CD, Brume Records/Tympanik Audio, 2008
To release a successful remix album (i.e., a compendium of songs by various artists, remixed by a single artist), an artist must first be of a certain caliber, that is to say, one that already exhibits a successful body of work. From this established portfolio are drawn various examples of the artist’s craft and vision, each carefully selected and ordered to create a sort of retrospective that appears in album form, and more significantly, stands together as an entity independent of the sources from whence it derived. Aphex Twin did it brilliantly with the snide “26 Mixes For Cash” (2003), a walloping paragon of the remix album model. Flint Glass (Gwenn Trémorin), having built a name in post-industrial dark electronics through various releases, remixes and side projects (notably Tzolk’in), not to mention tireless creativity and production prowess, delivers a natural winner with “Circumsounds.” Jointly released on Trémorin’s own Brume Records and on the relatively young label Tympanik Audio, the disc holds a collection of uniquely Flint Glass treatments, material taken from fourteen artists, which demonstrates Trémorin’s competence in his art. This is a man who knows what to do upon receiving a remix kit.
“Circumsounds” gathers tracks from several of the usual suspects (Zonk’t, Tzolk’in, Sci Fi Industries, Prospero, HIV+, Empusae, Displacer) and other, lesser known or unexpected projects (Thermidor, Suicide Inside, Shizuka, OTX, Polygon, Eretsua, Disharmony), overall a healthy mixture of sounds and sources by which Flint Glass can prove remixing adroitness. The collection begins quietly, setting a mood befitting this brand of music with Polygon’s “Gestern” and “Plenum Aquae” from Thermidor. These openers build gradually, with oppressive ambient passages and penetrating, saturnine effects. Stormy “Plenum Aquae” is instrumental in introducing the resonating drums and soaring movement that characterizes “Circumsounds,” an indelible Flint Glass signature imprinted on each of the collection’s haunting pieces. The prominent drums serve throughout as primal pulse and emphatic structure for an atmosphere unmatched in depth and darkness, the gripping, menacing force that seethes and festers in the periphery. Tracks like Shizuka’s “Les Esprits,” “Doors of Perception” from HIV+ and “Air Field” by Zonk’t confirm that spacious, minimal arrangements are where Flint Glass excels, though others such as Empusae’s “Beauty-of-Decay,” Suicide Inside’s “Angel” and Disharmony’s “Sacred Truth” argue Trémorin’s virtuosity lies in heavier, rhythmic noise orientations. “Contagion & Rebirth” from Prospero hits home with evil drum’n’bass, and the remarkable Displacer and Tzolk’in takes provide enduring validation of the “Circumsounds” gestalt.
In short, this remix album is not to be missed.
— Dutton Hauhart