By Ray Van Horn, Jr.
Thirteen…count ’em, thirteen…variations of the same song Plus a bonus track which is actually an update of a previously recorded song. The arrogance…the pretentiousness…the masturbatory self-effrontery…the potential to be utterly obnoxious… Okay, the Shamen proved something this glorifying could actually work ages ago with En-Tact, but really, thirteen variations of the same song?
Don’t let the band name fool you, though. Idiot Stare have been around for awhile in one inception or another since the late eighties and if they’re gonna invite twelve DJ’s to their industrial dance classroom for a little mixing examination, it’s their prerogative. In the end the tabulations of the self-released Ghost passes with flying colors. Perhaps one of the best mix albums ever attempted, Ghost is an unpredictable journey of reinterpretation that could teach high-profile mix masters like Linkin Park, Fatboy Slim or DJ Quik a thing or two about cold cutting. With chilly though oddly titillating cover photography, the rave-industrial mixes of Ghost feel likewise frigid, but invigorating at the same time with its relentless fuckfest pacing. Perhaps one could subtitle Ghost as Fourteen Tracks to Keep Your Rhythm By.
Rather than needlessly breaking down every single mix on the disc, it is best to acknowledge all of them as a collective whole while noting a few breakout tracks. For instance, the Prophei Dark Star Mix is tailor-made to the original song, pretty awesome as a club contender by itself, but with Prophei’s touch its sense of rave exudes deeper. Doll Factory’s Hex Remix is slow, sleek, sensual and strangely majestic. SMP’s Busted Remix blitzes with a hard-nosed industrial grind, while the subsequent Hippie Home Artist Zombie Mix by Compufonic is like a metallic cockthrust. Jugend Staat’s Borstal Muted Mix is hyperactive with its speedy drum and bass. Inertia’s Harsh Mix could also be called The Front 242 Mix, while the Rewire mix could be construed as The Gravity Kills Mix. By the time one has sifted through the thirteen versions, the mantra “what am I, what am I…” will assuredly haunt one’s sleep.
Rounding out the disc is a reworking of Idiot Stare’s World Destruction, a pounding cyberpunk jam in the spirit of the Revolting Cocks that kicks serious ass even with a vocal track that may ring to older ears as comparable to LaTour.
What could have been a serious joke turns out to be a tour-de-force of kinetic splicing, sampling, retooling and reactivating from one basic element: a head-bobbing rave rouser that obviously has more than meets the ear in its virgin inception. In a scene where remix tribute is highly en vogue, Ghost sets a bit of a precedent that will undoubtedly inspire imitators.
Courtesy Legends Magazine