Luna Kafé e-zine  Luna Kafé record review
coverpic flag Germany - Full Moon 32 - 05/30/99

Herbst in Peking
Les Fleurs du Mal
Moloko Plus / EFA

Generally I don't like the concept of remix albums. It was a neat idea five or eight years ago, but since then nearly everybody in the music scene tried it, and the results are far from original these days. In most cases the tracks were handed over to a bunch of well-known remixers who have no idea what the intentions of the original artists were, and then they get the freedom to rip these tracks apart and re-arrange them into their own. The result is a patchwork of conflicting concepts that will sell because of the combined appeal of all involved artists, but it will leave the bitter taste of relief in the mouth of most buyers.

But this one is different. Yeah, it's a remix album, too, but it's not the usual incoherent mixture of big-name remixers. Half of the remixes were even done by one of the band members and the results can therefore be considered to be close to the band's ideas. The others fit in very well, so that the whole album has a flow like a real album should. Whereas the last album by Herbst in Peking Feuer Wasser und Posaunen marked the transition from punk and indie rock to techno and dub material, these remixes find the band entirely on the danceable side of the music world. Lots of reggae rhythms, dub effects and weird electronica.

That the album holds together very well does not mean that it gets monotonous at all. And it doesn't even hurt that five of the tracks are based on the same original track - La Dolce Vita from Herbst in Peking's last album. The first track with the title Douce Vie is one of them. It starts with a prolongued intro of warbling synth and crackles and pops from a scratchy record before the track kicks in with heavy rhythms and distorted guitars. Doubt (Surfopera Coctail) is a take on Doubt the Sky, also from the last HIP album. Music of the spheres and sampled woman's voice, a simple guitar medlody and a slow but bass- heavy rhythm. The original of Russian Overdub was a dub remix of another track already, so this Tearful Stoned Version is a remix of a remix. The word "Russian" in the title refers to the language of the lyrics of this track. La Vita Depressiva, the depressive one of the La Dolce Vita remixes, really sounds dark and depressive, slow and distorted as it is, a baby crying in the background. The following track, originally called Movie Stops, originally was a hard rocking track back in the past rock career of the band. The aptly titled FX of Cher remix steals the vocal alienation effect from Cher's last hit. Besides that the track retains the power of the original guitar chords and adds some synth noodling. Bakshisch for Burundi and Dub Reality are two little dub reggae tracks with lots of echo and effects. The following three tracks are all different versions of La Dolce Vita. The March dub Version is a mixture of a hard and fast techno start and finish and a six minute long slow and relaxed middle part. The 1000 DM Groove Version is a collection of weird effects, breakbeats and snatches of the original track without any real song structure. The power returns with the heavy beat of the Hirschbar Version, a dancefloor techno version stretched over eleven minutes.

In addition to this CD there is a vinyl picture disk for DJs or vinyl junkies with just a selection of four remixes.

Copyright © 1999 Lonely Locke e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Herbst in Peking article/review: Feuer, Wasser und Posaunen.

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