Friday 6 December 2013


Last time I chatted about anything to do with Austra it was in relation to the new video for their hauntingly dark electropop song 'Forgive Me' – a dirty, modern-day fairytale of absolution. This time around though, it's not just Canadian band Austra standing centre stage – nope, their song 'Painful Like' has been given a hard-edged, club-infiltrating rework by London musicmaker xxxy, or perhaps it's XXXY or even Xxxy. Whatever. In any case, he's done the remix and it's a good one.

Strangely I haven't heard much from xxxy since, well, since I last wrote about his song 'Taking Me Higher' in April this year. I first got onto xxxy though thanks to Spotify – so all the people who say Spotify is good-for-nothing, or evil, or whatever, can just quell their crazed, hype-fuelled anger. Cause Spotify can be a good way to discover artists you've never heard of. Like xxxy for me like two years ago. His song 'Ordinary Things', and other garage-tinged jams like it, hit a very grateful nerve in my body and my spirit and they're often in my memory.

This is like... 3 months old, but I'm sure there are still people who haven't heard it. Like me. Whoops. Haha. Lol. Are you ok with this?

In any case, xxxy's remix of Austra's 'Painful Like' – originally a Kraftwerk-flavoured foray into four-on-the-floor electropop – is not garage but more like electro-disco. It keeps the original's mid-bass melody but gives it some distorted bite, adding raw disco hi-hats and dollops of synth – in the form of dynamic-forming swirls of sound or ambient mist-like swathes that keep up the atmosphere. As the track progresses, the bassline becomes more and more inflected with shining treble; all the while, the voice of Katie Stelmanis (singer of Austra), is treated with respect, weaving through the song soaked with reverb, allowed to breathe on its own.

It's in the second half of the song where things start getting busy. Flute synth leads soar over the top of everything for a dark, voidsome melody and waves of sound begin rising up towards the end, all elements coming together for a perfect finale to a remix that pays homage to the original song, adding to it what he feels – I assume – needs adding for his more dance-oriented version.

Like xxxy on Facebook
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Listen to xxxy on SoundCloud

Like Austra on Facebook
Visit Austra official site
Follow Austra on Twitter
Watch Austra on YouTube
Learn about Austra on Wikipedia

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