Review: Earth ‘Earth 2.23 Special Lower Frequency Mix’

Having recently reviewed and thoroughly enjoyed Earth 2 Special Low Frequency Version (as was to be expected), if you’ve decided to fork out for the 30th anniversary edition of the album then you’ll also be treated with this bonus record/disc of goodies in the form of remixes/reworkings from prominent underground artists that include; Kevin Martin aka The Bug, Robert Hampson (Loop/Main), Brett Netson (Caustic Resin/Built to Spill) and Justin K Broadrick who naturally needs no introduction.

Earth 'Earth 2.23 Special Lower Frequency Mix' Artwork
Earth ‘Earth 2.23 Special Lower Frequency Mix’ Artwork

What’s fascinating about this record is that the choice of remixers demonstrates how Earth‘s influence and impact stretches beyond the narrow scope of the doom/drone scene.

The first of two remixes by The Bug, Angels is one of the heavier and darker sounding pieces on the album as it’s reworked here into a suitably dystopian slice of dark hip-hop featuring grime artist Flowdan. The two are long-time collaborators as the chemistry and effortlessness with which the track is constructed demonstrates the ease with which they work together. If artists such as dälek and Death Grips tick your boxes (as they do mine), you will absolutely love what is created here, a superbly punchy way to start the album.

The second of The Bug‘s contributions (this time under his birth name Kevin Richard Martin), is his interpretation of the album’s longest and most challenging piece Like Gold And Faceted. The original saw incidental percussion and layers of dominating bass/guitar drones that would prove challenging to even the most seasoned of experimental music fans. In Martin‘s capable and experienced hands to quote the promotional notes he ‘puts it on a dub platter’ and feeds it through a psych/space-rock filter into something altogether more restive and engrossing. The extremely punishing and uncompromising nature of the original has been distilled into something more ambient and dare I say ‘listenable’ (for want of a better term) for the uninitiated.

Robert Hampson is next with May Your Vanquished Be Saved From The Bondage Of Their Sins and there are no clues that I can spot as to which track this is a remix of, though I am willing to hazard a guess that it could be the aforementioned Like Gold And Faceted due to its uncompromising length and sonics (I’m happy to be proven wrong of course). Hampson does a superb job in rendering the whole affair into something beautifully hypnotic in a similar vein to Loop and Spacemen 3 but on quaaludes. If you thought Saint Vitus’ Mournful Cries was glacially paced, you ain’t heard nothing yet.

Earth 2.23 Special Lower Frequency Mix is a wonderful accompaniment to Earth 2 and just as essential…

Finally, we have two reimaginings of Teeth Of Lions Rule The Divine, the first of which comes courtesy of the aforementioned Justin K Broadrick. As you would expect from a member of Godflesh the track is given an altogether nastier industrial makeover, with grinding drum machines and sludgier riffs served up with wondrously murderous intent.

The second version of Teeth… comes from Brett Netson who collaborated with Earth on 2014’s Primitive And Deadly. It is the second longest number on the album and showcases Netson‘s talent as a multi-instrumentalist featuring stringed instrumentation and fine guitar work that gives it a haunting quality as well as a more contemporary feel. Sound wise, it could come from any number of Earth‘s latter day releases what with its country and post-rock inclinations. An intelligent piece and a personal favourite alongside opener Angels.

Remixes have come a long way since the ‘90s and the work performed here serves as a perfect exemplification. Earth 2.23 Special Lower Frequency Mix is a wonderful accompaniment to Earth 2 and just as essential.

Label: Sub Pop
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Scribed by: Reza Mills