Wednesday, 5 March 2008



This is one hell of a majestic track.  It seemed to appear out of nowhere to us at a time when our tastes were mainly lo-fi and post rock and any electronic listening was mostly tokenistic.  We had no idea who David Holmes and absolutely no idea who Serge Gainsbourg was (away from his sex record that our parents owned but kept hidden away from us).  This five track CD however held remixes by Arab Strap and Mogwai, which made us more than a little curious and excited.

“Don’t Die Just Yet” is all kinds of good things to/for me.  Now that over the years my tastes and knowledge have expanded I am now fully familiar with Serge Gainsbourg and the tracks “Melody” and “Cargo Culte” (from the album Histoire De Melody Nelson) that are so exquisitely sampled and weaved into these pieces.

The main version is a relative groove not a million miles away from the originals it is so heavily sampling (to the point Gainsbourg gets an “all written by” credit).  Texturally Holmes plays it smart combining the tracks by stitching them with lush beats.  All in all it sounds a very trip hop experience that is reassuring slow and laidback.  It’s a slow caress.

The first remix is something of a self reworking entitled “Don’t Chant Just Yet”.  To this he layers in keyboards coupled with an ethereal feel that lifts the track to a higher realm while retaining its menace.  Higher ground.

The highlight of the package comes via Arab Strap and their interpretation entitled “The Holiday Girl (Don’t Die Just Yet)”.  This king version arrives with a trademark Aidan Moffat narrative/anecdote, more confession from the most honest man of Scotland.  The tale of nostalgia relates another crush of his, a kind of holiday romance with the suggestion of reverse stalking that moves onto a family bash and the awkwardness that comes with such occasions.  Musically this version is very much fully reworked.  The opening notes are redone via a key line as a classic drummer machine drives proceedings.  Within a few bars it provides goosebumps not least with the declaration “it was a royal wedding”.  Then the story arrives at the critical point, the moment of connection that resides in failure at which point the track jubilantly explodes and the works of Serge Gainsbourg triumphantly drop in at the most appropriate moment.  They fucking nail it, they get it.

Impressively the reworkings remain strong as the Delakota mix adopts a similar approach by etching in a narrative.  As they drop in more deep beats this story runs at a distinctly darker pace as the strings of “Melody” are executed to exhibit moments of violence suggesting a chilling murder.  With this they add their own warped free jazz sounds to represent screaming while new guitars display dizziness.  This is a lost moment of death, of illegal activity and corrupting a device.  It’s so fitting and unlaboured.  There is no happy ending here but there are survivors.

Finally Mogwai close proceedings with a mix very much of the time as it crowbars the haunting intro of “Good Morning Captain” of Slint loops into the mix as an Ivor Cutler-esqe individual makes the occasional interjection.  The song aurally wilts before your ears before transcending into their trademark distorted noise and end of the world emotions until the dust settles and drum n bass emerges as the new driver of the song.  All life ends.

Once upon a time electronic music really was this good.

Thesaurus moment: expire.

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