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A (P)review Of Shpongle Remixed (Twisted)

IsraTrance Senior Member

Started Topics :  234
Posts :  3803
Posted : Oct 3, 2003 18:19
Artist: V/A

Album: Shpongle Remixed

Label: Twisted

Release Date: 20th of October 2003

Cat: TWSCD23

Total playtime: 58:24


1. Shpongle - Crystal Skulls (Western Rebel Alliance Remix) 06:34

2. Shpongle - And The Day Turned To Fright (Eat Static Remix) 09:16

3. Shpongle - Star Shpongled Banner (Brothom States Remix) 04:57

4. Shpongle - A New Way To Say Hooray (Prometheus Remix) 07:51

5. Shpongle - My Head Feels Like A Frisbee (Delusions Of Grandeur Remix) 07:01

6. Shpongle - Dorset Perception (Total Eclipse Remix) 07:26

7. Shpongle - Around The World In Tea Daze (Ott Remix) 08:25

8. Shpongle - Once Upon The Sea Of Blissful Awareness (Esion Jim Remix) 06:54

Living in a Shpongled Universe..

It's been quite a few years, half a decade actually, since Shpongle's debut "Are You Shpongled?" was first introduced to the public. Even though some of Shpongle’s epic tunes such as "Behind Closed Eyelids" had to my knowledge at that time already been released, well she still pretty much came out of the blue sky. Doesn't matter where you look, let it be a online forum or a magazine, the reviews are still pretty much the same: "Marvelous, a landmark album, milestone for music, extremly innovative.." Shpongle's second child "Tales Of The Inexpressible" came to be something like 3 years later. I personally found it a huge dissapointment as it wasn't really similar to "Are You Shpongled?" at all. How wrong was I! As I forced myself to listen to it again and again I started to discover things. Finally I realized that the Shpongle magic was still there, it had just taken another form. Seems like evolution does take place also on the other side of the rim, deep inside the inner core of Shpongle land.

Life goes on..
Shpongle isn't the most active "track machine" out there. Unlike say GMS these guys (Raja & Simon) don't flood the "trance sharing networks" with new "unreleased killer" tracks every other day. When Shpongle releases something it's definetly worth checking out. No matter the line-up, the ultimate treat will still be the Shpongle tune, and that’s a fact. Well anyways, here I am, holding a copy of Shpongle Remixed on my very hands. I can't think of a group who deserves a remix album more than Shpongle does. Nor can I think of a group whose tunes would be more difficult to remix than Shpongle’s. The way I see it, Shpongle’s sound and production simply reach the absolute perfection. What is there to do? Well, that I guess we’ll see in a moment.

About the artwork..
The artwork is made by no other than Calx who by the way seems to be Twisted's offical art designer these days. Good for him and good for Twisted! Calx's work is outstanding! By now many have probably seen the front cover of this album. It looks quite different when you hold it in your hands instead of watching it as a small resolution jpeg. The background is like a forest. If you know what a finnish conifer forest looks like, well that's pretty much what the landscape here reminds me of. There's also this lake. And oh, maybe sunset or sunrise because the colour matrix consists of red and orange and everything in between. There's a Shpongle mask levitating like a meter above the lake. This is quite different that the traditional Shpongle mask that we are used to. 2D has become 3D, in a way anyways. You can see the reflection of the mask at the lake’s surface. All the artwork doesn't ship with the promo but I'd assume this one thingy is the back cover. It's mainly white and gray. There's a close up of the Shpongle mask. It resembles the yellow/brown/gold one that can be found from Shpongle's homepage. Only maybe this is the negative or something. The tracklist can be found above it.

Like I said..
Shpongle doesn't release tracks too often. To be exact they've released exactly 3 tracks other than the ones that can be found from the albums. One of these tracks is called "The 7th revelation". It was released on Tip World's "The Secret Of The Thirteen Crystal Skulls" compilation which was a sequal to "The Mystery Of The Thirteen Crystal Skulls".

