Review
Isis
Oceanic Remixes Volume III

Robotic Empire (2004) Michael

Isis – Oceanic Remixes Volume III cover artwork
Isis – Oceanic Remixes Volume III — Robotic Empire, 2004

While this may seem repetitive to say, before you listen to Volume III, it would be in your best interest to purchase the band's last full-length, Oceanic, before you listen to these remixes. After absorbing the full-length, these reworkings of tracks will make much more sense.

Side A starts off with Mike Patton's rendition of the track "Maritime." Patton always seems to have his hands, or his voice for that matter, busy with something. If it's not one of his main projects, he's off doing high-profile collaborations (Dan the Automator, Bjork, Rhazel) or coordinating releases for Ipecac Records. When listening to his interpretation of "Maritime, " the most obvious difference between the original, which is an instrumental, and Patton's reworking is that he has added in his own vocal harmonies. For the most part he has left the musical structure as it was; there are only minor changes: added distortion and electronic effects in addition to artificial drum sequences. When all this is combined it bears a slight resemblance to Patton's work in Fantomas. While I am kind of wishy-washy on the idea of Patton adding his vocal talents to the song, on the other hand I can't deny the fan-boy inside that craves a new Patton fix as often as I can get it.

With the second track on Side A, Thomas Koner gives us his reworking of the song "Hym." Koner's work outside of this release is concentrated in ambient and avant garde electronica, so it is no surprise to find that his rendition of "Hym" would reflect this. The track has been reduced to essentially background noise that bares no resemblance, well that I could find, to the original. In the past Koner has composed aural topographies and what it appears he has done is taken the most minute aspect of the song and looped it over a very basic and mellow beat. While I find this to be a rather original technique, it results in what the average music consumer will refer to as "nothing more than background noise."

On the B-side we have just one track, another remix of the song "Maritime," this one executed by Teledubgnosis. I was unfamiliar with Teledubgnosis prior to hearing this rendition of my favorite track from Oceanic, but upon further investigation I found the mastermind of this project to be Ted Parsons, former Prong/Godflesh drummer and part-time Swans contributor. Parsons, along with his conspirators from Teledubgnosis, have stripped the track down a great deal. The remix opens with ambient noise that has been reprocessed to give it a more nostalgic feel. This noise continues for several minutes until added into the main bass line from the beginning of the song. Also added are drum sequenced beats, nothing rapid, just very simple and leisurely beats resulting in a composition perfect for relaxation.

In comparison to the two previous volumes, Volume III is much more subdued, concentrating on the ambient. This time around the composers were much more willing to venture away from the original song structures of Oceanic and make the songs their own, and two of the tracks are almost unrecognizable to the originals. Regardless, this volume makes for yet another interesting listen and I await the release of Volume IV.

8.0 / 10Michael • October 3, 2004

Isis – Oceanic Remixes Volume III cover artwork
Isis – Oceanic Remixes Volume III — Robotic Empire, 2004

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