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In 1993 Slowdive released an EP featuring 2 remixes of their track In Mind. These remixes were, well, shoegazer music done as ambient electronica. The mixes took Slowdive's lush guitarwork and rich harmonies, cut it up, added some funky beats, and spat out magnificent slices of dubbed out spacey wanderings.

However, from there the band retreated. Guitarist Christian Savill and bassist Nick Chaplin eventually feuded with band leader Neil Halstead, them leaving during the recording of Pygmalion over the overabundance of electronics in the production, and Halstead himself having a sort of allergic reaction to the electronics and retiring into the world of folk rock.

Slowdive pointed at something wonderful and brilliant, but never really did anything with that information. A few artists since then have come pretty close to actualizing the dream that the In Mind remixes EP hints at: Bowery Electric on Beat, much of the work of Project Skyward, and The Bows all come pretty close. Mallory, however, live the dream. They fulfill it.

Mallory are what Slowdive would have sounded like had they embraced rather than ran screaming in terror from electronic production. Judging from their website (warning, it's in German!), they are a 4-piece and almost every member is credited with "programming" (apparently that word is a direct cognate into German. who knew?) However, if you look at the photos ("Bilder"), you see them holding instruments on stage somewhere and being rockers. So i dunno. I would have thought this a more electronic band than that, but maybe it is just the production of this album that leads me to believe that.

The production on this album is shiny smooth. The beats are groovey and the bass is sultry. A low keyboard drone burbles under most everything, and that plus the scattered nature of the rhythm led/leads me to believe that this is an electronic band.

Who knows? Who cares?

The point is this: Outerbeats is a wonderful achievement. It fits neatly within the small and, in my opinion, underdeveloped genre of electro-shoegaze. If you like that stuff, coming at it either from the synthpop side of things or the shoegaze side of things, then you should check this album out. Really.

A few tracks stand out: Xirius Polar Station is an amazing instrumental that simmers along in mid-tempo electronic funkitude. The Choice You Have and, especially, I Can't Stand, would have been at home on Pygmalion, with their male/female vocal harmonies and delicious guitarwork. Argo Night Shuttle is another stunning piece of remixed shoegazer goodness, with effected guitars and funky beats.

One thing i find interesting is the vocals on Three Elements (Watamu Remix), which ends the album. This is a nice dance electro sounding remix of a song not on the album, and for the first time on the album the vocals actually have a hint of an accent. That is, despite the German nature of the band, you wouldn't know from (most of) the singing. Here though, Daniela Neuhäuser sounds quite German, her crisply accent English adding a slight flavor to the vocals. Otherwise, neither her nor Jörg Köhler sing with an accent. I find that really wierd, and yet it often happens that European bands sing, in English, without an accent. Why is that? Is it that they are affecting an American Accent in their singing, like certain bands affect a British accent, and thus i don't notice? Hmmm....

Anyway, this is a nice disc. If you are interested in electro-shoegaze, or shoegaze in general, then you should track down a copy. If you are not into that, then this probably won't appeal. Hardcore Slowdive fans will either love this or be offended at it's derivative nature.

Outerbeats was orignally released in 2001 by Alison Records in Germany, but was picked up last year by Clairecords out of Sacremento, CA, so it should be somewhat easy to find. The version that i reviewed here is the American Version, which has a slightly different track listing than the original German version.

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