Last year’s ‘Versus’ album saw Detroit techno figurehead Carl Craig collaborating with orchestral conductor Francois-Xavier Roth and classical pianist Francesco Tristano to craft spectacular reworkings of tracks taken from his sprawling backcatalogue, as well as a couple of new Tristano compositions.
Showcasing a consistently thrilling and inventive meeting point between classical instrumentation and electronic production, ‘Versus’ was easily one of 2017’s most maximal and epic-sounding albums, with classic Craig tracks such as ‘At Les’ and ‘Sandstorms’ reappearing in vivid and expansive new incarnations, buttressed with lustrous orchestral arrangements. Six months on, this 12” EP ‘Versus Remixes’ acts as a remix companion, collecting together four consistently strong reworkings of tracks taken from that album.
On the A-side, Henrik Schwarz’s remix of The Melody sends forlorn violins wafting against a backdrop of tightly pressurised tech-house rhythms and dark moody bass runs, before warm swelling horns and stabbing piano riffs gradually begin to rise into the foreground, only for a breakdown into looming strings and plucked instrumentation to cast things into cinematic darkness.
Benedikt Frey meanwhile opts for snapping electro rhythms on his reworking of ‘Domina’, the combination of harsh linear beats and growling overdriven bass inducing a gliding motorik feel as layers of percussive sequences stack up in the background, resulting in what’s easily this EP’s most sinister EBM-laced excursion, with the original track’s opulent orchestration barely making an appearance until the end.
On the flipside, French producer Antigone goes for swirling widescreen beauty on his remix of ‘At Les’, placing a skipping techno pulse beneath dramatic string flourishes and washes of spectral ambience while dark, distorted bass buzzes add an ominous undertone heightening the tension as the track constantly builds atop its relentlessly cycling arrangements.
Lastly, Tom Trago drags things back to the centre of the dancefloor with his remix of ‘The Melody’, counterpointing a thumping 4/4 kickdrum pulse with delicately skipping snares and percussion while blocky bass synth pads noodle off into the distant horizon. Pure class from start to finish.