Synkro & Michael Red Smoke Mountain
Published Aug 15, 2017Manchester producer Synkro wrote this one-off track with Low Indigo label head Michael Red during some down time in Vancouver last year. The EP also features three remixes of that song by other Vancouver underground artists.
"Smoke Mountain" begins with enveloping synth clouds and a floating wordless vocal, like a falsetto hum. The beat is syncopated but wide open, feeling and sounding like a gently rocking rowboat (thanks to the woody snare sound). The spiciest the song ever gets is some filtering of hi-hat-like sounds and very subtle bass wobble around the third minute, but overall, it wavers between plaintive and placid.
Eli Muro's more beat-driven remix is the first to follow. Some synth 16th notes help build tension into a glitchy, videogame-y drop about halfway through, but there's generous space for the original ideas to still come through. Jade Statues' remix begins with a very open and subdued first minute or two, but later, the more aggressive bass and the cutting up of the foggy soundscape skews a little closer to dubstep stylistically — a nice balance for the airy original.
The EP closes with the most upbeat, danceable remix, by Self Evident. From the offbeat hi-hat at the opening to the thumping four-on-the-floor beat 30 seconds in, we're quickly but smoothly prepped for a kinetic drop after the first minute. The sixteenth note synth sound has a more aggressive attack than that on Eli Muro's remix, and also articulates the chord changes more clearly than in any other version of the song. Tambourine, some pitch-shifting and that pounding bass drum make this the most energetic and, perhaps, the most interesting version too. (Low Indigo)