Feist / Various Open Season

Feist / Various Open Season
The first notes on Leslie Feist’s remix and collaboration record Open Season are of soft, elegant piano, a cover of "One Evening” by cohort (and Let It Die producer) Gonzales; the next, is a spare, stripped down "un-mix” of "Inside + Out” by another collaborator, Broken Social Scenes’ Apostle of Hustle, Andrew Whiteman. Only when Mocky’s mix of "Mushaboom” kicks in does this begin to resemble a typical remix record; then again, the source material, Feist’s stunning Let It Die is hardly typical itself. More assembled than commissioned, Open Season shines new light on that artful torch song effort by taking it through walks in the woods, on amusement park rides and to the club. Some work better than others, but almost every track provides a new perspective on songs you might only know from one angle.

What was your involvement in the process? It was a matter of reaching out, scooping all the remixes into one spot, deciding how to sequence it and it was finished. It all happened so fast that I thought, "Wow, can you get away with calling this a new record?” I don’t go to clubs; wherever these things see the light of day, I don’t really go there. I was busy touring and taking care of the songs in a live way while the record went out on its own.

Someone threw the "Lonely Lonely (Frisbee’d Mix)” on stage in London? It was in a plastic slipcover and literally almost got crushed under my heel as I walked off stage. I stuck it in my pocket, put it on in my hotel room, and was floored. I know that melody inside and out and I know the time signature, and yet he found a new way to deliver that melody and to alter that time signature.

Did you second-guess putting four "Mushaboom” remixes on the record? Well, Mocky’s takes it walking through the snow, slow jam style; the Postal Service one takes it on the Santa Monica freeway, top down, full of speed and excitement on your way to a gig; the k-os one is totally a basement jam in some crazy bar where the beer costs two dollars and the party is all sweaty; the VV one is something totally different. There are almost no vocals on that one — it’s all my breaths and little moments of impacts on notes as percussion — that’s like the veins inside the song. I can’t deny that that’s the song I sang the most the last two years. In a way, it was a centre-point of the last record for me, so to have it be this thread that runs through Open Season is only accurate. It got around and came back in different outfits. The songs played dress-up and this is show and tell. (Arts & Crafts)