Cross Modulation: Bootleg Remixes by ViviankristRelease date: June 12, 2020
Label: Ritual Productions
As vocalist for cult Japanese black metal band Gallhammer, Vivian Slaughter took the rawness of the Hellhammer template and put her own stamp on the sound that Tom G. Warrior and his band of deathly noisemakers made their own. After Gallhammer split, the vocalist, now rechristened Viviankrist turned her main focus to experimental electronic music, a world away from the raw black metal of her work with Gallhammer, but still heavy in its own way and something she has pursued throughout her musical career. The culmination of Viviankrist’s output (so far) was the brilliantly experimental and psychedelic electronics of last year’s Cross Modulation album that demonstrated exactly how forward thinking Viviankrist is.
Celebrating the success of Cross Modulation, Viviankrist has enlisted a tantalising selection of musicians and producers both from the world of metal and electronic music to take apart songs from Cross Modulation for Cross Modulation: Bootleg Remixes and take the tracks into new places, the results of which are stunning and another testament to that forward thinking nature of Viviankrist’s music and outlook.
The crushing remix of ‘Behind Mirror’, titled ‘Behind Glass’ by Superorganism’s Tucan gets things off to a sublime start. This opening of the song sounds like it could have fitted into the intro to Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, only with even more added intensity and a caustic atmosphere than the Wendy Carlos score from the movie, this is a remix that is both chilling and awe inspiring.
From them on in, the quality doesn’t drop one iota and the artist and producers that are brought into remix the songs, take the songs of Cross Modulation and the results are breathtakingly vast and inspired.
Among the big names are JK Flesh (aka Justin Broadrick) who takes on the track ‘Blue Iron’ as the ‘Iron Flesh Reshape’ and it is as devastating as you would both hope and expect while XL records mainman Richard Russell’s take on ‘Midnight Sun’ entitled ‘Kaelike’ creates an energetic vibe full of skittering beats and vivacity.
Viviankrist herself remixes a selection of the tracks with ‘Nails’, now titled ‘Witches Mist’ being a real highlight and this version exudes a triumphant and blissed out atmosphere. There are high points throughout with every remixer putting their own personality into their given track with Igor Cavalera and Laima Leytons Mixhell projects version of ‘Midnight Sun’ (now titled ‘Modular Sun’, which gives you a big hint of the sound of a remix) on a par with Richard Russell’s version of the same song and just shows the scope of the material and what they did with it while Unearthly Trance’s Ryan Lipynsky goes for a more minimal vibe with his version and all three just work in their own way, such is the brilliance of remixing.
Winterfellyth’s Chris Naughton and both Viviankrist’s husband (and ex Mayhem vocalist) and Gallhammer bandmate Risareaper all turn in quality reworkings too as do underrated producers like Andrew Liles and Loops Robert Hampson and as Bootleg Remixes commences with a trio of Viviankrist’s own remixes which are a combination of blissed out electronics and Merzbow-esque harsh noise, you will feel content at the vastness of what you have just listened to for the past ninety or so minutes.
Cross Modulation: Bootleg Remixes is a rare thing, an album of reworked tracks that is on a par with the original album, with certain tracks even eclipsing the original versions and demonstrating Viviankrist’s ability to be so forward thinking with not only her own work but also trusting it with other kindred musical spirits. As a companion piece, this is on a par with its original state but also stands alone as its own separate entity with a complete set of crushing aural soundscapes.