By Chaz Kangas
By Sound of the City
By Peter Gerstenzang
By Katherine Turman
By Chris Kornelis
By Brian McManus
By Ray Cummings
By Nicholas Pell
While global climate change might be making the western coast of Sweden noticeably warmer with each passing season, it still doesn't quite explain how the Gothenburg-based duo Studio elicit out of their analog equipment such warm, beachy tones. But their chillaxed brand of beat-making sounds decidedly better in the sun than in club shadows. On last year's Yearbook 1 and Out There, the duo of Dan Lissvik and Rasmus Hägg drew heavily from Madchester and Robert Smith's mascara'd mewl, with just enough of Durutti Column's spangle to brighten up such corners.
Yearbook 2 chronologically compiles the duo's remixes for the likes of superstar Kylie Minogue, indie-popsters Shout Out Louds and Love Is All, and beatniks like A Mountain of One and Brooklyn's own Brennan Green; there's even a Tangerine Dream cover. Studio's strategy is pretty simple: to make languid and sun-kissed even the tersest of pop singles. For "2 Hearts," Kylie sunbathes out on la islas Baleares, the nylon-stringed guitars and hand claps rippling toward the horizon. The duo unmuddies AMoO's epic "Brown Piano" so that each keyboard squiggle and snaking gypsy-guitar line rings out. Even the noir of Green's "Escape From Chinatown" grows lighter, although the opening FX of thunder and rain sync up perfectly with the gray of an afternoon downpour right outside my window. Summertime is here!
In Low Motion Disco, the spirit of Robert Earl Davis Jr. (a/k/a DJ Screw) slurs on, a cough-syrup-friendly concoction perfect for dehydrating pool parties and kidney-punching tar-paper roof-toppers. At first pass, the Keep It Slow mix—by the duo and "friends"—seems too similar to the sleazy-listening (and copyright-ignoring) pastiche made a few months earlier by Quiet Village. Yet right around the time a kid yips "Oooh, let me get a lawn chair!", Low Motion Disco's novelties grow dizzier, funkier: The wafting strains of "Oooh Child" (on "Things Are Gonna Get Easier"), "At Last I Am Free," and—am I crunked?—"Gangsta's Paradise" melt like Tangerine Dreamsicles.
After a hairpin curve of ARP arpeggios and blitzed Berlitz tapes on how to order "champagne," Keep It Slow peaks with the only deployment of Brattleboro beardo-folk on the dance floor ever, as Matt Valentine and Erika Elder croon tunelessly about rolling another number for the road. Go figure—LMD then speed things up for "People Come In Slowly," no doubt echoing a sentiment first voiced earlier in the mix: "The crowd I want to reach is out at night."