EP REVIEW: RODNEY CROMWELL – BLACK DOG

8/10

EP REVIEW: RODNEY CROMWELL - BLACK DOG

Rodney Cromwell’s Age Of Anxiety album is one of the finest electronic records of the year and, without spoiling any surprises, is pretty much a shoo in for a highly placed finish in this blog’s Top 20 albums of the year come December. It’s clear from the album that Rodney knows how an electronic record should be put together and the release of the Black Dog e.p. (released on Happy Robots Records) shows that he is well aware of one of the other rules of electronic music – a remix e.p. is always a good thing. This particular e.p. is a wonderful thing.

The title track of the e.p. is the last track on the album itself. It’s here in two forms, Version and Extended Version. Both remixes are by Rodney Cromwell himself and are really cool takes on the track. Version highlights the original’s Peter Hook like bass and New Order circa Low Life and Brotherhood sequencers, adding a dancier texture to it and presenting an alternative but superb version of the song. As you’d expect, and as you’d hope for, Extended Version is exactly what it says it is and, given that it is generally accepted by people who get this sort of thing that extended versions of songs are what 12″ singles were designed for, that is a very, very good thing indeed.

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Sandwiched between those two mixes are two remixes of standout album tracks. You Will Struggle (Rod’s Glitchy Disco Mix) adds an army of sequencers and drum machines and takes the track on a disco adventure very successfully. It brings to mind classic 12″ remixes from the days when that type of thing was constructed with care rather than phoned in by a listless D. J. The highlight of the e.p. is Barry Was An Arms Dealer (AUW’s North-Poindexter Remix). Arguably, Barry.. is the best track on Age Of Anxiety and this take on it removes the innocent Speak & Spell era Depeche Mode feel and replaces it with an initially part ambient, part Kraftwerk feel before turning it into the sort of moody electronics mid 80’s era Depeche aimed for. It’s tremendous.

If you already have Age Of Anxiety (and why wouldn’t you?) then this will be right up your street. If you don’t have either release, then all you have to do is go and get both. You’ll kick yourself if you don’t.

To get the e.p. head to Rodney Cromwell’s Bandcamp page. If you’re quick you’ll be able to get your hands on one of the 10 limited edition promo cd’s which I can of course highly recommend.

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