Attrition, in the person of Martin Bowes and a series of unnamed collaborators, has been exploring the dark side of ambient electronica for nearly 20 years. As such, they have been in the forefront of British darkwave/goth music, inspiring black-lace wearers in Europe and the US to be depressed.
The Hand That Feeds collects remixes of Attrition songs from the last few records, including 3 Arms and a Dead Cert and Jeopardy Maze. While the music from those albums is decidedly grim and could serve well as theme music for a black mass, the tracks on The Hand That Feeds are the music for the dance party that follows. The collection starts with Attrition’s signature techno-meets-classical introductory piece (the Dance or Die remix of “I Am a Thief”) then moves into Mick Dabrowski’s trance club Poleaxe Remix of “Cold Genius”. Not all of the remixes are 120bpm club mixes. There’s Mark Crumby’s drum’n'bass mix of “The Second Hand”; a techno treatment in the DOS remix of “Waste Not Want… More”. Some, such as Chris n Cozey’s “I Am (Etermity)” remix generally preserve the darkwave roots of Attrition’s sound.
It’s a matter of taste, I suppose, but it’s hard to listen to an Attrition record all the way through without getting tired of the same soprano “ahhh-ah-ahh-ah” that runs throughout in the same key, with no words. This is relieved somewhat in the remix collection, but only because the wail is only heard on half the tracks. It still manages to get tedious about halfway through the disc, though. Taken indivualy, the remixes are rather good, and would do well on a dance floor. But taken all together, sitting at home listening, it can get old.