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Max Tundra
Remixtape Marthe Lisson , August 23rd, 2022 07:42

Artists including AG Cook, Julia Holter, and Kero Kero Bonito remix and rework cuts from the Max Tundra catalogue

It’s been fourteen years since Max Tundra, aka Ben Jacobs, released his last album Parallax Error Beheads You – or any work as a solo artist for that matter. This is not to indicate that this time he is releasing new material. Sorry. Instead Jacobs is re-issuing his three studio albums and, as a bonus, a collection of remixes, simply called Remixtape.

Jacobs himself is familiar with the art of remixing; he has done it for the Pet Shop Boys, The Strokes and Franz Ferdinand. This time he handed over to artists Julia Holter, A.G. Cook, BABii, Katie Dey, Kero Kero Bonito and Colin Self. Here he closes a cycle of sorts. These artists stand in the tradition of Jacobs’ dense, complex, too-eccentric-for-some music, even if in some cases they have enjoyed greater success than Jacobs himself ever did.

Kero Kero Benito turn ‘MBGATE’ into a J-pop disco track, kicking it off with a virtuoso guitar solo and a Barry White kind-of narrator-voice, then letting it crash into a distorted electronic mishmash. This is picked-up (perhaps unknowingly) by Katie Dey on her cover version of ‘Will Get Fooled Again’. Equally distorted, but heavier on drums. Sweet melodies that sound like synthesised cow bells. Dey did not stray too far from the original composition, rather enhanced every element of it, making it blast out of your stereo. Colin Self remixed ‘Orphaned’ – beautifully harmonised vocals, dramatic instrumentation; his background in theatre shines through.

For the most part, Remixtape is a sourcebook for makers of experimental electro-hyper-pop. The sonic tides turn with BABii’s and then Julia Holter’s remixes. On ‘Lysine’, Holter ejected the original’s beats and created a bubbling under the surface that turns into a massive electronic thunderstorm with piano-synth-lightning. Remixtape closes with a rather surprising Max Tundra piano version of ‘The Entertainment’. A light piano pop tune flirting with jazz, it stands on the opposite side of the musical spectrum of the first five tracks. This is not a remix, per se; more a remaking. An indication that Jacobs might move back from re-making to actual making? We will keep you posted.