Tag: Scanner

WRANGLER Sparked Modular Remix Project

WRANGLER SparkedThe mission for this project (should the remixer choose to accept it) was as follows:

“WRANGLER would like to ask you to submit an experimental piece of music for inclusion on an album entitled ‘Modular Remix’. The idea is very simple. We provide some basic stems from a track selected by you from our debut album ‘LA Spark’ and you add whatever sounds you like – the only rule being that you use just one analog modular synthesiser system of your choice. We’ve approached you because we admire your passion and commitment to electronic music, and we hope you will be interested in taking part.”

Naturally, given the specialised nature of the brief, WRANGLER approached electronic artists known for their modular approach to synthesis, hence the presence here of DANIEL MILLER, ALESSANDRO CORTINI (NINE INCH NAILS), SOLVENT and CHRIS CARTER.

In what is arguably the stand-out remix on the album, Mute boss DANIEL MILLER extracts the gliding bassline and a vocal loop from ‘Theme from Wrangler’ and builds a new track around it with a driving 4/4 kick and flanged Solina strings. Ex-THROBBING GRISTLE synthesist CHRIS CARTER takes the dystopian ‘Lava Land’ and completely reconstructs it, turning it into an industrial wasteland soundscape, leaving the main Logan string part as a ghostly skeletal echo in the far off distance.

Whilst SCANNER reworks the title track from the original album, by jettisoning all the original musical parts and building a hypnotic sequencer driven web around Stephen Mallinder’s ‘LA Spark’ vocal, ALESSANDRO CORTINI strips out all of the vocals and percussion, leaving very little (if any residue) from the original ‘Modern World’. What remains is a throbbing, shifting, filtered piece which slowly rises over four minutes before dropping back down again – reminiscent of his film work with TRENT REZNOR, this ‘Modern World’ could quite easily function in a soundtrack context.

SOLVENT, who are probably best known for soundtracking the acclaimed ‘I Dream of Wires’ modular synthesizer documentary, remix ‘Harder’, adding a skanking electro-dub vibe with spring reverbed snares and tape delayed vocals. Hissing white noise and analogue drum machine beats frame the track as snippets of sound from the original drift in and out. This leaves the final piece on the album, entitled ‘Theme Meme’, where the band remix themselves over an epic 14 minutes.

WRANGLER live-greenWith KRAFTWERK styled electronic textures and retro Roland Compurhythm beats, the remix acts as a soundbed for Stephen Mallinder’s electronically mangled vocals and harsh synthetic sound effects on top. The final four minutes wind down and help bring the track to a half-tempo closedown.

With the emphasis being on the word ‘experimental’ from the original brief, none of these versions (with the exception of DANIEL MILLER’s ‘Theme…’ and DAVID BURRASTON’s ‘Mus IIC’) bear much resemblance to the ‘LA Spark’ originals which is undoubtedly what WRANGLER had in mind when first guesting out the project. As such, the band should be applauded for giving the remixers involved complete artistic freedom here.

But fans of ‘LA Spark’ will probably be more comfortable with the original versions, which despite occupying the darker fringes of synthesized music, still feature enough melodic hooks to act as a gateway for those into more mainstream electronica.

With thanks to Steve Malins at Random Music Management

‘Sparked Modular Remix Project’ is released by Memetune in double vinyl, CD and digital formats on 10th June 2016, available from http://wrangler.tmstor.es/

WRANGLER open for JOHN GRANT on 15th June 2016 at London’s Royal Albert Hall



Text by Paul Boddy
1st June 2016



Electronic producer SCANNER (aka ROBIN RIMBAUD) and pianist / arranger ANNI HOGAN are individually known for their experimental works sampling radio / mobile phone transmissions and being a part of MARC & THE MAMBAS respectively.

Unsettling the listener can often be a no-brainer, anything too far musically or sonically removed from the standard song format can feel alien and unnerving.

While the low frequency, extended drones of doom rockers SUNN O))) and the noise / frequency experiments of PAN SONIC are calculated to challenge, the opening track on ‘Scanni’ feels disturbing but in a FAR more subversive way. ‘A Life Well Lived’ feels like a mash-up of two different songs in two different keys, yet playfully welded together to test the listener, creating a tension which is not entirely pleasurable. Initially the song is the musical equivalent having nails dragged down a blackboard, but after repeated listens the track eventually sinks in and makes sense in a twisted way.

anni hogan2016Thankfully the rest of the album follows a more musical path and the use of different vocalists (including KRAFTWERK legend WOLFGANG FLÜR) gives ‘Scanni’ an organic / electro-acoustic MASSIVE ATTACK feel. ‘Future’ has a house vibe to it, with a hypnotic drum machine and live bass groove with piano / horns overlaid with soulful vocals provided by JENNIFER JOHN.

‘Mine Was Full of Tears’ with its moody piano initially recalls THOMAS DOLBY’s cover of ‘I Scare Myself’, whilst ‘Carelessly’ featuring ex-SWANS vocalist Jarboe evokes the latter work of TALK TALK, all suggested space and atmospherics.

By track number five ‘Glorious’, the musical manifesto of ‘Scanni’ is well and truly laid bare… this is a late-night listening album, and it is one for quiet retrospection. The use of electronics is sparing throughout, a few well-chosen loops and textures here and there…

scanner2016‘Cinecittà (Feel Everything)’ (again featuring Jarboe) is a sensual percussion free piece, with ethereal VANGELIS style synthetics.

The track ‘Golden Light’ featuring the spoken words of WOLFGANG FLÜR feels far more at home here than it did on the former Kling Klang resident’s recent compilation and only the toe-curling lyrics of final track ‘With You in My Life’ feel out of place (sample lyric “babies don’t cry anymore with you in my life”) in the context of the overall work.

This is a brave and beautifully produced album that despite its opening curveball, does something that many works fail to achieve these days… it sucks you in and transports you to another time and space entirely.

Whether the album will be high profile enough to gain a nod in this year’s Mercury Music Prize awards is debatable, but regardless, ‘Scanni’ deserves recognition as a triumph of creative / artistic freedom over the desire for commercial success and will undoubtedly become a firm favourite with followers of both artists.

‘Scanni’ is released by Cherry Red Records on 26th February 2016 as a CD and download





Text by Paul Boddy
22nd February 2016