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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

STUDIO - Yearbook 2

It would be natural to compare Yearbook 2 to its 2007 predecessor, Studio's debut release Yearbook 1. After all, the title does imply “sequel”. But rather, Yearbook 2 consists solely of seven remixes completed by the duo in the last year, resulting in a cohesive long-player that almost convinces you that it is actually an album of original material. In fact, these “remixes” are more like covers (or "versions" as the liner notes state).

Studio are Dan Lissvik and Rasmus Hagg from Gothenberg, Sweden, a region not typically associated with island sounds and tropical landscapes. But that is exactly what Yearbook 2 offers-Balearic seaside music, rich with gorgeous melodic guitars and unobtrusive disco beats.

The album kicks off with a radical interpretation of “Brown Piano” by London’s A Mountain of One. The track is transformed into a sprawling, space age, chill-flamenco opus and is nearly unrecognizable when played back to back with the original. The “Possible Remake” of Shout Out Louds’ “Impossible” maintains its pop origin, successfully layered with uplifting acoustic guitars and a more pronounced dance edge.

The gorgeous take on "Room Without a Key" by The Rubies is a dreamy, atmospheric meditation, perfectly suited for watching a sunset on a beautiful beach in the tropics. Things get darker on "Escape From Chinatown", originally by Brooklyn DJ Brennan Green. The track fuses a sinister synth crunch with the trademark Studio acoustic guitars and at times recalls the minimalist electronic sounds of Kraftwerk.

With Kylie Minogue’s “2 Hearts”, the grand glam-rock sound is stripped away completely, replaced (again) with acoustic guitars and a slowed-down, sultry beat. The reincarnation is remarkable, resulting in a sound far more Studio than Kylie and vastly more interesting than the original.

For a remix album, Yearbook 2 is hugely satisfying, constantly pushing the boundaries of modern remixing. Studio have infused their own sound and style into these reinterpretations, truly making each track all their own. I can’t wait to see what these guys come up with on their next proper LP.

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