CD, West Audio Production, 2008
Norwegian duo Athana, having released three albums since 2005, decided it was high time to commission a sort of remix retrospective. Though their original music mainly features ‘unorthodox’ guitar work by Alf Terje Hana, combined with ‘experimental’ studio production from Arne Hovda, “Remixed 05-08” ensures a full electronic treatment for their compositions over a variety of genres. The end results were left up to the thirteen remixing artists, given complete freedom to do what they liked in order to transform whatever Athana actually sounds like into something conceivably completely different. What occurs is a rather mediocre collection containing vague jazz and pop influences and a spectrum of strictly electronic styles. For those unfamiliar with the originals (author included) – or even for those who are – the formula likely loses something in translation and becomes nothing outstanding.
Among the thirteen remixed tracks each song is unique, aside from “Funk #4” which appears a record three times. There is a distinct progression in the album, more-or-less building to the square wave climaxing of Lingouf’s “Alien Elephants” remix from humble beginnings in the cheesy electro/house of “A-aa (Sternklang Remix)” that serves as album opener; quite a contrast, and in fact refreshing to witness such a change. However the majority of installations on “Remixed 05-08” are, unfortunately, forgettable. Some even seem to exist to disappoint. The supremely chilled-out downtempo of “Ocean 0306 (Mungolian Jetset’s Cruusin’ with the Henleys Mix)” works well right up until the vocals drop in. Similarly, HOH’s slow-beat and simply-layered melodic treatment of “Picazzo” has potential but lacks depth, and the stuttering of “Funk #4 (Cüret Remix)” is just boring.
More interesting are the Ost & Kjex remix of “Funk #4” – straightforward minimal/acid house with fitting guitar accents – and “Half Awake Running (Nes Remix)”, a colorful series of ambient passages strewn with lengthy intervals of glitchy, abrasive beats, screeching saxophones and guitar jamming. Vasøk’s vision of “Samaka” is engaging, a repetitive and mechanized post-techno/industrial session, as is the driving, ‘big beat-esque’ (it’s the guitar) techno churner “Porten (Qrt Remix)” and the bluesy, vocal-heavy “Luskesangen” version. So from house to downtempo/lounge to IDM and then on to sped-up, schizoid breakcore, the album finally arrives at the aforementioned (redemptive) “Alien Elephants”, a ten-minute guarantee to stand up and take notice. From a rhythmic noise orientation – sonic density with broken beat structures – the track develops into a formidable, seething industrial-hardcore opus not to be missed. Sadly, it alone is not enough to push “Remixed 05-08” past the average mark.
— Dutton Hauhart