Octave One – ‘Revisited Series II’ (Sandwell District/Aril Brikha Remixes) (430 West Records)

Twenty one years is a fair stretch of time by anyone’s standards. It’s after this period that most university students graduate, boys become men, Americans are deemed mature enough to imbibe, whiskey is deemed mature enough to be imbibed upon – the list goes on. More importantly, it’s also the length of time Detroit’s legendary second wave techno heroes Octave One have left before re-releasing two of their seminal tracks ‘I Believe’ and ‘Daystar Rising’ with remixes from relative young guns Sandwell District and Aril Brikha.

Originally released on Derrick May’s Transmat imprint, the Burden Brothers’ debut 12″ ‘I Believe’ gets royally Berlined by the Sandwell boys for this version, subterranian, rolling kickwork providing a framework for layer upon layer of atmospheric pads, easing in the original’s sythesiser lines and starry-eyed vocal hook and ramping the energy to almost overwhelming levels. Fans of both the original Octave One track and newer, more moody Ostgut Ton and Sandwell District material should find this a treat.

Tech house originator Aril ‘Groove La Chord’ Brikha turns in an interesting remix of ‘Daystar Rising’ on the flip, drawing out the more emotive elements and toning down the beatwork to produce a drawn out, pensive, yet driving re-work that’s sure to find it’s way into a whole bunch of sets over the next few months. Though clearly an accomplished producer in his own right, Aril Brikha’s work for this release feels slightly out of keeping with both the essence of the original and the project as a whole. Maybe it’s that so much of the original’s raw naivety is lost, disappearing under washes of calculated digital treatment and synthetic, slightly contrived emotional manipulation, maybe the aims of the track are just over this reviewer’s young head. Either way, it definitely feels like the weaker side of this release.

As more and more of electronic music’s early pioneers start re-releasing material and pushing out retrospectives and remixes, the pool of talent available to add modern production touches and a sprinkling of their own hype to a release shrinks. While roping new producers in to revive old material can work wonders and introduce a whole new audience to music they might not have otherwise heard, one hopes that this approach doesn’t become overused with remixes for the sake of remixes popping up every week, depriving truly fresh talent of vital exposure.

Chris Lawes

‘Revisited Series II’ is out now on 430 West Records.