Showing posts with label kings of convenience. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kings of convenience. Show all posts

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Kings of Convenience - 'Winning a Battle, Losing the War' (Andy Votel Remix, 2001)

   Ever been led towards a beauty by a newsletter? I have. Ten years ago, the newsletter from my then-local record shop told me that I should buy this and so I did. It seems silly to admit that, but then a cursory look at my dress sense would suggest a tolerance for public embarrassment, wouldn't it? And all in all, I do think it a colourless life to be one who lacks the capacity for any sort of romance

   The years I spent in a Northern town involved too much whimsical melancholia to count my days as interesting ones, and I sometimes conjured up beatific interludes to pass the time between pretentious conversations with stoners and eventful carousings to meet girls and favourite musicians. I liked running into the bearded psychedelic and freak beat aficionado Andy Votel; he ran a highly interesting record label that was named after a creepy little film called Twisted Nerve (I always think of its theme music as the sound of someone entering another's room and touching all their stuff), made subtly sinister alt-r'n'b covers of Black Sabbath and his idiosyncratic nous for art direction was a masterclass in stitched together aesthetics, inventive 1960s/1970s'-updated typefaces and photography and graphics that were ramshackle, bold, austere and plaintive in measures - how very Northern of him

   Now, I never thought the majority of Votel's solo output took flight - usually, it sounded too controlled, careful and studied, unlike many of the rather tohu bohu and spirited records he enjoys and dices up into collector friendly collections of abstruse European rock that was recorded in cold sheds 100 miles from Warsaw in 1968. I rather think remixing is one of his other fortes; true, he is not the sort to remake songs from the ground up and could remain reverent to the structures of the originals, but on occasion, his approach could deliver some of the most accomplished things in the world just by adding his Votelian twists to that which was already familiar

   And so it is with 'Winning a Battle, Losing the War', in which Votel realised that the poignancy of the Kings of Convenience's original could not be evinced through a minimal musical approach and a story of the desire to heal from heartbreak told through downcast singing alone. Thus, it is not so much a remix or an alternative reading as it is an embellishment of the song's character, melody and soothing, lullaby-esque mood. It's prettier, it's still somewhat touching and the subtle, 1960s flourishes that the ever reverent Votel and his friends brought to the instrumentation make it akin to Simon and Garfunkel writing for the soundtrack to The Thomas Crown Affair and then saving it for something more languorous, introspective and British instead. A Confessions film, perhaps

   I'll always be glad that I purchased this. My beatific interludes needed a soundtrack