In music, no point of origin is ever quite as fixed as it seems. You can hear an eerie pre-echo of techno in Delia Derbyshire's 1960s recordings; in 1982, Charanjut Singh used a Roland TR-808 and TB-303 to create a style that uncannily anticipates the sound of acid house, born a world away just a few years later. And in 1968, Terry Riley might be said to have invented the disco edit when he extended "You're No Good," a three-and-a-half minute soul jam by the Harvey Averne Dozen, into 20 delirious minutes of panned, phased, noise-funk mayhem.
That early remix is the subject of a new cover version by About Group, the quartet of drummer Charles Hayward (This Heat), guitarist John Coxon (Spring Heel Jack, Spiritualized), keyboardist Pat Thomas and Hot Chip's Alexis Taylor. It's a surprisingly faithful cover, following Riley's changes more or less to the letter as it dissolves into shambling, bluesy psychedelia, the kind of thing that wouldn't sound out of place at Bonnaroo.
If it's a clever choice of repertoire, their pick to remix it is pure genius. More than any other house producer, Theo Parrish evokes Riley's radical cut-and-paste aesthetic in his own remixes. That said, it's difficult to identify anything from About Group's version in his interpretation, set in a different key, boasting new vocals and a shuffling house groove that bears little resemblance to the original's elastic rhythm. Perhaps that's why it's subtitled "Theo Parrish Translation," rather than "Remix." In any case, it's as satisfying as anything Parrish has produced in the past couple of years, worrying away at a curious cadence, spry and slack all at once, while organ riffs and vocal loops uncurl around it. Hazy and humid, it morphs, over the course of its nine minutes, as gradually as a bank of thunderheads. It's a fitting, fascinating play in the song's decades-old game of Chinese whispers.
Buy About Group - You're No Good (Remixes) at
Tracklist: About Group - You're No Good (Remixes) A You're No Good (Theo Parrish Translation With Aashong)
B You're No Good (Mokmix)
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