The first track on Shpongle Remixed "Crystal Skulls (Western Rebel Alliance Remix)" should rather be titled "The 7th Revelation (Western Rebel Alliance Remix)", but let's not get too picky. It all begins with a wave like volume gaining tone. No more than 15 seconds later we already have quite rich soundscape. The tone is flocking, echoing, sort of like travelling. Exactly 50 seconds after the very beginning a horn like instrument makes us aware of its proximity. It's followed very briefly by somekind of a unidentified sound. All I can say is that it reminds me of percussion instrument of some sort. It's in a sense very electric if I may add. Soon “it” becomes “they”. 01:17 one can come up with the fact that the track has officially begun. One can reach this conclusion because of the fact that the beat and the bassline have exactly at that point joined the play. If I wasn’t aware of the title I sure wouldn't recognize this as a remix to a Shpongle. Why? Simply because I can't honestly find any similarities between this and the original. No worries! At 02:15 we get a familiar sound pattern. It blends in with the beat and bassline in a splendid way. There are some cool robotic repeative spoken samples. 26 seconds after the 3 minute mark that tight guitar solo that can be found from the original version gets displayed. It ends exactly 50 seconds later. Now let's hit the pause button. The beat has remained more or less the same from the moment it started. What's it like? Can't think of proper words, but let's just say that I could easily play it with my drums. It’s pretty catchy beat actually. Everything is somehow very organized and patternized. Bad thing? No, not really. Now shall we get back down to business? Ah a flute! I definetly heard a flute! What a moment of joy for flute fetishists. =) 04:30 there's a cool finger picked guitar which leads us to the second part of the track. As the original track definetly had 2 parts, call it chilled and violent, slow and fast or ambient and full on, well anyways, so has this. That tiny finger picked guitar part works as the doorman. Now the beat gets a little bit more complicated. Clearly not as radical change as in the original version. The real change starts around 04:40. Seems like, well rather sounds like there's a electronic piano on the background playing a small part as the reinforcements. I wonder if it was there before? It's kinda groovy, funky so to speak of. The flute can also be heard, again! Even some of those semi violent Shpongle thingies. A manipulated voice ends this extremly well done remix. Twisted didn’t go wrong as they signed Western Rebel Alliance.

By the time..
I was first introduced to "Are You Shpongled?" "And The Day turned To Night" was definetly my least favourite track on the album reason for this being that it was just way too long. If I remember correctly it's over 20 minute piece of 0's and 1's. For my defence I have to say that at that time I was still pretty new to electronic music. I later on ofcourse came to realize the beauty of this masterpiece. I don't know if it's just a typo in the promo's tracklist, but the word "Night" has -as you may have already noticed- been replaced with the word "Fright". Perhaps it’s ment to be like that? Anyways in a way the beginning of Eat Static’s remix is pretty frightening –honestly- it’s pretty damn evil. Atleast when it comes down to describing what it's like. Let's just say that there are more or less random pieces of noise that somehow manage to arrange themselves to a beat. Some of those pieces take part as tunes that are poured over the beat. The process of arrangement starts at 00:40. At one minute mark there's a clear path to follow. Some distant chant can be heard. There's the flute again! There's some other stuff too, but the thing that really stands out is definetly the beat. I have to admit that Eat Static manages damn well to recreate the athmosphere of "Are You Shpongled?". The first major change happens at 02:22. There's a snare roll that starts a drum n bass like path. 03:11 it all sounds so familiar yet so different. More layers are added to the beat just a few seconds later. A familiar chant. Are we still travelling towards the peak, or has it already been reached, perhaps it's already left behind? 04:05 there's a short break part which pushes the "melody" into existance. Why can't more people create more tunes like this? Definetly my cup of tea! As the 5 minute mark is left behind one might get an idea why the word "night" was replaced in the first place. 50 seconds later there's yet another break. Impossible to see it coming. This is what I love. Suprises, impossible to predict what's goin on the very next second. 06:35 that chant is over manipulated! Splendid! Dark, but splendid! But you had no idea what was to come a few seconds later! 07:50 could already be another track. Everything has changed, nothing really remains the same. The end is coming straight at you! That is the general feeling at 08:50. Can't dodge it. =(

