A full-on remix album seems to be a bit of an oddity these days, something more reflective of the mid-to-late nineties when bands were flirting with DJ culture in hopes of becoming more “post-rock”. In the case of Icarus though, a duo whose roots lie in the drum’n’bass scene from that era, it seems to make perfect sense. “Sylt”, originally released back in 2007, was reportedly a remix album from the start, with members Ollie Brown and Sam Britton reworking various live recordings of theirs to form the core of that album. Here the remixing duties have been handed over to a cast of artists who work in the fields of experimental electronica or straight-up experimental sound design, including Xela, CoH, ISAN, Ital Tek, Badun, and Opiate.
I’ll openly admit to not having heard a single track from the original album, so it’s difficult to fully appreciate or be overly critical of what is being (re)worked out. Given that some of these tracks are remixed multiple times though, such as the five versions of “Keet”, you can still gather a sense of how each of these remixers put their own unique thumbprint on the source material. For example, Opiate’s take on “Keet” which incorporates fluttery streaks of sound with gradual cut-up beats is vastly different from the banjo’n’beat version of CoH’s. Similarly, Karsten Pflum’s hypnotic robo-funk version of First Inf(E)Raence is many shades away from the uncharacteristically groovey, almost Gorillaz-sounding take by Xela. Pit the delicate free jazz clatter of Isambard Khroustaliov and Lothar Ohlmeier (“Jyske Rugkiks”) against the scratchy avant guitar cut-ups from Svartbag (“Rugkiks”), throw in some popping dubstep moves by Ital Tek (“Selfautoparent”), and this album begins to sound a lot like a “Wire Tapper” compilation. Although there is plenty to enjoy, it’s still hard to fathom anyone beyond hardcore fans of this band or oddball electronica completists shelling out the cash for an album like this. 6/10 -- David Perron (22 July, 2009)