Track Review: Atoms for Peace & Other Lives – 50WEAPONSXTR01

[Monkeytown; 2012]

I reviewed Other Lives’ Tamer Animals back in 2011 and found it to be a thought-provoking folk record complimented by dark ambient meanderings. The original title track was a piano-heavy rumination reminiscent of The National’s High Violet in its emotional breadth and subdued pacing. While a great track, it wasn’t exactly shouting out for someone to remix it. Nevertheless, Atoms for Peace, best known for featuring Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s Flea, take a stab at doing so in the first track of two on their new 12″ single.

The minimalistic beat that Atoms for Peace bring to the track changes up the mood considerably. While the original sounds sorrowful, Atoms for Peace’s remix sounds like little more than a studio experiment, retaining very little of what made the original interesting. Select vocal clips are still used, but they don’t gel particularly well as samples when combined with the beat. The track feels somewhat sporadic and unnecessary for the majority of its first half, and some of the reversed sound effects throughout become irritating when pushed forward in the mix. Things become a little more interesting in the second half, although the remix still lacks a particular melody, eventually becoming a messy mishmash of bubbling electronics. The dub-like climax is passable, although it feels like a relatively undeserved pay-off.

The B-side of the single is a remix of Atoms for Peace’s own track, “Other Side.” It is, perhaps, more interesting than the “Tamer Animals” remix, although again, it’s a track that you’ll listen to once or twice and then move on from. It sounds like an instrumental that would have appeared on LCD Soundsystem’s 45:33, changing little throughout its duration. Its blips and beeps have an appeal, although it’s difficult to draw much out of the track; the submerged vocal samples in the latter half are reasonably interesting, but the remix as a whole isn’t especially engaging.

Both of the tracks suffer from a lack of ambition–they improve in their latter halves, but they take too long to get there. The music itself isn’t anything that hasn’t been heard before, and neither really improve upon the original source material. As remixes, they’re inoffensive, but it’s hard to recommend either side of the single when both fail to deliver anything meaningful.

Tamer Animals – 5/10

Other Side – 5/10