Time to smoke a cigarette..
I love cigarettes but I also love "Tales Of The Inexpressible". If I had to give up the other it would definetly be the fist one (atleast that’s what I keep on telling myself). "Star Shpongled Banner" is the 2nd track on "Tales Of The Inexpressible." On “Shpongle Remixed” it's the 3rd. The honour to remix this track has been given to Finland's Brothom States (suck that Sweden!! =) ). He isn't too known in the trance world and so it isn’t really too big of a surprise that he happens to be quite unknown to me. Nevertheless when I found out that his remix was to be included in this album I had no choice but to do some serious background digging. He seems to be quite big name in the IDM world. He has some free tracks available for download on his webpage. I find them all horrible. Because of this I was ofcourse really extremly anxious to hear his Shpongled production. The track begins in a fashion that I'd assume could be called Brothom States' casual style. It sounds quite random and disturbed if you ask me. Telling the truth I wouldn't really describe this as music. It's all about disturbed drums that sort of create a pattern. After listening to this tune more than once it did start to make a little more sense. At 01:30 things find their place. Just before the 2 minute mark we even get a bassline, how un Brothom States like is that!? Nevermind the beginning for what is to hit you at 02:28 is -how to put this- fucking brilliant! It's amazing what one twisted vocal sample/chant can do. Yes it's definetly a remix to "Star Shpongled Banner". Fucking brilliant remix if I may add. The more I listen to it the more I love it. "Mental extensions.."

When I found Shpongle Remixed..
From my mailbox I said "Hooray". This word also appears in "Tales Of The Inexpressible's" 3rd track, which is called "A New Way To Say Hooray". Now it's Benji Vaughan's (Prometheus, the other half of Younger Brother) turn to show his vision. The tune begins in quite similar fashion to the original. Benji has definetly had access to Simon's files, no question about that. "Aaayya yooooooo." 01:20 it becomes quite clear that this is a remix. At this point it seems that the album has just taken a step towards dancefloors. We get a solid kick drum. A little before 02:00 a rolling bassline joins the play. I really dig the hi-hats. There's Benji Vaughan tag all over the place. His signature of sound manipulation is definetly present! The genre would definetly be psygressive. Pumping beat keeps the track on it's edge. The "ayyyyya ooo" chants work quite well on top of it. 03:25 or so a familiar melody can be heard. 04:15 there's a break part. The familiar melody returns as everything else remains quiet, everything else apart from the snares that is. But no, ten or so seconds later the pumping beat/bass combo returns. Start playing the track from this point and I'll bet my money on that no one will recognize it as a remix to a Shpongle track. I remove my bid at 05:55. I don't know what to say. Listen and enjoy! The track is flawless!

Many find..
"My Head Feels like A Frisbee" to be the best tune on "Tales Of The Inexpressible". Now it's Benji Vaughan's and Tristan's turn together as "Delusions Of Grandeur" to show what they think should have been done differently. It all begins with a familiar sample. "Brought me down to me knees..I had hold on to the.." 00:28 a gentle bass appears. The sample keeps on going. After 1 minute mark against all the odds we are still going chilled. At 01:10 you'll probably think this is it, I sure did, but no, the peak doesn't start the evil "lets kill the dancefloor" part, but a jazzy joy. 01:22 the horns from the original track do a really violent but short appearence. They are so loud! 01:43 there are sounds which I'm quite sure appear in another Shpongle track. Build up sounds if you know what I mean. 02:22 seems like they are here to stay. "You know catching butterflies and UHHHhh.." That's the spoken sample that starts the kick drum. And wow, suddenly the tune sounds exactly like the original. And I do mean E.X.A.C.T.L.Y. The part before the horns that is. But then, hah! We get really fast bongo drums. On top of that we get some snares and a cowbell. Some wicked effects are displayed every now and then. OH MY! Brilliant! At this point in the original version we have horns doing the melody as everything else keeps on following them. Well now they appear every now and then. So what else is going on? Well first of all we've got funky bassline,also some chants, some snares and ofcourse a carefully selected fistful of effects. There’s some really bizarre background noise. Actually lets call it blissful bizarre backgound noise. 04:31 to 04:48 is really tribal. You'll see. As we pass it the bassline returns. Only thing accompaniyng it is the drums. As the seconds go by various things are added to the concept. Eventually the melody returns. "I had hold on to the... My head feels like a frisbee.."

