In this edition of Mix & Remix, we’ll feature two sets tracks that involve reciprocal arrangements between two pairs of artists each covering the work of the other. First we have a the French trio Fragments collaborating with Scottish artist and member of Hidden Orchestra, Poppy Ackroyd. The second set will feature electronic artists Apta collaborating with fellow UK artist Row Boat (Mark Wardale). In both cases we find the joy at the heart of mix & remix – artists showing appreciation for each other’s work, each able to render the other’s work truthfully and yet stamp it with their distinct style and sensibilities.
Fragments & Poppy Ackroyd
Fragments is a trio based in Rennes, France, who delicately blends folk sensibilities with electronic music to create a shimmering and bright sound. This makes for a fascinating collaboration when paired with the intricate, neoclassical leaning music of Poppy Ackroyd.
We begin with the Fragments song ‘Off the Map’, which features a subtle, scratchy rhythm, acoustic guitar, and the shimmering sounds of keyboard and glock and a gently building crescendo. It is a bright & uplifting piece. In the creative hands of Poppy Ackroyd, it is still has a brightness to it, but she coats the piece in dust. It is scratchier, more organic, and more indirect as percussion becomes more prominent and reverse loops carry the melody.
The second pair of tracks in this collaboration are the original and remixed version of Poppy Ackroyd’s composition, ‘Seven’ from her outstaning solo album ‘Escapement’. The original piece features an intricate, clockwork percussion line over which piano and strings weave their magic. It is busy, yet delicate and precise. Fragments then takes the song and wraps it in electronics and acoustic rhythm guitars to give a shimmer and a brighter feel.
‘Off the Map’ by Fragments
‘Off the Map’ remixed by Poppy Ackroyd
‘Seven’ by Poppy Ackroyd
‘Seven’ remixed by Fragments
Apta & Row Boat
This next group of tracks were all recently released together as an EP called ‘Fracture’ by UK artists Apta and Row Boat with the express purpose of featuring their remixes of each other’s work. The original version of Apta’s song ‘Slowly, Home’ feels like a quiet walk down an open road on a sunny day. It has an easy flow and feels both intimate and bright. Mark Wardale’s music as Row Boat, on the other hand, evokes wide canvas Scandinavian landscapes with rich atmosphere, big percussion, and storming crescendos and he lends all of these qualities to his interpretation.
This flows right into the Row Boat original, ‘Kämpaglöd’, a rousing post rock piece driven by a distinctive and powerful cadence on the drums. It has a swagger and a boldness about it before winding down to an atmospheric outro. In reworking the song, Apta opts for percussion lines that are more hypnotic than pounding. This allows the piano to drive to the song while a variety of electronic tones swirl around the melody. It remains a very dynamic piece, equally enjoyable, but with a different aesthetic.
Also note that the Fracture EP includes a pair of bonus tracks, one by each of the two artists.
‘Slowly, Home’ by Apta
‘Slowly, Home’ remixed by Row Boat
‘Kämpaglöd’ by Row Boat
‘Kämpaglöd’ remixed by Apta