Ryan McNeely gets the tables turned on him for his RÁN remix album. As a producer, McNeely's been responsible for creating tracks for Scripts N Screwz and Rockwell Knuckles, and his solo work as Adult Fur takes blocks of sound and makes borderless collages that dip into psych, electronica and R&B. While McNeely is an apt remixer of others' work, on this one he allows friends from home and abroad to take a swing through his songbook. Like any good remix, most of these tracks tell us something about Adult Fur and something about the artist deconstructing the track.
A few treat their assignment as more cover version than remix, which is welcome. CaveofswordS' Sunyatta McDermott sings "Octangler" with a smoky elegance not heard in McNeely's original, and Kevin McDermott has a measured patience in doling out the lightly dubbed guitar notes. It's a standout that is smartly sequenced in the middle of these thirteen tracks. Née's Kristin Dennis takes a more interpretive but no less beautiful approach to rapper Tef Poe's words on opening track "Message," looping herself into a heavenly choir that proclaims "I'm a bad motherfucker, don't embrace me" from somewhere on high.
Fellow producer Trifeckta gives the most spirited of the three remixes of "Ellipsis" by speeding up the original's minimal, trancelike patterns and letting them ride through a phaser while a punchy, accented drum beat gives the track more bounce. The Sonictone remix of "I Am Dream," a standout from Adult Fur's 2011 release ii, strips away the dizzying echo and lets guest vocalist Sacha Bernardson's vocals come through uncorrupted while a thin '80s drum machine loop skitters behind it all. (Bernardson's own reworking of that track favors a slightly more chopped-and-screwed approach, using his vocal snippets as percussive elements.) And while McNeely has a global approach (some of his collaborators come from France and Iceland), RÁN is a proudly local affair, with fine work from disparate acts such as Black James, Ou Où and Loose Screwz. These are McNeely's songs, but he's gracious enough to get out of the way and let St. Louis' experimental, electronic and hip-hop scenes use his work as a common ground.
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