This release sees Stripped Recordings hit their 150th outing, and they’ve put together something special for the occasion.
The Echo Brothers and Kim Wayman offer up ‘Key’, which takes the label into cinematic trip-hop, while Tim Angrave serves up a beatless version and Michael A and Jamie Stevens retool the track for deep house and progressive/techno floors respectively.
The Echo Brothers’s original features lush pizzicato and bowed string arrangements, metallic beats, and Kim Wayman’s powerful voice. The song itself is rather too ballady for my tastes – to be honest, it’s not really the kind of thing I listen to when I venture beyond my usual fare.
Cafe del Mar resident Tim Angrave’s beatless remix allows the string parts to really stand out, while adding in a lovely hypnotic synth motif that rises up periodically. It’s still not really my cup of tea, but I liked this version quite a bit more than the original – the string arrangements sound even better, and it takes the poppier edge off the chorus, allowing me to enjoy the song more too.
Stripped regular Michael A turns in the first of the floor-oriented treatments, and it’s one of the strongest bits of work I’ve heard from this young Belarusian producer. Foregoing his usual subtle melodic techno sound in favour of an immersive and beautiful deep house flavour, which builds a melancholic soundscape around the vocals.
Jamie Stevens’s last remix for Stripped was his astounding 11-minute version of Dibby Dougherty and David Young’s ‘The Black Smoke’, and he obviously felt he had to follow that up in suitable style. His take on The Echo Brothers clocks in a little shy of 11-minutes, and it’s a deeply emotional string-laden epic, fuelled by a motoring, constantly shifting bassline. There’s no big hook running through the track, but rather a sequence of individually compelling moments that form an unpredictable but extremely satisfying journey, while the percussion and attention to detail is top-notch, as you’d expect. It’s the best thing Jamie Stevens has done since last year’s masterpiece ‘The Wonder of You’, and that’s saying something; simply put, it’s wonderful.
This is one of Stripped’s best releases this year, and a great way for the label to celebrate reaching another landmark. It’s the upbeat remixes of the Echo Brothers’s track that really have me excited here, with both Michael A and Jamie Stevens really bringing their A-game, with the latter stealing the show for me. 8.5/10