ALBUM REVIEW: THE GRAVITY DRIVE – TESTAMENT – REMIXED by ELUSIVE

7/10

THE GRAVITY DRIVE RELEASE DEBUT ALBUM 'TESTAMENT' 1

Fans of the duo The Gravity Drive are in for a treat. On December 4th the pair is releasing a remix of their stellar debut album Testament. The remix was produced by Elusive, a husband and wife House genre duo made up of Bryn John and Heather Wulff. The remix is a mind bending take on The Gravity Drive’s original offering.

The Gravity Drive hales from Netherbury, West Dorset, the duo is made up the husband and wife team Ava and Elijah Wolf. They are proudly independent and resourceful, as evinced by having produced their debut full length Testament in their front sitting room. In regards to creating and releasing music directly to the public, they are a prime example of how far Independent music acts have come in the last 10 years. The duo met and became friends with Heather Wulff when she was chief engineer on Testament. She suggested a remix release of the album. Ava and Elijah, who are major fans of Dance House and Electronica, were delighted with the idea of re envisioning the original album. Heather and her husband Bryn John produced the remix at their headquarters in Brighton.

The remix is significantly different from the material on the debut release; where the original release was an introspective intimate affair, the remix is a shapeshifting House dance fest that is just as engaging. The tracklist is different from the original starting off with The Wilderness. The song has a dramatic opening which takes the song and filling in the spaces with driving rhythm. The Wilderness has immediate impact and transforms from the original creation into a fantastic Dance track. Ava’s vocals soar creating a blissed out selection.

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On the original release of Testament the vocals between Ava and Elijah interwove creating a space for intimate introspection. On the remix the accompaniment takes more of a front and center position in the compositions. Many of the songs on the remix clearly stand apart from the original composition convey something completely different in texture and meaning. The album is an enjoyable full on House Dance experience. Some of the standouts on the are Cherry Ripe which was originally a radio friendly tune with gospel like aura. The song goes through a complete metamorphosis with the new approach. Trick of Light is also notable for the differences musically from the original. The real standout for me is Tear Me Apart which becomes this sensual song with a real visceral kick that makes me like it even more than the original composition. In addition Hearts and Minds gets a funkier treatment that dirties the song up with a threaded piano coda that weaves throughout the song. The track gains this Massive Attack vibe, making it a track not to be missed.

Remixes can be tricky entities, where most peoples’ opinions are found at one end of the spectrum or the other. Some people really enjoy them and others avoid them like a plague. One thing that justifies remixes of various artists’ releases is that it can be enlightening to see how songs can be deconstructed and rebuilt. There is much to be said for this remixed version. It is a beat driven electronica dance fest that would work fantastically at a party. Missing from the remix is some of the beautiful fragility of the original release. There is less of a cohesive connection between Ava and Elijah’s voices. The original release and the remix are certainly at two different ends of the scale. The original was intimate and more characteristic of the singer/songwriter genre. The remix is saturated in House Dance Electronica and those complimentary beat patterns. Neither version is better than the other but each will speak to you depending on your mood and particular surroundings.

I do have one reservation, and it is that it might have been a better idea to select a handful of the songs to release as a remix EP instead of the entire album. I would have preferred Boy, Fun and Blindfold be left alone as they are almost flawless on the original and lose something with the remix. The original constructs of those songs are stronger in their first presentation that on the new release. The Gravity Drive’s original debut of Testament and the remix are an engaging exercise in compare and contrast. On full display are the excellent musical abilities of both Ava and Elijah and the apt production of Elusive.

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