At the beginning of this decade, MGMT were newly-minted rock stars, the type of band whose songs showed up in every movie trailer and who seemed to be on the fast track to festival-headliner status. But they took a left turn. For the band’s second album, 2010’s Congratulations, they teamed up with producer Pete Kember, better known as the former Spacemen 3 member Sonic Boom. Working with Kember, MGMT pushed toward spacier, less accessible, more aggressively psychedelic territory. The resulting album was nowhere near as huge as their debut, and it effectively ended their upward trajectory. But it remains a brave and uncompromising piece of work, and it earned MGMT a cult status that will never go away.
MGMT are, of course, still around and still doing fine. So is Kember, who is still working as a producer. He worked with Beach House on their new album 7, our favorite LP of the year thus far. Earlier this year, MGMT released the new album Little Dark Age. And now, in a nice full-circle moment, they’ve brought Kember in to remix their song “James.”
You’ve probably already guessed where this is going. “James” was already a spacey, deadpan song to begin with. But in Sonic Boom’s hands, it goes all the way down the rabbit hole, becoming a murky and backwards reverie where the melody glimmers dimly through a fog of sound effects. Check out the remix below.
Little Dark Age is out now on Columbia.