By Paul Ballard
Following the release of the brilliant We Walked Home Together last year, Basque-based electronic artist El_Txef_A, aka Aitor Etxebarria returns with the first in what will be a triptych of Remix Packs. These not only allow him the opportunity to expand, explore and share his sound, but also herald the launch of his new Forbidden Colours label as part of a limited vinyl release.
This first EP reportedly explores some of the darker aspects, but surprisingly there is some considerable variation here in terms of tone without really demanding any knowledge of the original release. Instead of trying to improve on each original, they act more as a continuation of the same journey.
Of the five tracks presented here, three are re-interpretations of the elegant Claim Of Planet Earth. First upEduardo De La Calle does a wonderful job transforming what is essentially an anthemic stunner, into 7 minutes of hypno-tech bliss. Retaining the original chord structure, this one wears a very different guise as it shuffles uninterrupted into position. But don't be fooled by its seemingly calm demeanour, as it transforms into something far more discerning amidst the paranoid percussion.
Chicago-based Black Madonna chooses a slightly more traditional path with a drizzling Italo-influenced bassline over 90s-style keys. Retaining the mysterious twisted vocals, this one ticks along pleasantly enough, but without the deliciously soaring vibes it meanders to a conclusion without really bumping into any of the furniture.
Luckily, faith is restored as Tel-aviv based duo Deep'a & Biri find a more adventurous space to play. Retaining the uplifting sway of the original, they gently move things up a couple of floors through blissful chords and sticky dubbed-out drum patterns. Pitching the vocals add a bounce to proceedings as the driving 4/4 shifts and swirls within this sun-soaked beauty.
Continuing the upswing is Andres Aguirre's take on The Love We Lost feat. Woolfy. Picking up where the original left-off, the moody vocals dissolve into the bright colours of this laser-driven stormer. There is pretty much no escaping this house-piano workout, and although taking a less emotional direction, this one certainly holds its own.
For me though, the true standout of this collection is reserved for fellow Permanent Vacationstalwarts Lake People and their re-rendering of Every Day Is Blue Monday. The delicate ambience of the original is scaffolded here by a beautifully twisted 303 and rolling breakbeat. Meggy's looping vocals complete this cathedral acid-trip as they dance between the organ pipes and crashing cymbals.
Hats off indeed. A wonderful way to celebrate the release of a new label and I eagerly look forward to hearing what the two remaining excursions have in store.
Available digitally through most online stores, and on limited vinyl directly throughwww.forbiddencolours.net