Album Review Battles - Dross Glop

Others take Battles into even more experimental territory than the band themselves.

Nearly a year ago experimental trio Battles released their second full length ‘Gloss Drop’, a world away from ‘Mirrored’ as their frontman Tyondai Braxton left the band, but in his place were a set of guest vocalists including Gary Numan and Kazu Makino; who managed to break up the otherwise instrumental release without overshadowing the three members’ idiosyncratic talents. In a live environment, Battles are constantly remixing their own songs so it seems natural for them to be bringing out a series of remixes, by other artists. Especially with the remix album gaining popularity as of late with Jamie xx’s rework of Gil Scott Heron’s final album ‘I’m New Here’ being a massive hit amongst those who are fans of both artists. Titled ‘Dross Glop’, everything about ‘Gloss Drop’ has been changed to fit the remix format, released as four installations that each has a different take on the artwork, with different coloured paint being splashed on the sculpture [a big pink blob] that band member Dave Konopka created.

First off, most of this album sounds very little like the original which is a surprise because generally, some remixes tend to loosely stick to the original song with possibly an added beat or occasionally just modulation of the vocal line. The songs on ‘Dross Glop’ transform into complete different output but inevitably, don’t come anywhere close to the originals. Whilst The Field strips all of the vocals from ‘Sweetie & Shag’, Pat Mahoney (of LCD Soundsystem) and Dennis McNany keep electronic legend Gary Numan’s vocals but disperses them throughout nine minutes in which they recreate the constructing and deconstruction technique that Battles have showcased, especially in ‘Atlas’.

One of the biggest transformations is on ‘Ice Cream’ as Gang Gang Dance strip away the twinkling sounds reminiscent of an ice cream van and take it to even more experimental heights, turning it into a tribal affair, using Matias Aguayo’s vocals as an extra instrument as his ‘aah’s’ and ‘ooh’s’ become frequent towards the end, sounding more pained than the joyfully tone they take on the original. Although the remixes do not do the original songs on ‘Gloss Drop’ justice, ‘Dross Glop’ does give other artists their chance to interpret Battles’ songs in their own way, from a rap twist with Shabazz Palaces to others going into even more experimental territory than the band themselves.


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