Convention is rare for experimentalist Jim O’Rourke. The Tokyo-based artist is sporadic; we’ve only been left with a spattering of singles and mini-albums since 2015’s Simple Songs, but he frequently updates his Bandcamp with immense, colorful soundscapes.
His remix of Australian improvisational quintet Tangents’ “Terracotta” single is a welcome break from his eccentricity, although the track itself is still full of O’Rourke’s wild wonder. At just over 11 minutes long, O’Rourke’s treatment of “Terracotta” is majestic and winding. It has a controlled, naturalistic chaos to it; every noise has a heartbeat. But there are moments when the tumbling intensity touches back down and a piano sparkles. The end is a slow fade. O’Rourke takes his time, squeezing out every last drop of Tangents’ mosaic of sound.
O’Rourke shared some info about the remix process:
Remixes and covers, while different, are similar for me because most of the time is taken in considering how to approach the front door. A cover can literally cover, a remix can turn the faders sideways, but in all cases, like a good lighting director, the question is ‘how do I stage this?’ In the case of Tangents I decided to approach the song with pentimento in mind, so, literally covering a remix. The organ is still there, the notes played as intended, but now instead of reeds or pipes, it’s cicadas from the mountains, and so on and so on. One countryside for another.