Pretty Swell Explode
Inimitable producer Odd Nosdam returns with Pretty Swell Explode, an enhanced two-disc collection (one album, one EP) of remixes, B-sides, videos and original songs, including eight tracks entirely exclusive to this set. Here Nosdam compiles the odds and ends created roughly around his last two full-lengths (2005’s Burner and last year’s Level Live Wires), as well as offers a few choice gems from bygone days.
P S E 1 is bombastic and beat-blown, and well displays Nosdam’s impressive range as a remix artist. Witness Odd’s take on Serena-Maneesh’ “Don’t Come Down Here,” where weighty atmospherics and whispered bits are added to a remade bed of stressed guitar and black cello (call it medieval bump); also, his haunted, hollowed-out reworking of labelmate Thee More Shallows’ “Freshman Thesis” (with vocal drops from Why? frontman Yoni Wolf); or the dubbed-deep bubble bounce of “Ligaya,” originally by Anticon boy-girl electro duo Alias & Tarsier. Two of P S E 1’s strongest pieces are remixes created solely for this project. “(growin’ up in the Hood) Four Thousand Style” is Nosdam’s electric tribute to Leeds cult heroes Hood (fronted by Chris Adams, who records for Anticon as Bracken). A year’s worth of work and various snippets from the Hood catalogue went into the crunchy, spooked-out opus, wherein Adams’ words are disembodied then scrambled into the heaving song body. And with other exclusive “Forever Heavy (shoegangter/JB remix),” Nosdam actually recreates a Black Moth Super Rainbow original from scratch. Drum machine maestro Jel (Subtle/Themselves) adds a few pounds and Flying Saucer Attack collaborator Jessica Bailiff sings ghostly overtop, recalling Stereolab caught in a heavy swirl of fuzz, grind and unusual beauty. In fact, Bailiff’s voice is a binding element of P S E 1, a compilation that plays like a true album. Nosdam opens the set with “Untitled Three (JBs OG mix),” the unreleased original collaboration with the shoegaze chanteuse that would become three separate Burner songs. He also treats us to B-sides “Untitled Sketch” (where she sings over a cLOUDDEAD-era sound wash) and “Hollow Me,” a thick dub jam also featuring Subtle keyboardist Dax Pierson.
P S E 2 is Odd’s ambient EP, exchanging drums and voice for the fuzzy warmth of 8-track cassete composition. “Cut” is classic Nosdam heavy hush, while “Perfectly Pink Path” (written for Dax after he was paralyzed in Subtle’s 2005 touring accident) is a gorgeous melange of field samples and unsourceable aural glow. Burner-era B-side “My Prayer Rug” rocks a slow and steady crystalline stomp that morphs into the blissed-out record-skip trip of “Bear Hug” (exhumed from the cLOUDDEAD days) before reaching the nine-minute, four-chambered remix suite, “Dayvan Cowboy,” originally by Boards of Canada. This hard-fought multi-movement reinvention moves between intensity and quiet like seasons or the sea (and an unused selection from this remix, “D C (bit)” can be found on P S E 1.) Fittingly, “20th” carries the listener to P S E’s finish on a broad swell.
- A01Untitled Three (JB's OG Mix)2:26
- A02Don't Come Down Here (Blasted Remix)5:26
- A03Freshman Remix4:09
- A04D C (Bit)1:34
- A05Hollow Me3:39
- A06No Good (Nosdam's Dub)3:54
- B01(Growin Up In The Hood) Four Thousand Style5:34
- B02Wreck Time0:39
- B03Ligaya (Remix)4:47
- B04Untitled Sketch3:20
- B05Forever Heavy (Shoegangster/JB Remix)4:09
- B06Upsetter Don't Play1:33
- C02Perfectly Pink Path (For Dax)4:58
- C03My Prayer Rug4:29
- C04Bear Hug1:27
- D01Dayvan Cowboy (Remix)9:19