide-reaching landscape. We can hear where the bell sounds are disappearing, floating over the horizon. The earth beneath us vibrating from the force of the bass. The vocal sounds remain the same, the voice whittled down to a mere percussive hit, completely alone in the otherworldly track.

cysteke rounds off the remix EP beginning with a brash synth melody. Gradually, dust and haze begin to build behind it. A rumbling sound rising to the surface of the mix, coming toward the listener. After a while, it becomes deafening. The sandy feedback pushing right toward the very epicentre of the mix. It fades after a while, but it is at that point, we are blindsided. Completely unaware of what comes next, an apocalyptic bassline begins to stab out, its epic nature refined even more by the slow, methodic drum line. The artist plays with dynamic massively in the track, falling to timid, quiet sounds one minute, to blast deafening crescendos out the next. The artist builds again, this shroud of mechanised darkness crawling over the simple synth line. The huge breakdown hits us once again. cysteke finishes off this collection in a massive way, before strumming a vague rendition of the main section of his remix on a broken down, detuned guitar.

…all my friends shone with this beautiful originality. Reversed Reference commanded a range of sounds and genres, concocting wonderfully imaginative songs with friends and alone. This friendly energy is now transmuted by a group of incredibly talented artists. Each of them entering into the remix not as an insurgent, but as a companion. In every track, they bolster up what they believe to be the effective aspects of the originals, and in doing so, create a totally new insight into Reversed Reference’s fantastic musicianship.