Berlin might be synonymous with the skittering sounds of minimal techno, but this collection of English-born resident Ewan Pearson’s productions bubbles and pops even as it echoes that less-is-more approach. Piece Work gathers his fragmented remix repertoire over the past six years—most notably the Chemical Brothers’ “The Golden Path” and Futureshock’s “Pride’s Paranoia”—onto two discs of extended thumping and looping. His funky, house-y retoolings bear such intriguing but ultimately nonsensical tags as “Stay in School” and “Glass Half Empty,” a mixture of delight and befuddlement that makes the tracks perfect pre-club listening (you can’t very well apply mascara if you’re furrowing your brow in too much wonderment).
Piece Work is not without its meditative moments, though, especially on this year’s “Don’t Let the Stars Keep Us Tangled Up (Ewan’s Objects in Space Remix),” a beautiful, blissful, lightly distorted 12-minute Courtney Tidwell track on which she sounds like America’s folkier, more earthbound answer to Björk.
Unfortunately, it seems he’s been a bit distracted by his studio-album work with artists like the Rapture, Gwen Stefani, and Everything But the Girl’s Tracey Thorn in the last couple years—his older tracks dwarf their more recent counterparts here. But it’s hard to nitpick when your speakers burst with the playground disco of Seelenluft’s “Manila,” featuring a 12-year-old Michael Smith, who inspires plenty of awe all on his own.