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Retro Retry 2- Another Another Green World

(Narrominded; US: 7 Oct 2009; UK: 7 Oct 2009)

It’s fair to ask whether the world is in need of another Another Green World. When Dutch label Narrominded rounded up indigenous acts to cover the entirety of Sonic Youth’s Evol on the first in the Retro Retry series, the bands included sounded in Thurston Moore’s debt. Many of the electronic acts on Retro Retry 2 seem almost coldly indifferent to the source material, to the point where several of the acts seem content on aping chord changes alone for its own creations and dubbing the result a “cover”. Only switching back and forth between Eno’s LP and this disc reveals the pedigree of certain tracks (and some, like Hakki Takki’s “Becalmed”, are still baffling). There’s no established etiquette of reverence for compilations of this sort, and often times, the most left-field covers wind up being the most interesting, but Another Another Green World too often takes out not only the melodies but the atmospherics, too. Eno’s prime instrument in constructing his masterpiece was the studio, and the studio work of the bulk of these derivations are too rudimentary, not to mention too plainly artificial, to hold up as engaging adaptations.

Closer representations like the glitchy brass version of “The Big Ship” by Coen Oscar Polack and the stroboscopically stuttering dance-ready rendition of the title track by This is Total War have mixed results. The former’s post-rock elegance could have done without the irritating clicking, which is frizzy rather than rhythmic, but is overall a pretty cut. The latter, which almost sounds like a remix, could have actually benefitted from being less allegiant to the track’s ephemerality and taken the promise of that hook to the ecstatic high that the riff suggests when linked to a club beat, as it is here.

Eno’s treatments on Robert Fripp’s guitar, Phil Collins’ drums, and his own ambidextrous jugglings were transubstantiations on what, by the 1970s, were almost certainly mundane arrangements.  Unfortunately, this is now the case for classic analogue synths in 2009. So, though Garçon Troupe’s “Sombre Reptiles”, is, in some ways, a delightful Model 500 take on the original piece’s dolorous gusts, it lacks the original’s intensity of detachment and difference. Likewise Legowelt (perhaps the biggest name here) do “In Dark Trees” as a dystopian cyber-nightmare, which is great as a Legowelt track, but it seems to have little to do with the La Planète Sauvage surrealist tenor of the original’s dark textures. Too much context gets sacrificed for too little connection.


Timothy Gabriele is a writer who studied English and Film at the University of Massachussetts at Amherst. He currently lives in the New Haven, CT region with his family. His column, The Difference Engine, appears regularly at PopMatters. He can be found blogging at 555 Enterprises.

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