Vapourspace – Sonic Residue from Vapourspace: The Magna Carta Remix Series, Vol. 1

Sonic Residue from Vapourspace: The Magna Carta Remix Series, Vol. 1

It took me a while to get clear on the premise here. Apparently Vapourspace, which is the moniker for artist Mark Gage, was long admired by Peter Morticelli, who runs the rock label Magna Carta. So he asked Gage to give the electronic treatment to Magna Carta’s primarily hard-rock and jam-rock bands. Over the course of these tracks, Gage completely re-hashes these songs, turning them from hard-rock pieces to unique electronic soundscapes. Without hearing the originals, it’s hard to know how they compare, but the results, while being traditional electronic remixes full of beats and synths and often far longer than they should be, are often quite good.
The first track is “Girl from Enchilada” by Attention Deficit (which features members of Testament and Primus). Gage keeps a funk-like jam feel to the song, only layering it over keys and beats to give it a kind of neat dancefloor feel. “Blue Mondo” by Niacin (featuring members of David Lee Roth’s band and the Parliament/Funkadelic) is given a more moody feel full of synth effects. Gage kept some cool guitar work and wild, almost tribal beats to the Led Zeppelin homage “Led On” by Steve Morse (Deep Purple) and keeps vocals on Explorers’ Club’s (Deep Purple, Yes) mournful dirge, “Time Enough,” and I wish he didn’t, as this is the most annoying song here.
“Osmosis” by Liquid Tension Experiment (Dream Theater, King Crimson) is given a new-agey feel that’s quite pleasant, while Gage’s take on their “Another Dimension” is way too long and repetitive, still rather new-agey. Bozzio Levin Stevens’ “Dark Corners” is given a harsh, cold industrial feel, and their “Melt” is quirky and kind of jazzy. Steve Walsh’s (Kansas) “Kansas” retains the vocals for a classic rock feel with some added spacey effects, and “Jenny Nettles” by Tempest is given the usual remix treatment: long, boring, repetitive, and almost all beats.
To be honest, I doubt I could stand the original songs that Gage had to work with. Judging from what I found at the Magna Carta website, these bands are all reformed 80’s rock backups and metalheads. But Vapourspace’s take on them has made them completely new and modern. And while the electronic remixes aren’t terribly unique, they’re kind of funky, kind of dancey, and pretty interesting. Check out the liner notes for more information about this project than anyone would ever want to know. Literally.