Progressive diehards beware, however: in the four years since Involver, clubland has changed, and accordingly, Sasha jettisons his usual crew of remixers – UNKLE, James Zabiela et al – for talent drawn from outside his inner circle. The prospect of indietronic act The Field and techno producers Slam, Audion and Radio Slave remixing Sasha is an intriguing one, and each is afforded two chances to re-cast an emFire original as a “leftfield” and a “club” track respectively.
Unfortunately, the gambit falls a bit flat in practice, especially on the leftfield efforts. Slam’s mix of ‘Coma’ and Audion’s version of ‘Park It in the Shade’ take a combined total of 18 minutes to end up almost exactly where they begin. Radio Slave’s sinister remix of ‘Who Killed Sparky?’ is an improvement, as is The Field’s aptly-named “Floating” edit of ‘Mongoose’: this track is the kind of dreamy, ethereal soundscape you’d likely hear in the prologue of a Sasha club set.
The club remixes are less inhibited overall, and more engaging for it. Slam’s spiraling remix of ‘Paragraph’ evokes Buzzin’ Fly in its darker, heavier moments, while Radio Slave’s reading of ‘Who Killed Sparky?’ is tailored made for the unhinged early hours, even if it doesn’t justify its 12-minute length. The weakest here by far is Audion second take on ‘Park it in the Shade’, digital techno at its most lifeless and familiar, while The Field’s Disco mix of ‘Mongoose’ is the strongest, possessing pleasingly elastic beats and an uncommon lightness of touch.
The Sasha faithful will of course be tempted to play the second disc first, but again the results are fairly uneven. Like the shaven look he sports these days, Sasha’s sound has taken on a tough, Spartan edge in recent years – there is less drama, less atmospherics, and less prog. The exception here is his Spangled remix of ‘Coma’, which cuts the same deep groove as his remix of ‘Burma’ from Involver. Elsewhere, the tracks are more dancefloor focused, save, that is, for ‘Park It in the Shade’ which offers a chaotic and confused alternative to Audion’s digital sleekness.
But the real saving grace is the film score. Sasha’s soundtrack to the surfing film New Emissions of Light & Sound is careful structured over its whopping length to deliver plenty of the emotive touches that Sasha excels at. Presented as a continuous mix, the standout tracks (at roughly 6:30, 24:30 and 35:00 if you’re counting) seem both familiar and simultaneously fresh, lively and energetic.
Remixes, re-edits, film scores – The emFire Collection is every bit as disjointed as you’d expect. Overall, the remixes intrigue and disappoint in equal measure, the original tracks are really just experiments, and the soundtrack is as good as Sasha fans would hope for – stick this last one on repeat.
Wed / 21 May 2008
Disc 1 - The Remixes
01 Coma (Slam Soma Coma Mix)
02 Park It In The Shade (Audion Deep Steeple Mix)
03 Who Killed Sparky? (Radio Slave's Brooklyn Dub Mix)
04 Mongoose (The Field's Floating Mix)
05 Coma (Slam Paragraph Mix)
06 Park It In The Shade (Audion Ain't Got No Friends Mix)
07 Who Killed Sparky? (Radio Slave's Panorama Garage Mix)
08 Mongoose (The Field's Disco Mix)
Disc 2 - The Originals & Bonus Score
01 Coma (Spangled Rubdub)
02 Park It In The Shade (Exclusive emFire Edit)
03 Who Killed Sparky? (Exclusive emFire Edit)
04 Mongoose (Exclusive emFire Edit)
05 New Emissions Of Light & Sound Film Score