Yo La Tengo – Here To Fall Remixes EP

Yo La Tengo - Here To Fall Remixes EP

Whilst the gaps between ‘regular’ Yo La Tengo albums have become ever wider, the quantity of ‘extracurricular’ material seems to grow even more abundant.  However, sadly, the quantity no longer always translates to quality for the trio.  So although there’s been the magnificent likes of the Today Is The Day EP and the sublime They Shoot, We Score soundtrack compilation in recent years, there’s also been the one-joke Condo Fucks side-project LP and the sometimes painful Yo La Tengo Is Murdering the Classics improvised covers compendium.  This new remix EP falls broadly between both those camps of Yo La Tengo’s release gap-plugging; being neither completely necessary nor shamefully pointless.

Whilst several tracks from 2009’s somewhat lopsided Popular Songs double-LP would have stood-up well to some interesting remix treatments – especially the inspired instrumental jam trilogy that defines its closing suite of melting melody-making – the band has instead given three remixers multi-tracks to just one composition.  Included here in its extant album incarnation as well, “Here To Fall” may have been a reasonable opening number in the context of its parent collection – with its blur of distended wah-wah, fuzz-bass, cymbal-splashing percussion, Stax strings and a nasally Ira Kaplan vocal – dragged out on its own, the song certainly feels like a lesser tune lost away from home.  Consequently, the remixers didn’t have it easy, but they have given it their best shots.

De La Soul’s rewiring – which arguably provides the most improvement – cranks up the original’s buried drum bed and guitar chug, whilst wiping away a lot of the muddy symphonic gloop, for a more open yet meaner resonating interpretation.  RJD2’s mix brings back the strings, puts aside some of the guitar layers and ramps up the low-end, for a slinkier and funkier arrangement that works well too.  Pete Rock’s part-re-voiced hip-hop re-moulding is also quite compelling if a little duck-out-of-water-like, and it would perhaps have benefited more from having Kaplan’s own slightly weedy singing scrubbed off, which becomes pretty grating after four airings in row.

Whilst it does retain a whiff of ‘why bother?’ throughout, this remix EP is far from being a total waste of plastic or hard drive space and it does show the rich adaptable level of detail in Yo La Tengo’s studio recordings.  That said, fans expecting a true betwixt album nugget might want to look elsewhere in Yo La Tengo’s vast discography or wait around for something more worthwhile to slip into a pressing plant.

Matador Records

“Here To Fall (Pete Rock remix)” by Yo La Tengo