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  • Filed under: Review
  • 11/16/2012

Nina Kraviz Steve Rachmad/KiNK Remixes

In retrospect, the most intriguing aspect of Nina Kraviz's self-titled debut was its loose and raw-edged production aesthetic. The whole thing contrasted sharply with larger trends in dance music towards formulaic organization, compression, and quantization. Lead single "Ghetto Kraviz" was such a hit with dancefloors because it took a uniquely sparse angle with its weird vocals and tom-heavy drumwork. Yet for all the track had going for it, its short, four-minute duration held it back unnecessarily—it was the kind of song that begged to be re-arranged. Naturally, this already resulted in one single's worth of re-edits, with two club-friendly versions by Amine Edge and Akid released on an EP for Rekids' Rek'd sub-label earlier this year. Now, the label is back with a new remix release that combines two new takes on the track by Steve Rachmad with a KiNK remix of previously untouched album cut "Love or Go."

Appreciation of this EP really depends on context. Whereas Kraviz's original LP was better experienced at home, the remixes are aimed squarely at a big-room dancefloor. This is immediately apparent on the first track, as Steve Rachmad's "Jack Mix" introduces a big kick drum with militant snares clapping away on every beat. At a full eight minutes, the remix fulfills its duty of making the track club ready, but in the process, it sucks out a lot of what made the original so appealing—it's rigid to a fault, with synths and vocals fluttering noticeably as they're time stretched to fit the grid. If that's not intense enough, his "Scorp Interpretation" takes the same rhythmic direction and adds an almost dissonant nouveau-acid synthesizer assault. Here, Kraviz's vocals are used like white-noise risers, rolling up and exploding out of speakers for intense euphoric effect. It's not experimental—it's actually a little tedious—but at least it's functional in the way it uses Kraviz to provide something to grab onto in what would otherwise be just another banger.

The best mix on the record is KiNK's rework of "Love or Go," Kraviz's atmospheric vocal cut. Like "Ghetto Kraviz," the original is characterized by a loose arrangement, something that isn't entirely lost in this new translation. KiNK turns in a modern-day dub remix with short snippets of Kraviz's voice flying around a creeping bassline that ultimately bubbles up into intense waves of acid abrasion. It's a successful effort, mostly because it keeps the original in mind while pushing things in a significantly more trippy direction with creative usage of delay and reverb. However, as good as it is, it doesn't do much to change the fact that the three cuts on this EP will likely only appeal to Kraviz completists and DJs looking to reference her material in a set without having to resort to playing her more difficult-to-mix original work.

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