The character of Chicago darkwave goth-pop act Wingtips is cast in an interesting light on their new collection of remixes, titled Remixes appropriately. Drawing tracks from their two most recent LPs Deaf Pursuit and Cutting Room Floor, there’s basically two schools of remix at play here; versions that serve the sticky melodies of the originals with a few additive elements, and those that seek to reinvent the songs stylistically. Kris Baha’s remix of “Deaf Pursuit” is a good example of the latter, while the Aussie body music producer brings some heavy duty 16th note synth bass to the cut, the swirling, mysterious quality of the song is maintained by keeping Vincent Segretario’s vocals and guitar floating above the sturm and drang. God Module’s Jasyn Bangert goes the other route with his Hexheart version of synthpop cut “Crystal Clear”, making it over in the style of a milliennial goth club cut, complete with harsh whispered vocal additions and sharpened synthlines. There’s plenty to dig into with each approach, from Twin Tribes’ renovation of “Innocent Blood”, transforming the brooding melancholy of the original into a beefy synth-driven club contender, to TRAITRS tweaked version of “The Eye That Follows Suit” with more prominent drums and some extra layers of guitar in the chorus. The major revelation here is that Wingtips’ material is a fine canvas for whatever any given remixer wants to do with it, its character easy to follow in whatever permutation it appears in.
The name Sinke Dûs is not likely to register with any but the most die-hard of dark ambient aficionados, but for that elect company the arrival of the first new material from Marcus Lönebrink since 2007’s Akrasia is certainly cause for celebration. While taking advantage of technical advances since that record in terms of production and arrangement, Lönebrink pushes the envelope with his compositions, keeping an even keel between the more tranquil and musical side of the genre and its bleaker, discordant elements. Opener “Vastatio” vacillates between sober horns and chaotic static while the disorienting pads and shimmers of “Misgivings” whirl arhythmically around the boiler room pulse which sits at the base of the track. There’s a real sense of drama and bombast to works like this which is difficult to communicate while still maintaining the gravitas and medidative tone dark ambient often shoots for. Having collaborated with Pär Boström’s Kammarheit project on its landmark The Starwheel LP and on Akrasia, Lönebrink maintains that link by bringing Boström aboard for the windswept vistas of “Sanctum” on Modus Vivendi. By the time the legitimately beautiful and affecting simple melody of closer “Stonelore” is carried up by mournful strings and the echoes of far-off apocalypses, Modus Vivendi has carried you through a wider range of moods in one record than most dark ambient producers could hope to reach in whole discographies. A must-listen for any serious sojourners in dark ambience.