Lost & Found
Something is rotten in the state of Denmark, though it isn’t the new EP Lost Reworks from Denmark’s famed techno-pop producing prince Trentemøller. All alliteration aside, Trentemøller is much more than a “techno artist.” He began his musical career in the late nineties, playing in several indie rock outfits before turning to electronic music as his main means of expression. But his indie rock roots never left him, which became evident on 2010’s Into the Great Wide Yonder, which displayed live instrumentation steeped in both the indie and post-punk genres. The follow-up to Yonder was 2013’s epic Lost. Undefinably amazing, the album featured a gamut of indie guest star vocals, ranging from fellow Danes Ghost Society and Sune Rose Wagner of The Raveonettes to The Drums frontman Jonny Pierce and famed slow-core savants Low.
As Oscar Wilde said, “The one duty we owe to history is to rewrite it.” And on Lost Reworks‘ seven tracks, Trentemøller has chosen to take on Wilde’s challenge, even offering to let fellow musicians Toydrum, Unkwon, T.O.M. And His Computer, and Jenny Wilson have a go at a few tracks as well.
Though remixes are nothing new, they usually end up sounding more or less like their originals with the drop bass in a different place. However, the tracks on Reworks, when listened to subsequently with their twins on Works, become fraternal, even unrelated.
Reworks opens with Trentemøller’s reworking of “River of Life,” which features vocals by Ghost Society, and offers no traces of the New Orderish sounding original. It blends hard-hitting synths with fuzzed out guitar and bass, while the simplest of drum beats helps keep the song flowing. After a bit of an electronic breakdown, the guitar and bass return full force and the track closes in a fugue of noise. The second rework of “River of Life,” done by T.O.M. And His Computer, turns the tune into an even poppier version than the original. For his remix T.O.M. leaves the machines in the background and allows Ghost Society’s ghostly-melodic vocals to carry the song along.
Jenny Wilson’s reworking of “Candy Tongue” features sitar-sounding synths and belly dancing beats, coupled with Danish singer Marie Fisker’s operatic vocals. Trentemøller’s original in contrast is stark and brilliant, balanced by childlike xylophonic beats and Fisker’s vocals, smooth and lush, that echo hauntingly throughout.
Reworks also sees two remixes of “Come Undone,” featuring Blonde Redhead’s Kazu Makino. The original is soft and bleak. Samples of crackling of vinyl at the beginning of the record pervade the song, laced with mellow synths, while Makino sings soft laments on love. Toydrum’s version opens with heavy, bassy horns and synths and catchy, bouncy beats, and Makino’s now machine-processed vocals become a blur in the background. Trentemøller’s own rework of “Come Undone” is an ode to Depeche Mode, and perhaps a hint of what’s to come next.