Of all the Ed Banger posse, SebastiAn is probably the most mysterious. He doesn't have Justice's mass appeal, Mehdi's debonair attitude, Uffie's calculated sass or even Pedro Winter's domineering persona. And, in terms of actual music, he hasn't released much: Only three EPs of original material have seen release since 2005 (Smoking Kills, Ross Ross Ross, and Motor), a workrate of that only enhances his aura of individuality. In fact, since his name started circulating about four years ago, SebastiAn's craft has mostly been heard via his voluminous remixes, and while it's a banging body of work in itself, collected here on Remixes it's also a somewhat poisonous offering for this otherwise gifted producer.
See, no matter how you chose to lend an ear to these tracks (alphabetical, chronological or the random assembly picked for you), it's highly doubtful you will ever feel any actual sense of progression. Everything sounds too coherent. The remixed artists are diverse, ranging from Kelis' quirky R&B, melodic electro; sweet female pop à la Annie or Nâdyia; or various indie groups such as Editors, The Kills, Bloc Party, The Rapture, Klaxons and Das Pop (SebastiAn's main source of revenues, apparently, considering the symbolic capital a remix from his delicate French hands seems to have in these corners of the industry). But it's as though the Parisian producer appeared on the maximalist scene already perfectly formed and developed. Everything he's remixed since his early take on Benjamin Theves' roaring "Texas" has been marked by the same principles: Chop thunderous breakbeats over heavily filtered synths straight out of the Human After All textbook, pepper the result with the occasional hashed vocal bits and compress all of it into the monstrous digital grinder genetically engineered by Ed Banger's technological consultant team. Repeat again. And again. And again. And one more time. (If they haven't quite figured it out yet.)
By the time you get to the "Sexual Sportswear" remix—a radical transformation of the source material if there was ever one—SebastiAn sounds self-parodic. Leaving behind the original's subtle sense of sultry drama, SebastiAn has instead made it worse—never a good sign for someone who built his career on trying to improve other people's work. Only "We Danced Together"'s by The Rakes denotes some sort of derogation to these principles, opting for a slower tempo with lustrous strings while keeping most of the Benjamin Diamond-like vocals: Needless to say, it's the best thing on here, mostly because it sticks out like the proverbial sore thumb.
By some weird musical law of diminishing returns, it seems the more SebastiAn presents his singular vision, the more he comes off as the one-trick pony in the Ed Banger stable. 2008's Motor EP saw him exploring, with mixed results, the incorporation of heavy metal to his sound palette, but at least he was trying something new. Hopefully, his long-awaited debut artist album will take the sense of adventure SebastiAn hinted at in 2005 to new heights. In the meantime, this ill-named compilation will seem very, very pale in comparison to A Cross the Universe and Lambs Anger, the two defining Ed Banger releases of the year.
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Tracklist: SebastiAn - Remixes 01. SebastiAn - Intro
02. Revl9n - Walking Machines (SebastiAn Remix)
03. Daft Punk - Human After All
04. Mylo - Paris Four Hundred (SebastiAn Remix)
05. The Rapture - Get Myself Into It (SebastiAn Remix)
06. Editors - Camera (SebastiAn Remix)
07. The Rakes - We Danced Together (SebastiAn Remix)
08. Kelis - Bossy (SebastiAn Remix)
09. The Kills - Cheap And Cheerful (SebastiAn Remix)
10. Kavinsky - Testarossa Autodrive (SebastiAn Remix)
11. Benjamin Theves - Texas (SebastiAn Remix)
12. Das Pop - Fool for Love (SebastiAn Remix)
13. Bloc Party - Still Remember (SebastiAn Remix)
14. Sébastien Tellier - Sexual Sportswear (SebastiAn Remix)
15. Klaxons - Golden Skans (SebastiAn Remix)
16. Annie - Happy Without You (SebastiAn Remix)
17. Nâdiya - Tout Ces Mots (SebastiAn Remix)
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