It’s been quite a while since we last heard from Sydney-based band Underlapper, indeed they’ve been distinctly quiet on the release front during the five years that have passed since the release of their impressive third album ‘Softly Harboured.’ Thankfully this latest download-only album ‘Counterweight’ sees them breaking the silence with a compilation of all of their remix work done for other artists during 2010-2013. What assembling all of this work in the one place really throws into sharp contrast is just how much Underlapper approach each of their remixes as an individual thing. While there are some common sonic points, there’s a very divergent range of moods and styles being explored here, often within the space of a single track.
The opening reworking of Parades’ ‘Hunters’ sees trailing treated piano chords and fluttering glitchy rhythms providing a delicately floaty backdrop for massed vocal harmonies and stretched-out, plangent-sounding chords, only for things to suddenly accelerate off into breakcore junglist rhythms and doomy descending synths before things flame out into a wall of squealing electronics. Ambrose Chapel’s ‘A Small Return To Big Nothing’ meanwhile gets reshaped into a glacially rolling mass of eerie minor key synths that sits somewhere between John Carpenter and Boards of Canada as layers of clattering broken rhythms slowly rise into the foreground against ominous chanted vocal invocations, offering up what’s easily one of this collection’s spookier moments.
Elsewhere, Mr. Maps’ ‘Totalism’ becomes a hypnotic wash of digitally manipulated piano keys, cello strokes and wordless vocal harmonies that’s gradually overtaken by reversed guitar samples and clattering snares before the entire track blurs out amidst walls of soothing ambient drones, the digitally manipulated drum solo that thunders beneath sitting at odds with the lulling sense of calm that envelopes it. The reworking of Loopsnake’s ‘Galaxy Porn’ follows a similarly woozy trajectory as skittering, almost trap-inflected snare rolls trace a path beneath delayed-out vocal ripples and icily wistful analogue synth swells. All up, ‘Counterweight’ sees Underlapper managing to drag the source material here off into unpredictable new directions, with consistently intriguing results.
You can get ‘Counterweight’ as a name your price download from http://feralmedia.bandcamp.com/album/counterweight-collected-remixes