Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Third Eye Foundation, IN VERSION

Linda's Strange Vacation, 1996; out of print

5 tracks, 48:38

After literally searching for it for twelve years, I FINALLY got this at a good price! This is both the second 3EF release and the hardest to find (I've actually seen/heard the rare singles, but I'd never seen a physical copy of this until I purchased it). It finds Matt Elliott and Deb Parsons severely deconstructing tracks by Amp, Crescent, Hood, and Flying Saucer Attack (all of whom had connections to 3EF). Each of these remixes was made especially for this album. While the idea might seem strange, Elliott and Parsons have completely made these tracks their own, justifying its release as a 3EF album. Amp's two tracks are remixes from SIRÈNES; namely, "Eternity" and "Matilda's Shorts Wave" are recreated as "Eternity (I and I and Eye and Eye and Eye Version)" and "Short Wave Dub". I have yet to hear the source tracks, but based on what I know of Amp I'm pretty sure the original "Eternity" didn't feature drastically sliced-up vocals laid over absolutely savage drum'n'bass beats. Not that I'm complaining; this is a jarring and wondrous track that is over far too soon. On the opposite end, "Short Wave Dub" truly sounds dubby, with its wordless vocal trills layered over odd drones and blips. It's a very nice relief after the opening onslaught. Crescent's "Superconstellation" is up next. For this mix, Matt isolated a vocal sample from the end of the original song and plays with it over a looped drum kit-and-bass segment. That simplistic tweaking ends up working wonders. While the original "Superconstellation" is a fine track, Third Eye Foundation's version is even MORE powerful and gloomy, and fully deserving of its thirteen-plus minutes. According to Matt, Deb did the honors on Hood's "Eyes". This is the most intimidating remix, with samples from Hood* obscured by terrifying bursts of noise and ominous clanking. When a vocal refrain that sounds like "Where my eyes guide/Insiiiiiide" breaks to the surface towards the end, the effect is quite stunning. This track wouldn't be out of place at all on a Foehn album proper! Finally, at nearly eighteen minutes, Flying Saucer Attack's "Way Out Like David Bowman" closes the album. Truth be told, calling this an FSA remix is a little misleading. "Way Out...." consists solely of sounds that Matt recorded for FSA when he was still working with them. Dave Pearce rejected a lot of the material, so for this album Matt drastically processed his sources into a maelstrom of sound. Singing bowls, eerie trumpets/horns, unidentifiable drones and whorls of sound..... David Bowman was the main character of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, and if you can imagine 2001 ending with him dying in a black hole, this would be the soundtrack. Why Pearce didn't want to use this material is beyond me, but thank goodness Matt ended up recycling it into a true masterpiece! Pearce wasn't amused and briefly threatened legal action, which probably explains why FSA is missing from the thanks list (Amp, Hood, and Crescent are all present; curiously, so is Deb!). The diverse styles of the mixes shouldn't work as a whole, but they do. I can't recommend this enough, but be aware it's going to take some looking to find an affordable copy. Elliott would release a similar album called I POO POO ON YOUR JUJU, remixing acts such as Tarwater and Yann Tiersen. While this IS enjoyable, it's much more representative of the later 3EF sound, whereas IN VERSION fits perfectly in between SEMTEX and GHOST. That being said, anything and everything with Matt Elliott's name on it is worth checking out. Happy hunting!

*I absolutely cannot figure out what song/songs were used here. When I asked him, Matt himself wasn't sure either!