Cantoma`s Alive, a collaboration with storied singer / songwriter, Quinn Lamont Luke, was the tune that launched Phil Mison`s Highwood Recordings, almost a decade ago. With Quinn, then still going by his Bing Ji Ling moniker, on guitar and vocals, the original has gone on to become an in-demand modern Balearic anthem.
Good to go now is a new 12 – it`s hard to believe I know, with today’s vinyl-pressing problems, but I’m holding a real, actual copy here in my hand – featuring a trio of terrific instrumental remixes, by Conrad McDonnell, one half of the hugely influential Idjut Boys.
The first anchors Mr. Luke`s ace acoustic strum to atmospheric rimshots and rattle – like a super authentic recreation of an `80s pop dub. Tape rewinds, and unspools, providing the breakdown, and the OG`s horns are reduced to a mere haunting. Yesterday’s faded fanfare. There`s something both very sunstroked, and wistful, about this rendition.
The second mix strips away the bulk of detail and instrumentation, and instead relies solely on rhythmic gymnastics to do the dance-floor business. A radical disco deconstruction, where those big drums dissolve in delay, it reveals the track`s underpinning to be a punchy piece of experimental post-punk-funk. Think Liquid Liquid and / or ESG locked in King Tubby`s, Dr. Satan`s, echo chamber. The result is just over 5 minutes of a rich, sparse sound, perfect for testing, say, The Paradise Garage system. Percussion panning. The sort of squelchy electronic bass that Larry loved.
The package peaks with the curiously, cryptically, titled Vacant Lot Slot version, which builds on the second – focusing on the lovely, rubbery b-line, hushed harmonics, and cavernous congas. That bottom-end, all the while, becoming more and more boisterous.
Conrad McDonnell’s remixes of Cantoma`s Alive are due any minute now. You can listen and pre-order vinyl over at Juno and Phonica, but stayed tuned to Highwood Recordings if it`s digital your after.