Her Space Holiday: The Young Machines Remixed

Hunter Felt

For a Sunday afternoon mope, what could be better than an album of melancholy electro-pop? How about that same album remixed by the likes of Super Furry Animals, Stereolab, and Dntel?"

Her Space Holiday

The Young Machines Remixed

Label: Dirty Loop Music
US Release Date: 2004-11-02
UK Release Date: Available as import
Amazon affiliate

The idea of an album existing entirely of remixes of songs, not just from an artist's career, but from one single album, is not exactly the most alluring concept. Does anyone want to dust off their copies of Sneaker Pimps' Becoming RemiXed? Take some master tapes, add a few high-profile producers, remixers, or dilettante musicians, and, voila, you have instant product. Ultimately what results from this discography padding is an album only bought by those who owned the original album, who are quickly disappointed with a product that consists of tracks that sound too much like the album tracks already owned along with other remixes that share none of the qualities which made the original album appealing. For the average rock fan, remixes should be left to import singles and stopgap EPs, if that.

For a while, the only "entire album remixed" project that has worked out as not only a viable listening alternative, but an actual improvement over the original has been Mad Professor vs. Massive Attack's critically lauded No Protection, where legendary dub producer Mad Professor took a good but ultimately bland album and injected it with a chaotic energy that Massive Attack could never have discovered by itself. On this shortest of short lists, we can now add Her Space Holiday's The Young Machines Remixed. Her Space Holiday founder (and sole member) Marc Bianchi has enlisted an absolute A-list of talent and let them loose on his own Young Machines album for a complete overhaul. Having made his version of the album, Bianchi has the refreshing lack of ego to allow the remixers to stamp their own individuality on his own highly personal work.

Part of the reason The Young Machines Remixed works so well is that the source material shares many qualities with Massive Attack's Protection. Her Space Holiday is a very talented act, but The Young Machines suffers from the same lack of distinction that plagued the tasteful-but-underwhelming Protection. Countless times while writing a review of a good, but not astounding album, I find myself writing about scattered moments that touch upon a certain genius, and then speculating about the great album that might be hidden within. The Young Machines Remixed answers such speculation, as, for the most part, the remixers find something great inside Bianchi's original and enhance it with their own notable skills.

The remixes that most closely follow the conventional pop structure are the ones that best show how a remixer can discover the hidden essence of a song. Arab Strap aptly transforms "Something to Do with My Hands" into an undulating techno-pop classic, in the vein of Hefner's brief electronic phase. With an added spike from Broken Spindles, "My Girlfriend's Boyfriend" turns Bianchi's self-loathing examination of the mixed emotions in an illicit affair into a thrashing yet sorrowful number that holds a candle to anything on the Postal Service's Give Up.

The other style of remixing, however, is often the more fascinating route, and the true highlights of The Young Machines Remixed are the experimental tracks where the remixer finds something in the original song that even the writer did not know was there. The Super Furry Animals, for instance, find a shimmery, sad psych-pop gem in the overtly confessional "Sleepy California", which deals explicitly with the death of Bianchi's grandmother and his strained relationship with his mother. The Super Furry Animals find the uplifting core of hopefulness in this otherwise morose song. Stereolab, which is now officially one of the grizzled veterans of underground/alternative/indie rock, turn "Girl Problem" into, well, an early '90s Stereolab song: overactive keyboards, shattering guitar riffs, and the obligatory sunshine pop interlude. Both of these tracks, in essence, recreate Her Space Holiday songs into songs that would fit easily into their own catalogue, but they would not be successful if The Young Machines did not contain elements common to both acts.

A remix album cannot consist entirely of gems, if only because a remix album is in essence an experiment. There are no true disasters on the record, even if Nobody's remix of "From South Carolina" is something of an anticlimactic ending, but the rest of the remixes are simply interesting alternatives to the originals. Even Dntel's contribution, which should be an automatic highlight, is simply a dry, string section heavy version of "Japanese Gum". (Although he should be awarded points for knowing well enough not to attempt to make his contribution sound like the Postal Service Mach 2). Both the Album Leaf and Blockhead fall into the trap of looping abuse that has doomed many a mediocre remix. Still, the fact the album is as smooth of a listen as its original is amazing considering the sheer variety of approaches the ten remixers attempt. The Young Machines Remixed is a rare creature: a remix album, with ten different remixers, that actually works as a beginning-to-end listening experience.


To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.

Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

Keep reading... Show less

Very few of their peers surpass Eurythmics in terms of artistic vision, musicianship, songwriting, and creative audacity. This is the history of the seminal new wave group

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominating committee's yearly announcement of the latest batch of potential inductees always generates the same reaction: a combination of sputtering outrage by fans of those deserving artists who've been shunned, and jubilation by fans of those who made the cut. The annual debate over the list of nominees is as inevitable as the announcement itself.

Keep reading... Show less

Barry Lyndon suggests that all violence—wars, duels, boxing, and the like—is nothing more than subterfuge for masculine insecurities and romantic adolescent notions, which in many ways come down to one and the same thing.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) crystalizes a rather nocturnal view of heterosexual, white masculinity that pervades much of Stanley Kubrick's films: after slithering from the primordial slime, we jockey for position in ceaseless turf wars over land, money, and women. Those wielding the largest bone/weapon claim the spoils. Despite our self-delusions about transcending our simian stirrings through our advanced technology and knowledge, we remain mired in our ancestral origins of brute force and domination—brilliantly condensed by Kubrick in one of the most famous cuts in cinematic history: a twirling bone ascends into the air only to cut to a graphic match of a space station. Ancient and modern technology collapse into a common denominator of possession, violence, and war.

Keep reading... Show less

This book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Marcelino Truong launched his autobiographical account of growing up in Saigon during the Vietnam War with the acclaimed graphic novel Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63, originally published in French in 2012 and in English translation in 2016. That book concluded with his family's permanent relocation to London, England, as the chaos and bloodshed back home intensified.

Now Truong continues the tale with Saigon Calling: London 1963-75 (originally published in French in 2015), which follows the experiences of his family after they seek refuge in Europe. It offers a poignant illustration of what life was like for a family of refugees from the war, and from the perspective of young children (granted, Truong's family were a privileged and upper class set of refugees, well-connected with South Vietnamese and European elites). While relatives and friends struggle to survive amid the bombs and street warfare of Vietnam, the displaced narrator and his siblings find their attention consumed by the latest fashion and music trends in London. The book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Keep reading... Show less

Canadian soul singer Elise LeGrow shines on her impressive interpretation of Fontella Bass' classic track "Rescue Me".

Canadian soul singer Elise LeGrow pays tribute to the classic Chicago label Chess Records on her new album Playing Chess, which was produced by Steve Greenberg, Mike Mangini, and the legendary Betty Wright. Unlike many covers records, LeGrow and her team of musicians aimed to make new artistic statements with these songs as they stripped down the arrangements to feature leaner and modern interpretations. The clean and unfussy sound allows LeGrow's superb voice to have more room to roam. Meanwhile, these classic tunes take on new life when shown through LeGrow's lens.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.