Thankfully this isn’t the ten-fingered chord-clanging style of piano that some may remember from the Italian house era, but instead is nimble, jazzy toying with a basic tune structure that occasionally has more than a touch of ‘Strings of Life’ about it. The source material then is solid, so it’s interesting how the three remixes here approach it.
Carl Craig starts with the piano, cuts it out, brings in the bass then lays piano over the top without returning to the main piano theme, instead concentrating on the jazzy meanderings and bringing in a soft synth melody around the five minute mark. It’s a nice enough piece of work but not vintage C2 by any means, lacking any really enervating moments. Potentially good warmup material nevertheless.
Balil, aka Ed Handley of Plaid, turns in the ‘biggest’ of the three mixes. He uses nostalgic sounding operatic washes of sound to set the scene, along with old-school clattery techno beats and acid lines with all the elements twisting and recombining in a way that’s truly grandiose and epic. It’s kind of like if Tiesto was any good. The same soft synth melody that Craig uses figures largely here, but the piano is basically absent.
Tristano’s own mix, on the other hand, is all about the piano (no, really?). Where Craig shoots his melodic wad in the first few bars, Tristano teases it out over the course of the entire track, often layering one piano part over another. And this is the best thing about his mix as his use of more ‘anthemic’ synth sounds in the break halfway through is a bit heavy-handed. When the piano comes back in it’s like being handed a fresh cut slice of juicy mango – sweet, sharp and fragrant and really hitting the spot.
I like this release for its variety and particularly for the unexpected touches in Balil and Tristano’s mixes – this is an ‘interesting’ EP, partly because of its occasional flaws.