This year remix records appear to be in vogue, but I contest that a truly great remix needs a mightily impressive source material to draw from. In placing his original album “Psychic Chasms” alongside “Mind Ctrl” in one 60-minute record we can see the luscious body of work that Neon Indian has created.
The wily Texican is a psychedelic magician, weaving together soundscapes in a way that would make Caribou blush: the opener “AM” sets the tone with it’s indie credentials but swirling and almost disorienting reverb.
The first half of the album is brilliantly happy and floats along merrily enough: “Deadbeat Summer” has sounds in it that wouldn’t be out of place on your old MegaDrive console, yet somehow still manages to be modern and not at all dated. His down-to-earth and non-flamboyant vocals never distract from the overall tone and its always the melodies that prevail and are most memorable.
In the second half, things take a slightly darker twist. Although not distinctly noticeable at first, on repeat listens the almost melancholic aspect rears it’s head. It’s most noticeable on “Should’ve Taken Acid With You” which despite its seemingly unsavoury subject matter is laden with regret that hangs heavy in both the vocals and the slightly weeping melody.
“Mind Ctrl” takes the original songs and tries to take them a step further, but alongside the original songs some of the remixes fall a little flat. It is telling that the best remix here is of “Should’ve Taken Acid With You” – this version makes the song completely different in tone. It almost soars in tone. This is the version that did take acid, not the original one that wears it’s sadness on it’s sleeve.
“Mind Ctrl” brings little to the majesty of “Psychic Chasms”, an album that is as magically perfect as psychedelic electro can be. It was always going to be hard to top it, but the bonus songs are worth it just for the new slant and to help you realise just how good the original really was.