Pépé Bradock records are designed to delight audiences and frustrate the sad sacks that write about them. The latter try to find a narrative in a career that has zigzagged so hard it runs clear off the map at every margin, with no discernible pattern other than following a stoned and half-cocked muse.
Bradock’s third album, Muzak pour ascenseurs en panne (“Muzak for Broken Elevators”) was released in June under the name “Brigitte Barbu” with little preparation, a few leaked hints that turned out to be completely wrong and a sound about as far from the “Deep Burnt” prototype that literally thousands of producers have copped as any record could be. It was beatless, ambient, organic — and wildly compelling if you’re just here for the ride.
And less than a month later a remix EP was already on its way, giving some DJ-friendly structure to some of Muzak’s songs and pulling others even further apart. The choices of remixers are inspired: Roman Flügel has two mixes here, with his “kraut” remix sometimes evoking the coldness of Kraftwerk but more often as a playful send up of kraut pop’s TRIO. The “synth” mix is again true to its advertising — a slow, almost jazzy ambient fog illuminated by blindingly bright chords.
John Tejada and Reggie Watts’ “Wajatta” project’s remixes are easily the most universally set-friendly, with the uptempo tech of “Couvre chef en peau de taupe” simmering with vocals in a distinctly Simon Le Bon-kinda mood. The instrumental mix (available as a digital bonus) show a real brilliance in arrangement and expert conduction of energy and tension.
Matthew Herbert’s “butter dub” of “Trou Vert” roughs it up with wire brushes dragged over vinyl, glitched electronics and sensors flooded with stimuli. The other digital bonus tracks include Flügel’s “minimal” conclusion of his trilogy (artful as a set in their own right) and Herbert’s study in obnoxiousness with a “Trou Vert” hackapella.
Brigitte Barbu: Remixes pour ascenseurs en panne (Circus Company / July 2020 / 12″ Vinyl/Digital)
1. Brigitte Barbu: Dae-Boj DeMoya (Roman Flügel ‘kraut’ Remix) (05:21)
2. Brigitte Barbu: Dae-Boj DeMoya (Roman Flügel ‘synth’ Remix) (06:01)
3. Brigitte Barbu: Couvre chef en peau de taupe (Wajatta Remix) (06:17)
4. Brigitte Barbu: Trou vert (Matthew Herbert’s Butter Dub) (08:06)
5. Brigitte Barbu: Dae-Boj Demoya (Roman Flügel ‘minimal’ Remix) (05:12)
6. Brigitte Barbu: Trou vert (Matthew Herbert’s Hackapella Mix) (05:42)
7. Brigitte Barbu: Couvre chef en peau de taupe (Wajatta Instrumental Remix) (06:17)