The Sound Of An Artist Re-Assembling Himself
No matter how one chooses to look at Jean Koning, he has never been one to embrace the predicable. Although obviously embracing 90s styles such as techno, drum n bass and trip hop, he is also fascinated by different rhythmic world music, jazz and punk. This makes him open for some of the most focused but all-encompassing music you'd find in the pop section of your record store with albums such as From The Hermit’s Bedroom and especially Industrial City In The Clouds, the album to which this is essentially a remix of. And these remixes are a huge salute to big 90s clubs such as Waakzaamheid, iT, and RoXY.
Now as much as it pretended not to be, the 1990's were no more a place for musical diversity in the pop realm any more than previous decades. Basically, most people were trying to sound like Pearl Jam or Mary J. Blige in order to get radio play. Obviously, it was a mass contradiction for a generation who were claiming to reject commercialism in all its forms. So, this artist, whose music consisted of musical flavours from both past and present to create a genuinely unique hybrid did in fact go largely unnoticed outside likely a certain fringe. And this album proves different than most remix albums you claim to know.
Setting aside the cliché of the remix album of this era, which largely grafted some variety of hi-NRG techno via a big-name producer to the artists songs, Koning selected a group of musically oriented producers and DJ's (from very different genres) to reinvent his music as opposed to just adding beats. "Gravedancing" embraces the idea of deconstruction and "plunder-phonics", chopping the song up and literally reassembling it. The remix of "A River, A Bird, A Man" is actually significant to Koning's general view on music, as it embraces the interest in gritty 8bit Japanese experimental music that defines his ongoing interest in a variety of styles and recording techniques, which dates back to the early 90s. On another type of arranging, Koning re-imagines "It’s Murder In The Fitting Room" with an almost pornographic approach, though more in keeping with a 70's jazz-funk sound than Koning’s usual avant-garde approach, which decorates most of this remix album.
This is probably one of Koning’s most accessible album, even though it is a lightly disguised remix album, and it actually makes a good point for his music.
Most remix albums have the effect of using a producer's sound, usually a very dance friendly one to allow pop songs to become more potent on the dance floor. This is far from a dance-mix album however. For the most part it either takes Koning's more conventional songs and turns them around to be less so, or it does the reverse with his more atypical numbers. Remixes tend to work best when they represent a creative reversal of the said formula of the original songs. And by using a completely different approach on this remix-album, Koning remains very true to his musical intent.
This is not music with the intent to re-sell something that was already available. It's Koning finding ways to utilize the vision of the remix-artists to make the songs into something different to see how they'd function in another style. It should be everybody’s favourite remix projects of this era. Not because it's just a great remix album, but more because it goes a great deal against the grain of what such an album would normally be. And the musical choices used make it all the better.