Battles – Dross Glop

Battles - Dross Glop

dross/drôs/
Noun: Metallurgy – A by product of molten metal from smelting, essentially metallic in character.

glop/gläp/
Noun: An amorphous, shapeless lump of something.

Whether the spoonerism came before or after the decision to remix, we’ll never know. But the image is apposite. In contrast to Gloss Drop’s cohesive whole, each remixed track acts as a smaller, self-contained unit, molten blobs of ideas scooped from the surface, leaving a shiny, math-rock ingot. If Gloss Drop was the refined distillation of Battles’ fierce angular expansiveness, Dross Glop is the inversion.

Remix albums are tricky: disparate artistic styles asked to take components as individual objects, but on the whole Dross Glop is great. Gui Boratto’s elastic disco Wall Street and the metal heartbeated rumble of Kangding Ray’s Toddler, are immediate favourites. There is much to be admired too in Shabazz Palaces’ classy robo-hop White Electric and Hudson Mohawke’s Day-glo carnival ride on Rolls BayceIce Cream gets a bawdy reimagining by Gang Gang Dance’s BDG, all breathy grunts and thrusting hips. Sundome is the only misstep – remixed by Yamantaka Eye into an inchoate mass of clicks and rattles – but allowing a clearly bonkers man to remix this already clearly bonkers track could only possibly have one outcome.

Previously curveballs came from Tyondai ‘marmite’ Braxton, but they’d become part of the wallpaper; the current Battles trio show an admirable willingness to bring in outsiders to inject unpredictability. Great remixes individually, Dross Glop loses the overarching sense of fun and tension of Gloss Drop. Testament to the brilliance of the source material, yes, but it is a little odd that ‘square’ math rock out-funs the dance guys.

This post first appeared in CRACK on 8 May 2012

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