Future Imperfect: Freezepop – Form Activity Motion

by 5:4

Dear oh dear. It wasn’t terribly long ago that i was lauding Freezepop‘s most recent album, Future Future Future Perfect, and it was with some excitement that i approached their brand new release, a remix EP, the title of which would do Kraftwerk proud: Form Activity Motion. Essentially, just two songs have been chosen for the venture: “Frontload” and “Thought Balloon”, two of the best songs from the album—and this is where the problems start. In choosing a pair of such high quality songs, they’re immediately laying down the gauntlet to remixers to do something that can live up to those originals… a gauntlet that is most emphatically not picked up. One of the most prominent problems with these attempts is that they’ve clearly been created by people with minimal understanding of the harmonic direction of the originals. It’s hardly sophisticated stuff, of course, but in both songs it’s quite subtle, and certainly very effective; in many of the remixes, the harmonic progressions have been bowdlerised as though they’d been left in the hands of beginner music students. A couple of them—”Frontload (Designer Drugs remix)” and “Thought Balloon (Ming and Ping Rethink)”—do at least show imagination by trying to take their songs into some interesting new directions, but this is about the only positive thing going for them. The “Single Version” of “Frontload” is reasonably successful, but in the attempt to ‘sex up’ the song (wasn’t it sexy enough to begin with?), the wonderful dynamic contrast between verse and chorus is lost—or, rather, exaggerated. For the rest, they really do sound appallingly amateur, even the new song “Moons of Jupiter”, which is nice enough, but marred by Liz Enthusiasm’s surprisingly wayward singing (she’s usually so good!). After such poorly executed remixes, the final track, an acoustic version of “Plastic Stars” is absolutely lovely, a real treat; for many reasons, it’s hopelessly out of place here, but does at least prevent this release from being a total disaster. It’s not enough, though; i’m sorry to say Form Activity Motion is most definitely one to avoid.

i suppose we have to count our blessings that their most wonderful song, “Swimming Pool”, was left alone…


3 comments

Steve February 26, 2009 • 19:46 - 19:46

I wish remixes never existed. I’ve heard some good ones, but I’d rather not listen to them.

Reply
5:4 February 26, 2009 • 21:23 - 21:23

Hi Steve – i know exactly where you’re coming from, and for the most part, i agree! There isn’t a problem if the remixers are *competent* people – sadly this doesn’t seem to be the case very often…

Reply
Quality control issues: Steven Wilson – NSRGNTS↑RMXS | 5:4 December 17, 2015 • 14:47 - 14:47

[…] made it what it was. This is taken to extremes when the original is particularly excellent; i wrote a few months back about the shameful cluster of remixes inflicted on songs from Freezepop’s brilliant Future […]

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