Chain D.L.K. review of Darkling

Published: 29/11/2012

Named after the most rhythmical track of his debut album "Ambients", who grabbed the attention of many listeners and reviewers dealing with darkest declensions of ambient, electro-pop and synth-pop, "Darkling" is a voluptuous collection of remixes by various (mostly unknown) musicians Sunderland-based sound artist Graeme Donaldson met. Remix albums are not my favorite ones as sometimes the original version usually biases the final result of remixer's manipulations, but there are many exception when this circumstance doesn't occur: "Darkling" can be considered an exception as well due to the impressive variety of styles which have been injected by remixers, who mostly doesn't skew the atmosphere of the original track. The fact it offers the possibility to knew some obscure producers and sound artists is another relevant feature of this release and I've to say there are many interesting interpretations. As it's a digital release which gives the possibility to the listeners to buy single track, if I had to pick a limited number of them to suggest, any choice would be somewhat inequitable. The decision of including the album version gives the possibility to appreciate better what I highlighted before: the remixes which are closer to the original version are maybe the ones which sounds more focused on the dark and ethereal vein, which pulsates in the original version. I particularly enjoyed "Doug Lynner's Los Gatos Mix" and "Ravenslament Wake Up #13 Mix" - both of them reminded to me that kind of dark ambient-dub (one of the first names which come to my mind is G.O.L.) for the tastes of Dead Can Dance, which had some rushes in the middle 90ies -, the abstract suppurations of "SKatterBrain Remix" - it could evoke some stuff by Sabres Of Paradise - and the amazing electronic procession of "Pinklogik Remix", but all those versions who squeezed the track to highlight the rhythmical aspect are equally interesting, particularly "Synoizian Dance Edit" - a well balanced mixture of electro and acid techno -, "Endo Meso Pick N Mix" - an atmospheric coalescence of charming trip-hop and obscure downbeat -. Some surprises come from remxies of other songs as well: "Arrow Down Hill Defiance Remix" of "Ever Emptiness" could let you imagine an unexpected appearance by Radiohead or Stateless in some hidden episode of Resident Evil or 3D Realms/Monolith Production' "Blood", whose horror settings could be evoked in a more concrete way by the scary atmospheres on "Ark Elfs Brain Haemorrhage mix" of "The Enfield Poltergeist" or the tormented Beefcake-like breakbeat on "Scriptkiddy's Wrong St Ives Mix" of "The Esoteric Order Of Dagon", while gamelan-driven "Lunar Re:Mix" of "From You" by Anguajy could let you imagine some Balinese lunar modul! You can find a certain relief in the amazing reinterpretation of "Of Rolling Hills" by Madeleine Bloom, whom critics are calling Germany's answer to Imogen Heap..its listening could immerse listener into an imaginary nursery room for Casper and other sweetie baby ghosts!

4 out of 5 stars.