What a unusual track!
Unsual was also Total Eclipse's remix to Shpongle's Dorset Perception which was originally released on Twisted's Unusual Suspects compilation. Telling the truth I honestly didn't atfirst think much of it. It just simply wasn't my cup of tea. When Simon played this tune at the end part of his "chill out" set at Samothraki Dance Festival I came to realize that this tune is actually pretty fucking good. Nothing major going on before 00:33. At that point we get the growly travelling repeative bassline. It remains as the biggest contributing factor till 01:24. That's when (I think) Michele's voice can be heard. As the singing ends the guitar starts. Yes, it's pretty much the same guitar as in the original, the tempo is somewhat slower though. As it ends a agressive synth appears. It's soon joined by the incartation of devil. Some call it a kickdrum. I know it's a shame but I'm honestly not too familiar with Total Eclipse’s production. I know, I know, every self respecting chiller has to own Violent Relaxation. So anyways I can't really say if this is Total Eclipse's usual style or not. Anyhow this track is really easy to identify as a remix to a Shpongle track. Why? Because all the familiar elements can be found here. The guitar, Michele, the horns, it's all there! You either dig it or dislike it. Like I said before, I didn’t think much of this tune before, now however I find it glorious.

Has released two absolutely utterly brilliant “instant classic” albums within a year or so. I’m sure we are all aware of “Hallucinogen In Dub” and “Blumenkraft”, every self respecting trancer is. Ott is in my opinion a perfect artist to remix Shpongle. First of all he mastered the Shpongle debut. Second of all his style is in my opinion pretty much the next best think to Shpongle. I’m thinking about replacing the “next best” with “as good”, but that’s another story. Ott has chosen to remix the epic “Around The World In Tea Daze” which in my opinion was by far the best tune in “Tales Of The Inexpressible”. So shall we go on? And so it begings. “Huge.. and put it inside of very tiny.. and fold it.” Now where have I heard that before? =) The sample gets repeated something like 5 times. In every single circle something is added. We also hear that “Paco de Lucia” dude’s guitar intro. Well the melody anyways. When we get to the 5th time or so we’ve already got a stable ground to build a tune on. It’s faint, but it’s definetly there, the familiar “melody” begins. It gets louder and louder. Ott’s drum work appears, doesn’t come out of the blue sky though as it also slowly gains volume. A little before 01:30 we get a bassline which imitates the melody. 15 seconds or so later we get the “Ommmmmmm… Moksha” that’s sung by the same guy than in the original version, I’d assume it’s the same sample. It’s very emotional moment. Just after that we get the same vocals, only sung by someone else. 02:20 is a peak which ends the bassline. Everything is pitched. 02:35 transforms us to the Ott world. Sure does sound like Ott’s work. No question about that. We have a bassline, a guitar, a flute, the beat and some weirdo effects. The “gaasi vishnu” samples can be found somewhere around 03:30. Ott has had access to Simon’s files too! A few seconds after 04:00 there’s a break. Let us breath for a while. Ok, lets start building up. Me like it! Me like it A LOT! The build up is joined by a bass at 05:00. It’s sort of dubby. What a surprise, eh? Ott is definetly one of the most talented artists out there, out of those that I’m aware of anyways. The tune sure is a joy. It resembles the original a lot, but it’s so different in other inexpressible ways. Loads of delays used. Loads of sounds. A perfect remix! Take my word, it’s very, very good track.

