The first single off So Many Worlds, “Hurricane”, appears here with several reworkings and spiffed up edits. Rambient, the group behind this tune, consists of Harry Gregson-Williams and Peter DiStefano, and their sound can only be compared to a witless version of BT on a bad day. Nothing about this song suggests anything remarkable about the duo’s compositions; while solid, this track sounds horribly dated and unoriginal.
Featuring Lisbeth Scott, “Hurricane” is a pallid imitation of Sarah McLachlan at her cheesiest. Here, her voice drifts uneasily over a hazy cloud of guitars, strings, and general fuzziness, and often descends into a trite quirky vocal-over-drum’n'bass-background fodder. Done will, this combination can be very effective (think early Lamb releases). Done badly, and it sounds forced and over-processed (refer to Icelandic songstress Moa’s commercial failure). This song falls somewhere in-between in that it has more rock-ish tendencies.
The remixes of this tune fare no better. Ryebot’s “Hurricane Mix” is a passé breaks-lite interpretation that merely replaces the original song’s hazy background with sharp, stuttered instrumentation. Tyas & Lawrence’s remix is a full-throttle trance rerub aimed straight for the dancefloor, but its clichéd use of relentless bass and clattering hi-hats has been done. And done well, as far as three to four years back. What completely kills this remix is the odd, pitched-down vocal which results in a dissonant, atonal, and off-key warbling. Falling short of an ATB rip-off or Chicane-style melodic trance, this rerub is a simple trance-by-numbers workout full of double-time snares, motive breakdowns, and dramatic buildups. Even worse, the vocal takes off at times into suspiciously Cher-like vocodered creepiness.
Rambient include the title track off their full-length here, presumably as a hint at what the album sounds like. This tune, featuring Miho Hatori, uses twangy guitars over Crystal Method-style instrumentation. Unfortunately, this instrumentation sounds like 1997’s “Get Busy Child”, which was a good tune at the time, but obviously out-of-date in 2001. Adding insult to the injury is Hatori’s irritating voice, one which sounds like an even more nasal version of Nelly Furtado.
Sadly, this EP does little to highlight Rambient’s admirable attempts at production. It’s not that their songs sound careless, but their production style is simply unoriginal and a few years too late. This could be overlooked, but their choice of vocalists is what finishes them in the end.
We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work as independent cultural critics and historians. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where costs have risen and advertising has dropped precipitously. We need your help to keep PopMatters strong and growing. Thank you.
// Notes from the Road
"Saul Williams played a free, powerful Summerstage show ahead of his appearance at Afropunk this weekend.READ the article