Various Artists – The Tigers Remixes

Various Artists
The Tigers Remixes

I’ve had this CD spinning in my stereo and in my head for the last four weeks, and I’m still baffled. It’s beautiful, it’s deranged, it’s disarmingly distant at times, and at others claustrophobic. Above all, it’s the mark of a band that refuse to be defined by generic constraints, a group committed to the lost art of fucking with boundaries.

The Tigers hail from Perth, a sunny city on the west coast of Australia that is closer to a host of other Asian countries than it is to the nearest capital city in Oz. Perth’s isolation breeds a strange crew, a unique musical scene that is more often less pretentious yet more experimental than that of the larger suburban sprawls of Sydney, and The Tigers are no exception. Somehow, though, they’ve managed to adopt a sound zillions of years away from that traditionally associated with Aussie rock, and it’s this sound that has attracted some indie-music bigwigs to remix their work across two CDs.

These remixers include David Pajo, aka Papa M, whose reworking of “Beneath My Hands” remains one of the creepiest sounding songs I’ve heard all year. For seven and a half minutes, a vocal refrain that begins with “Beneath my hands are small breasts of upturned gullies (?)” is repeated as an acoustic guitar note is picked over and over again, and sequenced loops dig their hands into the seamless structure. Doug Gillard from Guided By Voices turns “Cramer’s Jungle” into a post-piano dirge, punctuated by occasional beats and trumpet blasts that drop in and out, whilst Chris McCormick, a musician known for handing out CD-R’s of his music, creates a psychosonic journey of his own in “Up & Down The Shaft.” And all this occurs in the first four songs of disc A.

By the end of the first CD, as Mark Cooper fuses electronica with country on “Snow Pea Remix,” you feel as if you’re finally getting a handle on something, a firm position to sit back and appraise the situation. Then Disc B wipes its seedy fingers across your cheek, and you’re left wondering who the fuck let avant-dub trance into the hallowed indie halls. Apparently deliberately sequenced like this, the beats are spliced and spritzed, sprayed back through the speakers like spit. Classy title award goes to Running From Nothing’s “Bad Days: Satan beat me a pat-a-cake mix,” which sounds exactly as the title suggests it does: synth squeezed tightly out an icing-tube, bass galore, and a detached lyric revolving around two words – Go Away.

Remixes is as confounding and confusing as it sounds, but that’s in no way a bad thing. It’s a collection that demands repeated, and attentive, listenings, the way music should. Each remix reveals something more, a detail, a glance that may have been overlooked in the original now at the forefront of interpretation. Complex, strange, eclectic, yet undeniably great.