"Metropolism" (Album, 2011)
Fifteen-track (count ‘em!) remix counterpart to Parralox’s Metropolis album. Not quite sure what happened here with the PR machine, as I received this but not the album that spawned it – making a compare and contrast review impossible. But knowing (and being partial to) Parralox and their frequently rewarding German label Conzoom we can take this on its own merits. Markus Reinhardt’s remix of Acrimony is a haunting way to kick things off. A beautiful song with vocals by John von Ahlen whose voice drifts into Arabic chanting at times blending perfectly with an almost ambient trip hop vibe of light percussion and a brilliant melody. Acrimony is one of the best Parralox songs ever.
In contrast, this is immediately followed by Iris’ remix of Ancient Times bringing us firmly back into a more familiar domain for both acts. Before long we’ve the husky tones of Amii Jackson, the Aussies’ fondness for disco-inspired electro pop, vocoders, pitch-bending keyboard solos and the like bringing us back to traditional Parralox territory. Other names lending their remix dexterity include Rotersand (New Light), Edge of Dawn (I Sing The Body Electric), Dubstar (Machines), Code 64 (Love Is Enough), and Tycho Brahe (Miracles).
As always with this two-piece, the quality of production is of a standard that even the largest labels would be proud of putting out. In many respects Metropolism is the ideal remix album; those unfamiliar with Parralox get a good cross-section sampling of their style with remixes both by guests and the band themselves; as for fans this is most definitely a worthwhile addition to an already quite stylish collection. 7/10
Rob Dyer (July 2011)
"Hotter" (EP, 2009)
You know when you really like a song? I mean really like a song? And (if you're of the right age) you remember in the 80s and early 90s when bands would release 12" singles with multiple remixes of that single song you really like? Wasn't that just fantastic?! Actually, in those days they normally used to eek out those songs over several 12"s. I forget how many versions of Depeche Mode's Strangelove I eventually managed to track down back in 1987. But in amongst all of them were a couple of corkers. Well, it seems both German label conzoom and Australian band Parralox have fond memories of those days too, as this seven-track EP (available both as a digital download and limited run CD) includes six interpretations of Hotter from the album State of Decay. The CD version includes an additional 5 tracks.
It's a brave and impressive move, and its success pivots entirely on the merits of the source composition. Rather unfortunately, that's where the concept begins to unravel for me. Lyrically, this piece of pristine synthpop weaves its way around a memorable chorus line of "You're just what I'm looking for. I just wish you were a little bit hotter". More Pussycat Dolls than The Human League - and at risk of sounding like an old fuddy duddy, a slightly distasteful sentiment (yep - fuddy duddy!). Though you have to admire their honesty. (Or perhaps I've missed the point - perhaps this is a cynical view of the superficiality of some people...?) My favourite entry is the band's own mellow Soft Analog remix - which does exactly what its name implies. Great sleeve artwork too. Oh, the seventh track is Nicolas Reeves' remix of Don't Talk About Love - not to be found on State of Decay. 6/10
Rob Dyer (February 2010)
The Human League
Pet Shop Boys