We’re going well off our usual beaten paths with this premiere, and onto a kind of parallel path, running alongside in a different musical dimension. For this writer, it provided the opportunity for exploration and discovery. Merely curious at first, I found myself more than tantalized by the end and therefore concluded this would be worth sharing with you as well.
This side trip begins with Kosmogyr, a contemporary black metal band consisting of two people divided between Shanghai and Prague. Their marvelous debut album Eviternity was released earlier this year, and we had the pleasure of premiering its title track. But Kosmogyr have now launched that album into a different musical world, collaborating with nine producers around the world to present Eviternally: The Remixes, which will be released on July 13th. And that’s what Eviternally consists of — remixes of the original songs by other artists who’ve give the music very different shapes.
The remix we have for you today is a re-imagining of the Kosmogyr track “Vision“, created by a Chinese-Canadian electronic music artist based in Shanghai who works under the name MIIIA. She has been a fixture in Shanghai’s underground music scene for nearly a decade, though she has also performed in Spain, Germany, Canada, Korea, Hong Kong, Taipei, and numerous cities in mainland China. More info about her can be found here and (on Facebook) here.
It might be possible to find people more ignorant than I am about the kind of techno dance music that people like MIIIA create, or how they create it, but you’d have to search long and hard to find them. In an attempt to get somewhat better educated, I watched the following live video of MIIIA’s Boiler Room DJ set in Shanghai, recorded in May 2016. And there you’ll see her bobbing elfin form behind the deck, her face focused, her hands twisting dials, pushing buttons, clasping and unclasping her headphones to her head, generating music both primal and futuristic. Somewhere along the way I fell into a bobbing trance myself, in the grip of this astral groove.
Having become immersed in that experience, it was time to prepare for the remix by re-listening to Kosmogyr’s original of “Vision”. It’s the kind of breathtaking song that swoops in like a great bird of prey, picks up the listener, and carries them away high across a magnificent landscape. There’s a beautiful, ethereal quality in its opening, and then the song transforms into something more gloriously powerful as the drums begin to blast, the melody to soar, and the harsh vocals to howl and growl. The music cascades in sweeping waves of sound that are equal parts incandescent and ominous, triumphant and brooding, accented by flickering guitar leads that add an air of feverish vibrancy.
With the original still ringing in my head, I moved directly on to MIIIA’s remix. It opens in much the same way as the original and then diverges, with its own kind of machine-made blast-beat providing the initial pulse. The melody is less sweeping and more ephemeral and ghostly, the heart of the music rooted in a potent rhythmic drive.
I asked Kosmogyr to ask MIIIA about the approach she took with this remix — what she sought to achieve with it, and what inspired her from the original song. And she replied with this comment:
“Honestly, I never think that much when I make music. Inspirations always come within the process. Because it’s a metal band, the elements in one track that I can use to make the style I want to make is not that many, so I usually just pick one or two instruments to work with. When I heard the guitar intro of ‘Vision,’ I just decided I want to work with that because I love how it sounds and also the melody of it. Instantly, I thought about creating this weird, distorted, breaky techno beat after the intro, and that’s how I built the track.”
I hope you will enjoy this little excursion into a parallel dimension. You can also check out two more remixes that are currently streaming on Bandcamp — and of course more will come when the album releases. Pre-orders are available now on Bandcamp.