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V/A - Quatermass vs Kitty-Yo

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Artist: V/A

Album: Quatermass vs Kitty-Yo

Label: Quatermass

Review date: Mar. 31, 2002

It’s always refreshing to hear new ideas and forms in the compilation business. The new comp, Quatermass vs. Kitty-Yo, is the fourth record in the VS series from the Belgian label Quatermass. The series displays artists on the Quartermass roster remixing songs from another label’s musicians. This time around the remix treatment is given to artists on Germany’s Kitty-Yo label, and the resulting compilation is all over the musical map, scattering across the spectrum of quality underground electronic music being created today. One of the most unique and pleasing aspects of this compilation is that it includes the five original songs from the Kitty-Yo artists before they were remixed and the five remixes from the Quatermass-ters, so the listener can hear the original compositions as well as the departures.

Gonzalez, an MC that creates some fine retro hiphop and who is making quite a name for himself on the college radio scene, offers the track “Higher Than You.” The cut is all big backbeat, well-interspersed samples and funny, belligerent put-downs. The remix is done by Add N to (X), who transform the song into frenetic, manic, synthesized meltdown.

Germany’s own instrumental Krautrockers Couch contribute a song entitled “Alle Auf Pause” from their last domestic release, Profane, a dubby, percussive little number with mesmerizing guitars and well-cadenced piano. Brooklyn-by-way-of-Texas rockers Calla (whose last record Scavengers showed flashes of brilliance amongst a sleepy, swampy sound) interpret the song with a remix that is dreamlike and beautiful.

Stol’s song “[010]” is a pulsing, pondering composition awash in the white nose of Geiger counters and televisions on the fritz. Fibla’s remix perhaps improves on the original, taking the choppy beats and glitchy melody from the source material and mixing them with several layers of Twin Peaks style ambiance.

Pottymouthed old-school MC Peaches offers her own brand of Casio hiphop with the song “Lovertits,” the hit-of-sorts from her last record, The Teaches of Peaches. Its irresistible refrain “let’s get over this/I’m your lovertits,” can easily burn itself into the listener’s brain. Tal’s remix is all cut-and-paste bursts of noise arranged over aroused electronic rhythm tracks, leading to a song that is disorienting and carefully random.

Recehenzentrum submits the claustrophobic electronic composition “Underwater,” which is remixed by Mira Calix. The song becomes a mass of scattered sound with a deep backbeat and an angelic Sunday-morning synthesizer.

The Quatermass vs. Kitty-Yo compilation is a good listen because it provides the artists’ original visions as a baseline of comparison for the remixers’ permutations, and in that framework, one gets to hear original, inventive ideas explored over a wide range of musical styles and subgenres.

By Andy Cockle

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