~reviewed by Brian Parker
Informatik stunned fans with the release of Nymphomatik. One of the act’s two founding members, Matthew Crofoot, had been replaced by Battery Cage’s Tyler Newman; with him came big changes. Their third album on Metropolis Records, Nymphomatik radically departed from the Leaetherstrip-esque brand of harsh industrial dance Informatik had done so well. This album brought improved vocals, a synth- (or future-) pop influenced sound, and a whole lot of singing about sex. Tracks like “Perfect Stranger” made fantastic dancefloor fast-food, and DJs gobbled it up; but some fans (like, well, me) grumbled a bit and muttered about “selling out” under their breath. (As a caveat, I may have angrily shaken my fist at the change in direction, but I used the other hand to hit “Play” behind the decks more than once.)
Given that well over half of Re:Vision is made up of remixes, peppered with several new tracks in the same style, listening to Nymphomatik first is a prerequisite. (If the names of the remixers—Iris, Funker Vogt, Assemblage 23-- are what caught your eye, you’ll probably be glad to have a copy of Nymphomatik anyway.) Now, going from there, what can you expect?...
The BPM count is included for every track, and with most in the 125-140 range, DJs are an obvious target. And a peek at the credits notes “All songs published by Future Pop [BMI].” Given this, when the disc kicks off with “The World Belongs to Us,” it didn’t surprise me when it was a somewhat bland dance track. The chorus was a little catchy in a sing-along way that tried—but failed—to feel anthemic. “Revolutions” tries to be political but comes off as filler. Buried mid-disc, though, “Saints and Sinners” tries something a little different; although it won’t change the face of electronic music, the band twiddles the “song gets heavier” knob a little and lays some nice low-end mixed with catchy loops. “House of Cards” is almost as groovy, but samples and a nice synth hook are underused and buried in the mix; here’s a track I’d love to see re-mixed to bring out the dormant club hit.
Three of the tracks are remixes by other Metropolis artists. Iris remixes “Over,” not one of the best tracks on Nymphomatik, and try to re-fashion it as a dance number. The loops and percussion are catchier than the original, but it’s a little repetitive, and there still isn’t a good hook. Funker Vogt surprised me with the best remix on the disc, serving up a catchy version of “Flesh Menagerie.” Known for making a song their own with remixes, they are somewhat less heavy-handed here, perhaps because the source material isn’t vastly different from their own style. The remix is fairly faithful, but shortened, and many loops are used playfully without becoming repetitive; some effects are used on the vocals, but the change isn’t drastic, and the overall end result is a little poppier and groovy. Usually I’m not a huge fan of Funker Vogt’s remixes, but I dug this one. Assemblage 23 obviously put some effort into their remix of “A Matter of Time,” but rarely have I found Assemblage 23’s remixes to shine like their original material, and this one just didn’t do much for me.
Also included are three remixes (really, entirely new versions) by Informatik. In a nod to their roots, “Retrogradation” (from Syntax) is remade here, as are two tracks from Direct Memory Access: “Autonomous” and “At Your Command.” I may show my bias here, as a fan of the original albums, but I could not judge these kindly. All are radical departures: “Retrogradation” becomes a lackluster dance track, the fantastic (but dated) “Autonomous” is polished but stripped of soul, and only “At Your Command” fares well with the addition of sweet synths and percussion that could have come from Led Zepplin.
As a bonus, the multimedia CD includes “Watching You Watching Me” live at The Palace in Hollywood. It’s a nice freebie of a catchy song, but I can’t imagine watching it more than once: the track isn’t drastically “lived up,” and the editing doesn’t overcome the lonely feeling of the entirely-too-big-for-three-people stage they’re on.
Although I didn’t outright dislike the
disc, and genuinely enjoyed several tracks, I have a hard time recommending
it to non-DJs unless you can find it at a good price used. I can
imagine ripping a few favorites for a mix CD or iPod, but with so many
other choices available, there’s too much chaff with the wheat on Re:Vision.
Track Listing: The World Belongs to Us; Over (Iris rmx);
Retrogradation (On the Verge Re:Vision); Revolutions; Flesh Menagerie
(Funker Vogt rmx); Saints and Sinners; A Matter of Time (Assemblage 23
rmx); Autonomous (Constant Surveillance Re:Vision); House of Cards; At
Your Command (Abdication Re:Vision)
Informatik is: Da5id Din; Tyler Newman