Kaya Project :: Desert Phase Remixes
[interchill]   review from sanjay kundalia

Desert Phase Remixes showcases a fine selection of artists from the UK, US, New Zealand, and Australia creating a space where they can fabricate their own interpretations of the originals, offering a diverse taste of stellar remixes encompassing expressions of dubstep, psy-ambient, drum'n'bass, breaks and glitch all the while preserving a driving downtempo groove.

Released in late 2010, Desert Phase is the fourth Kaya Project full length album, drawing its inspiration from the time Seb Taylor and Natasha Chamberlain spent in some of the world's largest deserts. It's filled with an intoxicating Middle Eastern focus melting contemporary chilled out vibes with subtle electronic ambience. But unlike most "chill out" albums in the genre, this remix album has a totally different story to tell.

For Interchill Records, this is the second one of its kind, the first being the digital-only Ummah Oum Remixes EP released only a few months ago. Eleven out of the fifteen original tracks are remixed, "23 Towers" profiting from three remarkably distinct renditions by Eat Static, Biotone and Interpulse. The album shows its underlying intense nature as it weaves its way through each track, from the warmth of Earthrise Soundsystem's "Sundown," filled with a carefree guitar and driven by drums giving it a light carnival approach to the dark dirty grime of "Dust Devil" (Liquid Stranger's Cortex Vortex Remix).

Then passing through "Eye of the Storm," an agitated yet vibrant Middle Eastern charged drum'n'bass mix of "Chaos By Design," progressing to the emotive and a personal favorite, the velvety bass-laden "When Only Sand Remains" by Tripswitch, bringing a tasteful balance between melodic warmth and deep psychedelic minimalism.

Next up is the serene "23 Towers" by Interpulse - creating an uplifting journey through some deep progressive vibes - paradoxically this remains closest to the essence of its original which is a little unfortunate as he is celebrated for having a strong dancefloor focus. Eat Static however provides a alternative, heavy, earthy, dub sound with hand drumming married with resonant flute lines drifting across clarinet and European vocals, a real feast of the ears! Biotone puts together another gem, bathing the listener in lush layers intended for the dancefloor.

Adding to the assortment of tunes of the dub persuasion, in true Liquid Stranger fashion, he lends his talents to "Dust Devil" creating something that needs to be heard with the bass turned if any justice is to be done. Opiuo's mysteriously distorted 'dub and blues' "Dobra," intensely splintered for a unique flavour. Not forgetting the Gaudi remix, with resonating impressions from the No Prisoners album, with baselines so heavy it won't have any trouble finding a home on the dance floors.

As Derek Beres of EarthRise Soundsystem described in the Huffington Post, "Remixing is a craft in worth to song writing," Remixing is an art in its own right and is often the result of producer's skills and abilities on display. Desert Phase has certainly received this therapy. The compositions take on a new form, complementing the original by keeping its essence intact. It's an album full of entrancing tunes that are a masterful unification of sophisticated electronics, giving the original a new sense of perspective.

ethnotechno rating: 4 out of 5
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  1. When Only Sand Remains (Tripswich Remix) (pick)
  2. Ummah Oum (Feat. Shahin Badar) (100th Monkey Remix)
  3. Desert Phase (Hibernation Remix)
  4. 23 Towers (Eat Static Remix)
  5. Dust Devil (Liquid Stranger's Cortex Vortex Remix)
  6. 23 Towers (Biotone Remix)
  7. Desert Child (Oblique Industries Remix) (pick)
  8. Sundown (Earthrise Sound System Remix)
  9. Calico Stomp (Gaudi Remix) (pick)
  10. Eye Of The Storm (Chaos By Design Remix)
  11. Dobro (The Opiuo Bro - Cuzz Remix) (pick)
  12. Vijaya (Bluetech Remix)
  13. 23 Towers (Interpulse Remix) (pick)