Yes In My Backyard is a semiweekly column showcasing MP3s from new and emerging local talent.
Half-NYC/half-Berlin anesthetized dance duo Palms are dropping a remix EP on Sept. 1 in a limited edition run of 500 vinyl slabs, via Brooklyn’s own Rare Book Room Records. Gavin Russom, Animal Collective’s Josh Dibb, Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox and Matt Tong have all contributed remixes, and the blogosphere is clearly happy to print the words “Animal Collective” any chance they get. But in the mad rush for Google traffic, the actual band Palms remains underappreciated. Their 2008 album It’s Midnight In Honolulu is a frosty slow-burner, a mix of the dead-eyed retro-pulse of Glass Candy, the leisurely detachment of krautrock, and the gorgeous rapture of Palms singer Nadja Korinth, whose voice hovers somewhere between Kate Bush and Nico. The EP’s penultimate track, “Boundary Waters,” has a squiggly beat made up of sirens and squawks like DJ Quik recording for Kompakt. Korinth and vocalist Ryan Schaefer engage in what sounds like a sexy German argument. In the nimble hands of remixer Josh Dibb (a.k.a. Animal Collective’s Deakin), the beats have been sent packing. His stripped-away, floaty remix leaves Korinth and Schaefer out to drift on a heart-rumbling whoosh in the Brian Eno/Cluster vein.
What is this song about?
Ryan Schaefer, Palms: “Boundary Waters” is about an apocalyptic version of the back-to-nature idea–a nature without human beings. It’s inspired by visions of overgrown concrete buildings and urban animals.
What was the inspiration?
Schaefer: The song came about after I recorded myself playing the xylophone part in the first half of the song. A couple aspects production wise were inspired by ballroom music that I had been listening to and going to a lot of at the time. I added a hi-hat sound that my friend Gavin [Russom] used to make vocally when we would have conversations about dance club experiences.
How did you hook up with Palms?
Josh Dibb, Animal Collective: Actually, I did this remix based on my friendship with Nicolas Vernhes, who runs the Rare Book Room label and studio. We have been working with Nicolas since 2002 on various Animal Collective projects. I had asked him to help me mix a single track that I had been working on. I had remixed a song for Ratatat and I wanted his help cleaning it up a bit. I had pretty much massacred the original track. We talked about what a remix should and could be. I felt that as a listener I prefer the idea that someone would take a track and really just make it into something completely new. Towards the end of the day he told me about Palms, put on a couple tracks and asked if I would be willing to remix one of them. I still haven’t met Nadja or Ryan. That may have more to do with my recent reclusiveness than anything else though.
What was your mindset/intentions going into the remix?
Dibb: I really was using this as an opportunity for myself to try something new. So I just set some simple rules. One: The most important thing was that I wanted to have a good time and be happy with what I did. That may seem obvious, but it’s something I still need to work on all the time. Two: I needed to use only sounds from the tracks they gave me–I bent this when I added some effected piano at Rare Book Room. And three: I wanted to keep the vocals mostly intact so that it felt like a song. I didn’t want to turn it into a dance track or something completely abstract, so the vocals were sort of the anchor.
Schaefer: I like that he completely reworked the song into something completely different and interesting. I find his version to be very romantic in a melancholic way. And I really like the horn sounds.
What’s your favorite place to eat in New York?
Schaefer: I like to eat at Souen.
Dibb: For the last seven or eight years, my grandfather and I have a tradition of going to a Greek place on the Upper West Side called Niko’s. It’s on the corner of Broadway and W. 76th St. It’s awesome. Enormous plates of food. Cold red wine. Go there with your grandfather.