Experimental math rockers Battles are one of the last groups I (and maybe Battles themselves) would have expected to be embraced on the basis of a hit single. But fueled by a swarm of YouTube buzz surrounding the video for their single, 'Atlas', the band was suddenly catapulted into the spotlight well before their track was even released. Along the way they acquired Kompakt notable DJ Koze (whose remix of Sid LeRock's 'Naked' is seeing a bit of chart action) as a fan and subsequently his twisted revision.
The original is a loping stride of gargantuan drums and chipmunk vocal hooks that wouldn't have much trouble keeping folks moving on an indiscriminate or hipster-packed dancefloor. It's half snarling sea shanty, half guitar-gripped schaffel cut, but it feels too novel to keep me wooed with its gleeful gait. On the flip, DJ Koze's disemboweled and reanimated remix recasts the tune as grist for eclectic bedroom mix sets. Still covered in a fine level of grit, expressed by a thrumming, live wire bassline and screeching percussion, Koze also lets an anxious, plinking melody flutter around, creating the aural equivalent of an abandoned junkyard. The demented vocal samples in the eerily calm middle section keep the atmosphere unnerving and off-kilter, calling to mind a less aggressive Prefuse 73. DJ Koze's characteristically unusual 'Atlas' remix swaps Battles' newfound straightforwardness for the experimental tack they ditched, making for a challenging single, but one that's not exactly crate-worthy.
Tracklist: Battles - AtlasA Atlas
B Atlas (DJ Koze Remix)