Fractal Guitar 2 Remixes by Stephan Thelen

Release date: December 3, 2021
Label: MoonJune Records

Fractal Guitar 2 is like a painting portrayed by Stephan Thelen that has been brought to life. It’s also one of his favorites that he’s unleashed. He wanted to push the envelope so hard, he brought this incredible structure to the silver screen from his band of brothers. But there were other compositions that didn’t make it on the final cut for Fractal Guitar 2.

As he was working to put his touch for the album, he knew that it was time give it another go by remixing tracks to see how it would react. From Barry Cleveland, David Torn, Jah Wobble, and Bill Laswell, they brought a remixed edition of Fractal Guitar 2 like no other.

There are three different mixes for ‘Point of Reflection’ that Torn, Thelen, and Laswell have done. Now, I can’t decide which one is the best mix that the trio handled. But let’s get down to it. Thelen’s version adds bits and bobs by taking you into the heart of the jungle with temperatures rising from Andi Pupato’s percussion work which didn’t make it on the original version of the album.

But on Torn’s mix, he adds this meteor storm through his looping. Followed by Brugger’s criminal chase on his drum kit, the instruments go back and forth in the midsection as the chaotic sounds from either Cleveland, Durant, Torn, or Thelen, adds some high-rising traction.

Now Laswell’s version. To paraphrase The Brady Bunch, “Oh Laswell, Laswell Laswell.” He took a vast immense space toward his presentation on the mix. It becomes a crossover between Soft Machine’s Third meets David Bowie’s Outside from the diaries of Detective Nathan Adler for the first three minutes.

It then goes off into the night with Bill, handling the steering wheel to add these chugging sounds while traveling into Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker to visit the secret area that the people don’t know about called, The Zone. Wobble’s take on ‘Ladder to the Stars’ adds a noir-like mystery during the futuristic French new wave.

Becoming this increasive code texture, Thelen’s signal for his bandmates have turned into a challenging puzzle that they have to put together before the timer runs out. Meanwhile, Thelen puts his hands on the control to give ‘Celestial Navigation’ another shaft of light.

Reuter’s spaceship guides listeners to various lifeforms by giving some indication on how much of a sight it is to see from our visual sense on the different planets we’re exploring. He and Bill Walker’s lap steel have set tones for what is happening to our world as it changes to an eerie, spooky consistency.

Cleveland’s mix for the ‘Mercury Transit’ becomes a spiritual, ambient walk into the Great Walls of China. Manrig’s bass playing on this track, channels bits of Paul Jackson and Victor Wooten. Just imagine both Terje Rypdal and Hedvig Mollestad handling the production on this bad boy with Stephan’s blessing to make it sound like a racing car going full speed at 900 miles per hour.

The remixes for Fractal Guitar 2 are top notch. It gives some ideas on how Stephan would approach his album today. I hope this year, MoonJune re-releases this album in a 2-CD set, featuring the remixes on a second disc. But this is a real gem stone. And for Stephan, he’s brought a lot of delicious things to eat from the kitchen to wine and dine.

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