Now as far as I know ‘Tongues’ isn’t actually out yet, so I’d better describe it first:
It’s fucking awesome.
Okay, so how’s the remix? Well, the original track is like a huge flock of birds wheeling in the African sky – beauty on the verge of collapsing into chaos that constantly reforms into new and yet familiar patterns. It’s actually very Holden-esque in a way, with a strong rhythm that builds slowly throughout and constant interjections of odd and unlikely noises. It’s not a dance record but adventurous and talented DJs could certainly drop it to devastating effect in the right environment.
James Holden does pretty much exactly what you’d expect him to do in these circumstances. He foregrounds the afro-style rhythm and gives the track a more predictable eight-bar structure, letting the different elements build in a steady step by step way instead of the controlled chaos of the original. And let’s be clear – the sounds you hear here are not standard club sounds in any way whatsoever. The track is weird. So this steady building leads to almost unbearable tension because clubbers are really not going to know what will happen when it breaks. Unfortunately it never really does, beyond a Moroder-style bassline easing in three quarters of the way through.
Honestly it feels like a bit of an opportunity wasted. The original track is stunning, so you feel it deserves an anthemic remix. Having said that, even if Holden’s remix isn’t quite at the anthemic level, it will certainly set up the next tune very effectively in a DJ set, which is almost certainly the intention. Definitely worth a listen.