IN DEFENSE OF THE REMIX
I am in the supermarket picking up some cat food when Marc Bianchi, the man behind the laptop rock of Her Space Holiday, phones me back on my cell phone. When I mention a cute girl I spy in the aisles, Bianchi’s inquisitive mind quickly switches into gear.
“Cool. Was she in the cat food aisle?” he asks.
This is the kind of linear thinking that spawned his very personal Mush Records debut, The Young Machines. It also probably played a role in formulating Bianchi’s new remix album.
“Remix records in general are kinda played out,” he admits straight away. He humbly recognizes the financial and, more importantly, creative benefits of remixes, having worked with the happy-go-lucky Dead Prez as well as Bjork on a few. Bianchi’s new record of versions is different, though. He’s outsourced creative control and instead doled his hushed hits out to his favorite artists.
The electro-pop maestro furnished for Mush a list of superstar candidates for The Young Machines remixes back near the beginning of the year. Bianchi was flooded with the project’s results when the remixes started showing up all at once. Folks who were busy with tours and such had finally gotten around to working up their revamped versions of Her Space Holiday’s warmly received confessional nuggets.
“Some of the remixes were very much a surprise,” Bianchi divulges. “I’m definitely happy, though. I’m very proud to be aligned with the artists on this record.”
He should be. It’s quite an impressive roster, boasting the likes of Stereolab, Arab Strap, The Album Leaf, Dntel and others. Producer/DJ Blockhead’s appearance, meanwhile, can be attributed to Bianchi’s first contact with the label’s classy lineup.
“Aesop Rock’s Float was the original reason I was drawn to Mush,” he says. He figures that Her Space Holiday, or at least The Young Machines, owes a lot to indie hip hop heavyweights like Ace Rock and El-P.
“I love Bazooka Tooth,” he says. “It’s nice to still get inspiration from people as they get bigger and bigger.
Bianchi has a soft spot for MF Doom, too, and the touring troupe wisely acquired a copy of Operation Doomsday along their trek. His interest in hip hop begat the concept of “Meet the Pressure,” a humorous lashing out against the record reviewers that had done him wrong in years previous.
“It was supposed to be sarcastic in a way,” he confesses. “I was listening to a lot of hip hop, and I thought it would be sort of ironic, because I’m said to be ‘kind of quiet.’ There’s good and bad press, I’m OK with it.”
Bianchi’s comments come in the midst of his early autumn tour, a somewhat bumpy headlining trek all across the country. Some of the tour was particularly unfriendly to Bianchi and his Mush Records labelmates, as the equipment van was nicked outside of Washington toward the end. This occurred after one of the five artists, Riz Maslen (a.k.a. Neotropic), had to drop out to take care of personal affairs back home. The van and equipment theft cut tours short for both Thavius Beck and Octavius. The URB magazine- sponsored outing became more of a “bittersweet” venture, according to Bianchi. If any good were to come from the bad, Bianchi’s not exactly short of material for the next album.
“I’m gonna start a brand new record and scrap most of what’s done, because of all this shit that’s recently happened,” he says. “This will give me a triple album’s worth of material.”