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Pedro - Fear & Resilience EP

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Artist: Pedro

Album: Fear & Resilience EP

Label: Melodic

Review date: Jan. 13, 2005

Cutting its way through today’s glut of remix albums comes Fear & Resilience, a seven-song EP featuring reworkings of a song from UK-based Pedro’s self-titled debut. The pieces restore my faith in the practice, reinventing Pedro’s track with daring, imagination and - most importantly - fun.

The remixers here represent an exciting wave of producers and artists, ones that have a hip-hop heart but think with the adventurous head of the best electronic artists. Scott Herren (Prefuse 73) wraps a short solitary cello line from the original with his signature choppy samples, glitchy textures and stuttering beats, creating a whirring, clicking storm around a melancholy eye. Pedro himself reinterprets the piece in a similar vein, slowly burying the core groove in waves of static and ragged breakbeats. After an interlude of honking brass, the mix comes unglued as Pedro slowly replaces the live drum sound with a palette of drum machine colors.

Cherrystones and Danger Mouse hew the closest to the hip-hop line, crafting the most infectious pieces. Cherrystones’ mix foregrounds a spare, almost classic beat, ultimately static but always on time. He also emphasizes a stunted melody constructed of staccato synthesizer bursts and a guitar hook that evokes Morricone’s ”The Good, the Bad and the Ugly." Danger Mouse, whose Grey Album has set the remix world on its ear, weds the stuttering cello line and swelling melodic lines of plucked strings to a thumping bass and heavy-handed backbeat.

But it's Four Tet and Home Skillet that ultimately push Fear & Resilience from good to great, as they venture the furthest from the source material. Home Skillet eschews beats and hooks for a flickering wall of shimmering, bell-like tones, sculpted static and an ominous moan. The piece dissolves into a diffuse soundscape of backward loops, wayward bleeping and digital detritus. Where Home Skillet deconstructs the piece into oblivion, Four Tet builds it back up as an epic 20-minute narrative. It starts with a sweeping wash of bass and scattered bleeps, slowly layering some of the original’s delicate string textures and peaks in a chaotic, but finely detailed and transparent web of crashing cymbals and snares. Along with all the pieces here, Four Tet’s mix suggests what the remix can and should be: a chance to take risks, have some fun and present listeners with a bold new perspective on familiar material.

By Matthew Wuethrich

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