Release Date: Nov 8, 2011
Record label: Hyperdub
Remix albums are almost reliably spotty affairs, dogged either by inconsistency or a lack of any real structure, a slog through a slurry of disparate reworks. But in the context of an album like Kevin Martin's 2009 King Midas Sound Waiting for You, a stunning record of low-frequency fever dreams immersed in the spirit of dub, it almost makes sense. That's why, even if it comes a lengthy two years later, Without You is a welcome event, a disc that's not so much a remix album as a dub version re-imagining the possibilities, contexts and frameworks of conventional "remixing" and reinterpretations.
For all its eerie qualities as a work of music, King Midas Sound's Waiting for You was just as striking in spatial terms-- bass throbs, snare hits, and voices, usually broodingly quiet or tautly fretful, reverberating in sonic dub chambers that practically dwarfed them a thousandfold. With all that room, there's plenty of scope to rebuild things, rearrange the elements, and see how the angles of all those deep echoes change. Dabrye's 2008 chrome-and-neon g-funk remix of "One Ting" was one of the earliest reinterpretations of Kevin Martin and Roger Robinson's collaborative efforts, and possibly the best to date.
It seems a little strange on the surface, releasing a remix version of an album that is two years old. King Midas Sound’s debut, Waiting for You (2009), was a masterstroke in deep, dark, moody bass music complemented by warm, soulful vocals and smart lyrics. The album was so stark and intimate, it functioned as a single capsule of sound. Why pry that capsule open two years later and have a bunch of outside DJs and artists have at it? King Midas Sound mastermind Kevin Martin has said he hooked up with so many cool, talented people while on tour for Waiting for You, he wanted to involve them in reinterpreting the album, with one caveat.
“Chaos reigns” were the words of the self-disembowelling fox in the film I watched last night. With its darker-than-night themes of grief, guilt and despair, its anarchic narrative and its incredible cinematic beauty, Lars von Trier’s Antichrist does share some common ground with the music of King Midas Sound, one of the guises of musician/journalist Kevin Martin, who released his/their debut long player Waiting for You back in 2009. It was a chilling album, if something of a throwback to the Nineties trip hop scene, reminiscent of the likes of Portishead and Death in Vegas and yet sounded perfectly contemporary.
From industrial grind pioneer to dread-dub preacherman, [b]Kevin Martin[/b] has found many ways to express ‘heavy’ over the last 20-odd years. The softness that he ushered in with his [a]King Midas Sound[/a] project, a collaboration with sugar-voiced street poet [b]Roger Robinson[/b], was something new, however. Here, Martin hands debut album ‘[b]Waiting For You[/b]’ to a team of remixers.
In late 2009, the trio King Midas Sound—that would be Kevin “The Bug” Martin, Kiki Hitomi and Trini poet Roger Robinson—released its debut LP, Waiting For You. The atmospheric, sepulchral bass and dub songs were roomy enough to accommodate an army of sounds to go with their sea of Quaaluded emotion. With Waiting For You‘s barebone tracks, artists like the cosmic trip-hop producer Flying Lotus, London-via-Berlin duo Hype Williams (not to be confused with the famed music video director) and Scritti Politti frontman Green Gartside were given free reign to remold King Midas Sound’s debut with new vocals, beats and melodies.
What does it mean to love somebody? Deleuze and Guattari offer: ‘It is always to seize that person in a mass, extract him or her from a group, however small, in which he or she participates ... then to find that person’s own packs, the multiplicities he or she encloses within himself or herself which may be of an entirely different nature. To join them to mine, to make them penetrate mine, and for me to penetrate the other person’s.’ King Midas Sound’s 2009 debut album, Waiting For You, was a meditation on thwarted love, on the failed or half-failed intermingling of multiplicities.