Since I heard "When I Go" on Pandora at least five years ago now, Emancipator has been among my favorite electronic music artists. It's really not even fair to blanket Douglas Appling with that label, as anyone who saw his Emancipator Ensemble perform live last year will attest. Appling mixes live instrumentation into his music, so much so it's almost a more accurate description just to call his work instrumental music given the amount of piano, guitar, bass and strings he adds to the beats and electronics.
Emancipator's last full length studio album, 2013's Dusk To Dawn, placed at #13 on my year end list. Now he has released a remix collection for the tracks on that album, appropriately titled Dusk To Dawn Remixes. This is the second remix collection Appling has released of Emancipator music, the first being 2011's Remixes, which combined tracks off his first two studio albums. This release features a remix of all ten tracks off Dusk To Dawn, with the title track represented by two mixes that start and end the album.
It was nice to see a number of familiar names amongst the remixers. Frameworks, whose album Tides came out this year and is also highly recommended, starts things off with his take of the title track. It's a lovely, laid back affair using a lot of elements from the original and one of this collection's highlights. Another stellar act in the downtempo genre, Little People remixes "Afterglow". Tor, one of the artists on Emancipator's Loci Records label does a mysterious version of "The Way" that finds its inspiration from the original song's otherworldly vibe. And ODESZA turns "Eve II" into a dance track that has to be heard to be believed, a completely winning reinvention of the song.
One of the exciting things of any remix compilation is checking out what an artist you aren't familiar with does with material you know and love and there are some great mixes here from names I am new to. saQI turns "Galapagos" into a major groove, with a funky bassline and bouncing piano. The whole thing has a sensual, late night feel, a fantastic remix. And 9 Theory completely reinvents "Natural Cause", adding an original lyric to the formerly instrumental track, turning it into a gorgeous chilled vocal ballad.
Remix albums are often hit and miss with me but Douglas Appling has lined up some top notch talent to remix his Dusk To Dawn album. Not that this comes as any surprise, I've yet to be disappointed by anything carrying the Emancipator name.
Favorite tracks: "Natural Cause" (9 Theory Remix), "Galapagos" (saQI Remix), "Dusk To Dawn" (Frameworks Remix), "Merlion" (D.V.S* Remix)
Dusk To Dawn Remixes was released July 8th, 2015 as a Digital Download only via Loci Records.