It’s been a long summer, and one spent mostly away from buzzing hardware and bright screens. That doesn’t mean it was spent without some quality music, though. As to who won the “Battle of the Playlists – Summer Edition”, there’s very little doubt in my mind. A total gem of a remix album by Little People, called ‘We Are But Hunks of Wood’.
Some context. Little People is the alias of Laurent Clerc, a Swiss/UK producer that published his debut album “Mickey Mouse Operation” in 2006. As he explains in this interview, his style has shifted a bit since then, from extensively relying on samples to creating more of his own unique sounds. You can find a full biography here.
We Are But Hunks of Wood (Remixes) is a tiny masterpiece of downtempo electronica, combining lush synth textures with intricate percussion. There’s so much there you will discover new things even after you’ve played it a dozen times. From downtempo glitch-hop over oldschool trip-hop to Metro Area-esque dance floor vibes: it’s all here. Let me walk you through two of my favourite tracks.
Eminence Grise (Set in Sand Remix) is like falling down the rabbit hole one a double dose of whatever Lewis Carroll was doing. There’s things going on in every nook and cranny, various rhythms and harmonies, yet there’s some overarching structure to the song. A melody of glitchy chimes evolves into expanding synth structures and a woman humming in the background. You can just hear her singing, and then she’s gone. New synth lines take over, the beat keeps evolving, there’s a giant break and then is the synth arpeggio at 2:57. Pure bliss that one. In short: it’s the kind of track I will use in ten years’ time when I go out and buy new monitors. The kind of track you know and love, and is so well-crafted you can tell the quality of your listening equipment by what you’re missing but know should be there.
Electrickery (Joey Fehrenbach Remix) is a bit different. Even though there’s some variation in the track, it’s the hypnotizing effect of the notes that keep repeating over and over again that make this a winner. From the opening chord and gated melody that gradually appears through the cracks in the aural texture, the track steadily marches on, accompanied by a bass that’s very much minding it’s own business, albeit in quite an enjoyable groove. The melody teases the listener in the distance, only to return in full and sing out the rest of the track. Simple, yet stunning.
I’m pretty sure We Are But Hunks of Wood (Remixes) will survive 2014 to make my top 3 of the year. Excellent album. I don’t even know why you’re still reading this. Head over to Bandcamp. Download that stuff.
If you would like to find out more about the artist, Little People is doing a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) on the Listen to this page Wed Sept 3rd at 3PM EST. Keep your eye on http://www.reddit.com/r/listentothis/ Or if you’re in the US, catch the artists live at one of his upcoming US shows.
Little People – Eminence Grise (Set in Sand Remix)
Little People – Electrickery (Joey Fehrenbach Remix)
This review was originally published on netlabelism.com, an online music magazine covering netlabel culture and releases. I was editor for the magazine from January 2011 until December 2014.