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“What color are you today?
Oh hello – sorry, I didn’t recognize your face
Funny, hey, how it all fits into place
I’m sorry, but what was your name again?
I’ve forgotten about the time, when we were friends.”
All India Radio consist chiefly of the talented multi-instrumentalist Martin Kennedy, the Australian ambient outfit’s founding –- and only constant –- member, who records the band’s music with a changing line-up of musicians. Since 1999’s debut, The Inevitable, All India Radio have amassed a prolific back-catalogue of instrumental studio albums and EPs, all of which are of a consistently high quality and worth owning.
Released in 2008, Fall was the first of the band’s albums to feature a singer (the formidable Leona Gray), and it’s among their very finest releases. As its title says, Fall Remixes is a collection of remixes of the songs included on the original album (plus one short instrumental piece). Fortunately for fans of All India Radio’s subtle Slowcore music, Martin Kennedy chose to remix these songs himself –- a less graceful and tasteful approach by someone else could’ve easily yielded disastrous results (cheesy dance remixes, anyone?) –- and not surprisingly, he has remixed Fall to perfection.
As always, Martin Kennedy is an admirably understated yet (quietly) assertive musician and songwriter: he may have stripped the songs back to their basics, further exposing their already delicate beauty, but unlike a lot of releases within the Chill-out genre, Fall Remixes is so much more than mere “elevator music”. As meditative and tranquil as these remixes are, there’s nothing remotely vague about them; these shimmering and ethereal songs mesmerize, hypnotize and transport you to beautiful places in your imagination.
Sustained synth sounds, twangy electric guitar and violins adorn standout tracks such as Far Away (cool bass motif starting at 3:46), the wistful albeit questioning Persist (“I drown in my senses / And all I see is you”…/ I quiver in my thoughts / And all I feel is you”), the lyrically euphoric Morning Drops (“You're exquisitely extraordinary / You're fabulously fine”), and the album highlight, the bitter Chameleon, an acerbic attack on a former friend or ex-lover (“Oh hey, are you talking to me? / I couldn't tell / For your lack of empathy”). Songstress Leona Gray deserves an honorable mention for her stunning, captivating vocals that convey a great empathy for the melancholic, introspective music. Even if one already owns Fall, Fall Remixes is a welcome companion piece and every bit as entrancing, if not more so: It’s Dream-Pop at its dreamiest and no All India Radio fan should be without it.