American Analog Set – Updates

In an effort to follow-up on last year’s excellent Know By Heart and tide people over until the next full-length (which is slated for the fall), American Analog Set offers up an intriguing little six-song collection referred to as Updates. As you may have deciphered from the title, this is a gathering of updated, remixed, and reworked songs.

The tracks come in pairs, with American Analog Set stepping up to the plate first. The band starts things off with “Desert Eagle (All I Want for Christmas Mix),” which is a newly tweaked version of a song previously available only in 7″ format. Then comes “These Days (AmAnSet Keystroke Mix),” which is a cover of a Her Space Holiday song from that band’s 2001 release, Manic Expressive. Of the six songs offered, this one would be the most straightforward in structure, sounding the most like the American Analog Set we already know, even if it isn’t their own song.

Next up is Her Space Holiday, remixing the American Analog Set songs “Aaron & Maria” and “Know by Heart.” These new versions take the former breezy pop songs, add tweaked IDM noises and hip-hop beats, and create something oddly hypnotic and danceable. Of the two, “Know By Heart” stands out as the catchiest and funkiest, almost forcing you out of your seat to get up and dance, while the new take on “Aaron & Maria” is a little darker and rougher on the ears, though still an intriguing take on an old song.

Up third is Belgium’s very own Styrofoam, dishing up “The Postman (Just Like the Nineties Never Happened Mix)” and “We’re Computerizing and We Just Don’t Need You Anymore (Freezer Burn Mix).” Both tracks wander much further than the original versions, especially the closing “We’re Computerizing and We Just Don’t Need You Anymore.” These new creations add mellow and minimal electronic sounds with organic keyboard and synthesizer sounds, making the two songs just new enough to grab your attention, but not hacking them into something that is unrecognizable.

Updates marks American Analog Set’s first venture into the world of electronic music, and it sounds as though the trip was a fun one. The EP is not recommended for those looking to discover American Analog Set for the first time (go buy Know By Heart instead), but for anyone who already knows and enjoys the band, what we have here is a refreshing new take on a familiar sound.