Posted on July 1st, 2015 (11:00 am) by Justin Goodman

It’s unusual for a musician to release new music not even a year after a new album (unless they’re Savant). Thankfully Panda Bear, Noah Lennox of Animal Collective doesn’t break precedent. Instead, PBVSGR Remixes is the Six Million Dollar Man: they have the money, they can rebuild him. But what makes Panda Bear’s remix album distinct is an inability to account for its existence. Unlike Harry Nilsson’s Aerial Pandemonium Ballet, it is not the revival of overlooked music, and unlike John Coltrane’s Infinity, it is not a wife’s form of mourning and memorialization. The five DJs featured on the album, in fact, seem intent on blurring the source entirely.

This is a shame since the intention seemed clear. Meeting becomes battling; facing death becomes challenging it. You’d expect, for example, the subtly adorned “Crosswords” to become texturally menacing. In Pete Rock’s hands, but the song instead begins almost entirely unaltered besides the contribution of a drum machine’s lazy rhythm plopped over with an occasional grunt cringingly similar to a Yamaha keyboard’s DJ Mode. While easily the worst track on the EP, DJ Marfox’s remix of “Come To Your Senses” is a close second through the opposite method: complete erasure. The somber creaminess of the original hardens into a house beat so aged and rigid you would break your teeth on it. And let’s be honest when we ask, who thought dance music was a good idea for Panda Bear?

Danny L Harle, Andy Stott, and Container help to balance out the rest. All three creep yet thrust their way into your attentions with the off-putting macabre ranging from ironically bubbly like Sophie to rattles and hoots which must surely be the voice of death itself. But, while Harle and Stott bring throb and pulse to their remixes, it is the shamefully under-known Container (Ren Schofield) and the "loud, hirsute, pulsing beats" of his remix of “Mr Noah” that brings the VS to PBVSGR. In particular, his choice to backmask certain vocals bring out the eeriness of the EP title in line with what is the spirit of Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper, a spirit not dissimilar to the dream sequence in "Twin Peaks."

If there is anything to get out of PBVSGR Remixes, it’s Container. Everything prior to his track, the last, is an arrow pointed to it. It encapsulates Panda Bear in the same way that every other track will confuse Panda Bear fans. This EP is the path of least resistance, warned against in “Mr Noah”: “So much for the safest vibe/Tossed aside.”

Track Listing:

  1. Crosswords (Pete Rock Remix)
  2. Come To Your Senses (Danny L Harle Remix)
  3. Come To Your Senses (Dj Marfox Remix)
  4. Boys Latin (Andy Stott Remix)
  5. Mr Noah (Container Remix)
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

55 / 100
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