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  Balding Generation (Losing Hair As We Lose Hope)  
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The other day i was thinking, "It's been a dry year for Port-Royal releases", so i wandered over to their MySpace page to see what was up with the Italian post-rockers. I was delighted to see that not only do they have a new record coming out, but that a single from that record had just been released. This is a digital single, so i was able to download all 4 songs, a total of just under thirty minutes of music, for about $4. Now that is a bargain…

And wow does it sound great! There is one new song here, called Balding Generation (Losing Hair As We Lose Hope), and we get the original and three remixes. Let me go over each.

The original version of the song is first, obviously. For the first three minutes, the song is an ambient wash of synths and tinkling keys, then Port-Royal layer in a thudding dance beat along with some scratchy IDM sounds and a faint haze of voice buried deep in the mix, courtesy of someone called Linda Bjalla. This reminds me a lot of what Project Skyward are attempting, although i like the way Port-Royal bury the vocals in the general mix, allowing the ravish beat to drive the tune through the swirl of synths. Then after five minutes, the song fades out and Port-Royal rebuild it from the synths up, a throbbing haze with Ms. Bjalla's voice barely hinted at, and a slowed down beat. Almost a completely different song, but still very lovely.

In fact, as i continued to listen to this single, i think that this is a pretty typical thing form Port-Royal. On their previous releases, there were songs that we got "part 1" and "part 2" of. Previously, they divided the movements into separate tracks on the CD, while here they have both movements of this tune in one track. I think that makes for more interesting remixes. I wonder if they realized that after the Flared Up remix compilation?

Moving on, the second version is the 1992&1995 mix by Ambidextrous. This Russian remixer moves the synths a bit further back in the mix, emphasizing the drums and the tinkling keys. Bjalla's voice is also brought forward in the haze. His work, in all honesty, makes this song sound like a funkier Seefeel tune. It has a nice late 80s/early 90s feel to it, and although this mix loses the haze of the original, i like what he is doing with the beats. It is also nice to here Bjalla's vocals in all their glory.

The third version is the Jatun Remix by Portland electro act Jatun. I liked his self-titled debut from back in 2007, so i was curious to see what he did as a remixer. Jatun cranks the treble up, making the synth tones whirr and buzz instead of hazily drift. When the guitar and drums kick in, the song becomes an older prog tune of the sort that reminds me of Queen's work on the soundtrack to Flash (Brendan's Note: Aah-ahh! He'll save every one of us!). An interesting mix.

The final mix is called Regenerate by Bitcrush, and this is the one i was most looking forward to of the three remixes. For some reason, the two full-length Bitcrush albums have been on frequent rotation this summer at the PostLibyan cave, so i really wanted to see what they would do with Port-Royal. The answer is that the Bitcrush mix is slowed down even further, with a patient piano bit over the synth haze. Bjalla's vocals also seem laconic. At the three minute mark, where the drums come in, Bitcrush brings them in un-effected, just natural drumming that gently swells the song forward, a slow, oceanic surge. Bjalla's voice also becomes a bit louder, but not too loud. This is the mellow ambient reprise of the tune, and a great way to end out this EP.

What we have here are four nicely different tunes, all based on the same template. All four are with merit, and i would wager that other Port-Royal fans will enjoy this. Plus, the digital release format makes this something of a bargain at under $4. You can't go wrong.

Related Links:

Label Website:
Port-Royal Page:
Port-Royal MySpace:
Port-Royal Website:
Port-Royal Wiki:
Remixer Ambidextrous MySpace: htp://
Remixer Jatun MySpace:
Remixer Bitcrush MySpace:
Also about Port-Royal on EvilSponge:
   Album: Flares
   Album: Afraid To Dance
   EP: Honved
   Remix Album: Flared Up
   Split Album: Magnitogorsk (with Absent Without Leave)   


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