In the latest offering from Belgian label Night on Earth, the works of Tzii, one of the prime representatives of the label, are the basis for a dual CD-R/DVD-R release, coming in an intriguingly beautiful, handcrafted silkscreen packaging with a limited run of 300 copies. However, as is often the case with limited releases, the bar is set high for the content of the release to at least match the quality of the packaging.
Albeit the audio part of the set consists of work offered by other artists experimenting with the original Tzii material, straight from the tracklisting, one can notice that there is little repetition of individual source tracks, thankfully avoiding a frequent pitfall of many a remix album. Diving into the material proper, any fears of repetition quickly dissolve, as each remix has something new to offer, even when tackling the same original material, giving the perspective and interpretation of each of the contributing artists in a manner both distinct, yet retaining the tone of the original Tzii work.
Ranging from the menacingly dark drone and drums of “Swamp Ritual ” to the more mysterious undertones and strings of “Go East”, the record features a fair share of notable moments, with excellent fluctuations both in style and intensity. The remake of “I Killed Her” is one example of said fluctuations, offering a surprisingly catchy rhythmic revision of the original track, that would normally feel out of place in a typical dark ambient album, yet here serves as a reminder of the nature of this record’s purpose to reinterpret and repurpose the source material into something different yet equally effective.
Thus, the entire record manages to offer a tight and balanced payload of dark electronics, with the right amount of “flavour” from the remixing artists to remain entertaining, evenn to those accustomed to such works. A perfect accompaniment for reading and contemplation, if not one prone to cause the listener to be drawn away in order to observe the tunes in display more carefully.
The DVD-R contains original material from Tzii, in the form of an aural basis for the unraveling of few short films. Here, there is more variation to the contributions, which unfortunately goes both ways. Some of the videos, while not bad in themselves, almost unavoidably fall into some of the dark genre cliches. The butchery material is here, along with its friend the gimmicky fake blood, into what sometimes feels like a reunion of the basic shock/splatter elements. Still, the strength of some of the video in display cannot be denied, and the reminiscence of the work of other notable video artists such as Cunningham is more than welcome.
In the end, the themes of the darkness within each of us, the solitude of being and the strength that it can provide, along with the wrongness said strength and dark energy can lead to, are imprinted to the viewer through the combination of video and audio, which, I guess, was the intent of the creators, and one overally well accomplished.
All in all, this release is an easy recommendation to anyone intrigued by finecrafted aural and visual displays of dark themes, be it an audience uninitiated to the original tracks, or one seeking something new yet (un)comfortably familiar.
— George Mouratidis