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  • Vinyl review: Goldfrapp ~ “Ride A White Horse”

    2011 - 07.10

    Direct from Greece comes this awesome 12 inch with only 2 songs on it.  I believe this record is out of print, although I don’t think it’s really what you’d call rare.  The Greeks had the lowest price on this single that I could find, so I took the plunge.  Good move… although I knew this in advance!

    Side A is really the main attraction here, and it bears a title as gigantically long as the track itself: Goldfrapp – Ride A White Horse (Ewan Pearson’s Disco Odyssey Parts 1 + 2).  Ewan’s remix of the Goldfrapp tune is worthy of the ‘Odyssey’ in it’s title, as well as the divider into two halves.  The affair begins with a simple 4 on the floor accompanied by hits from a stiff square wave-synth that forecasts the direction we’re headed.  There’s a smattering of sounds throughout the mix that have an 8-bit/lo-fi videogame bent, however the combination with the Goldfrapp vocals and some dance-oriented drums keep the tune club-friendly.

    What makes this such a standout track is what happens halfway through: the mix has appeared run its course, having already used the full palette of vocal samples and drawing things down, WAY down to a simplistic beat that would seem to indicate a conclusion is at hand.  But that’s not what happens.  The energy simmers on it’s lowest setting for a good stretch of time, and slowly, parts of the track that dropped out long ago begin to return, some with a different rhythm, and a limited number of new but similar sounds begin tracing out a very slight shift in direction.

    It IS subtly different, yet it’s enough the same that you feel like we’ve unlocked some secret bonus stage of the original track.  Indeed to carry the videogame metaphor, the second half of the mix has that same triumphant feeling of almost meeting your end–narrowly avoiding death–and then returning from the brink to explode your high score and squash lots of bad guys!  Indeed at about 13 minutes when the vocal samples come back in, it feels like fireworks should be going off in the sky.  The second half never quite climbs to the same heights that the first half does, but

    What makes this track so hot is that it embodies what a lot of long-winded electronica is supposed to be all about: taking you on a massive journey that feels like a celebration, with highs and lows which stretch to uninhibited lengths.  A ton of stuff out there attempts this, but it’s rarely achieved convincingly or authoritively.  For that reason, Ewan’s Odyssey’s been something of an instant classic for me; it’s a remix with a quality original vocal, and he uses that vocal in some creative ways, letting Goldfrapp’s high notes stretch out long and wide.  There’s a ton of neat, bubbling synth sounds complete with warble-y basslines, cascading laser sounds falling from above, and buzzy punches festooned throughout.  The percusion is lively with good use of clave and tom samples, and the beat is a club dancebeat, although it’s not really your stereotypical “uun-tss uun-tss” typa beat.

    The B-side to this record was a nice surprise.  It’s a François K remix of another Goldfrapp track called “Disco Whores (FK Dub)”.  Being a big Grand Theft Auto fan, his name was recognizable to me from his DJ work on the “Electro-choc” radio station in GTA IV.  I’m sure someone  out there will laugh at that comment, seeing Mr. K’s giant legacy in the early days of House.  Anyhow, the track itself is sort of a creepy St. Germain thing almost.  A slowed down house beat with a long, grinding riff on the vox from the original.  Nice.  (but this was just a bonus cut for me)

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