Based respectively in Australia and the UK, electronic producers Bassling and Kelp launched the Shinobi Cuts label in 2014 as a channel to release music created as part of their ongoing ‘remix chain’ project, which sees members of the Ninja Tune online forum remixing a track in sort of ‘Chinese whispers’ style, whereby each subsequent producer adds their own additions and alterations, before the track eventually returns to the original artist in its newly evolved form.
This sixth volume in the series ‘Different Use’ sees MDK (who originally released two albums on cult Brighton label Spymania, home of early releases by Squarepusher) contributing raw material in the form of his track of the same name, to be reworked by a characteristically global cast of remixers. In its original mix form ‘Different Use’ offers up a sheeny slice of IDM-kissed electro that sees staccato breakbeats locking into place against glacial phased pads and twittering ambient samples, the sense of wide-eyed grandeur nicely balanced with a visceral snapping edge.
As you’d expect, it’s fascinating to hear the track being progressively reshaped by the 14 other remixers assembled here, before being passed back to its original creator. Bassling packs squelching bursts of analogue synths into his reworking alongside an acrobatic live bassline while the clattering beats that judder beneath feel constantly on the edge of falling apart, before DJ Pnutz takes things out into swaggering dubby house as fat distorted bass swells balance against trailing organ keys and limber drum breakdowns, in what’s easily one of the biggest headphone stereo treats here.
Elsewhere, Ethan Hein’s remix lays down a snapping breakbeat groove against ominous dubbed-out guitar echoes and squelching acid 303 patterns, the entire track echoing through vast layers of reverb in what’s one of the grittier moments here, before Demi Rough’s reworking drags the track into more sheeny waters as warm vibraphone tones and gleaming synths cling to whirring, glitchy rhythms and stray electronic murmurs.
Indeed, by the time the track has returned to original creator MDK via CitiXen, it’s almost completely unrecognisable from its original version, recast as a dazzling wander through shuffling, warehouse-tinged tech-house. You can get ‘Different Use’ as a name your price download via the Bandcamp link below.