Flare

Re-Grip

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A follow-up release to "Grip", an album from the previous year released by Ken Ishii, aka Flare. Re-Grip is an odd epic of a remix project, featuring a single reinterpretation of each track from the original release. Ishii himself only contributes a single remix, and instead lets the album be a showcase for everyone else. This is not an uncommon theme in electronica; remixes can sometimes bear such little resemblance to the source material, it usually ends up sounding like an original composition. The best example in Re-Grip is the opening track, ‘Turbinates (Eye Yamataka mix)'. There is nothing very Western about the mix, and not much of Ken Ishii's influence either, which makes it a strange standout; a blister on something smooth and metallic. Frankly, it's as if the album starts twice -- first with Yamataka's organic drumming and buzzing, and then again with track 2, ‘Cycling Around (Keigo Oyamanda mix)', where this and the subsequent tracks take on more of the original spirit of Ken Ishii and Flare. A particularly bright spot on the disc comes from Hoshihiro Sawasaki, who remixes the track ‘Curved Sunburst' with straightforward energy, and to great effect. This track in particular says something the others don't: that you are somehow excited to be handling Ken Ishii's material. Everyone here is certainly exploring (and using Ishii's samples), but the progress is harder to identify. This is a mostly worthwhile addition to your electronic music collection, with an emphasis on diversity, exploration, and a distinctly Asian approach. Western ears may tune out from time to time, but only to be surprised what pulls them back in.

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