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Listening to art. Playing with audio. Sounding out technology. Composing in code. Rewinding the soundscape.

Loraine James and the Art of the Remix A/B

The club/IDM musician reworks a new Lunch Money Life track.

There’s nothing quite like a remix A/B, one of my favorite forms of listening pleasure: comparing the before and after when one artist reworks another. It’s all the better if the experience of the transition is reversed: if the original track is unfamiliar, and you hear it only after first witnessing a remix of it by someone whose work you already admire.

Such is the case with British club/IDM musician Loraine James, who has grabbed the track “Lincoln” from the quintet Lunch Money Life (off their new album, Immersion Chamber), and as if with so much Silly Putty reshaped it to match her own vision.

The original is exceptional groove-heavy electronic jazz. The band (Stewart Hughes, drums; Sean Keating, guitar; Luke Mills-Pettigrew, bass; Jack Martin, electronics and trombone; Spencer Martin, electronics and saxophone) finds new life in the genre, the key being how reworked the music sounds even in its first iteration. The track breaks frequently as it moves from phase to phase, different instruments taking prominence, digital effects adding glitches, echoes, and other treatments in unpredictable maneuvers.

And that’s before Loraine James takes hold of it. She removes any concessions to a live-band vibe, in favor of something that is very much in her own mode. She locates especially tasty rhythmic elements from the original and sets them on repeat. The tweaks she introduces then gather a more immediate sense of remove from the source material — and like so much sugar on top, bits of pachinko-parlor melodies get drizzled on throughout. And because it’s James, the track must come with a challenge. Eventually that dependable rhythm is encouraged to fall apart, to flail and jitter like Max Headroom after a particularly wild LAN party. In the process, James both helps the listener locate what makes the Lunch Money Life original so strong, and also manages to produce something that is very much her own.

Album and remix originally posted at lunchmoneylife.bandcamp.com.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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