Cologne's Michael Mayer may be best known as a DJ, the man behind the lauded Immer mix series and an equally legendary Fabric mix. But, as he reminded everyone last year, he's also a producer, dropping the long-awaited and somewhat divisive Mantasy album, the follow-up to 2004's Touch. As is the case with many dance albums, Kompakt is now complementing it with a series of remix EPs. This first edition is not as garish as the long-player, and its modifications might win over skeptics as a result.
The a-side is taken up by Philipp Gorbachev's stiff, EBM-style take on "Voigt Kampff Test." It's entirely befitting of his roots on the frequently stripped-down Cómeme label, as he laces its stomping rhythm with planar arpeggios that recall TV news shows' "breaking news" music. Barnt's (a.k.a. Daniel Ansorge) mix of the same track is similarly rigid, albeit with considerably more forward motion—the producer's predilection for autobahn music, showcased on his releases for Cómeme and his own Magazine imprint, shines through. He implements a jaggedly chugging guitar undercurrent, deploying dramatic string stabs and thundering drum rolls as the piece barrels toward an ominous endpoint. The odd track out comes courtesy of The Mole (a.k.a. Colin de la Plante), who swaths his transformation of "Baumhaus" in curtains of filtered ambience. Although de la Plante is known for cheerful disco-house, there's a rare and welcome moodiness on the remix, as the producer unfurls layers of downcast melody above insistent drums and a low-slung bassline. Its contemplative approach sets it apart from the rest of the EP, but it is a similarly wearying listen. The tracks on Mantasy Remixe 1 are all about sustaining their respective themes, and while they are impressively tense at times, they can just as often slip into monotony.