The final..
Tune is called “Once Upon The Sea Of Blissful Awareness (Esion Jim Remix)”. The original version sure is one blissful piece of art and based on Esion Jim’s tunes that I’ve heard this far I expect this to be nothing less. The beginning is very organic. We’ve got a finger picked contra bass, a guitar, some strings and ofcourse tiny pieces of electronic bleeps, beeps and peeps. We are obviously preparing a way. For? We’ll see soon. 00:40 we get a faint hi-hat that gives the pattern some might. A few more seconds and the vocals start. I still have absolutely no idea what she’s singing about but it sure is beautiful. “Love some, weep some, dance for George”, maybe not? =) Anyways vocals that sound sort of similar to this are sung a few times. They dissapear, and guess what appears. Yes, a kickdrum, but it’s definetly not a nasty one. Just more might for the pattern, that’s pretty much it. If you ask me, this is “electro” at its best. 01:47 we get more vocals. “Tell me who, can’t you see, how we hmmmm… can’t you…” Well the vocals sure are as difficult to identify as in the original version. I do have strong feeling that the vocals are different here though, seems like we’ve got more of them, ah yes, the lyrics have definetly changed. The track goes pretty twisted right before 02:50. Sweet ass effect! We return. The kick is more violent now. Oh my! I didn’t realize just how complicated this track is the first times I listened it thru. Bass, strings, flute(!!), tons of percussions, vocals and a perfect composition. Blissful it was and blissful it is.

My expectations..
Were extremly high, but this album did definetly prove itself. “Better than the original or not” is not a path I’m going to take. This album doesn’t have a weak point (expect for one which I’ll come back to shortly). All the tracks are very extremly good. In my opinion the title which Twisted chose for this album is missleading. Instead of “Shpongle Remixed” it should be titled “Shponge Remade”. This isn't about "lets make a remix in 5 minutes" people! It's clear that every single track on this album has taken days if not months..

It’s sad..
That the album is so short. I wonder why Twisted didn't include one or two more tunes. I personally wouldn't have minded of say "Behind Closed Eyelids (Gargoyles Remix)" or something like that. Even the fact that one of the tracks on this album has already been released doesn't make me give it less than 9/10. One more track and it would have been 10/10. Anyways it’s a release no one should miss. Shpongle saga continues..

Thank you Twisted..

samples and such can be found from my webpage..


          "The dinosaurs became extinct because they didn't have a space program."
- Larry Niven
IsraTrance Team

Started Topics :  101
Posts :  3239
Posted : Oct 3, 2003 18:34
So I guess you are starting to get the Brothomstates beats

nice to have some few words as a preview....           Crackling universes dive into their own neverending crackle...
IsraTrance Senior Member

Started Topics :  290
Posts :  6194
Posted : Oct 4, 2003 00:16
Is this released or you actually got a promo of this album traveller?           Toodaloo Motherfuckers!!!!!
IsraTrance Senior Member

Started Topics :  234
Posts :  3803
Posted : Oct 4, 2003 00:35
If you would read the review I wouldn't have to answer your question..

It will be released 20th of this month.. and yes I've got the promo..           "The dinosaurs became extinct because they didn't have a space program."
- Larry Niven
IsraTrance Junior Member

Started Topics :  16
Posts :  556
Posted : Oct 4, 2003 03:02
one month to go... till this piece of art gets to the little ppl           just flow baby... just flow...
IsraTrance Team

Started Topics :  506
Posts :  5388
Posted : Oct 4, 2003 03:10
great review as always, asn as always i read it in a few times not all at once...... cant wait.           "On the other hand, you have different fingers."

Started Topics :  1
Posts :  29
Posted : Oct 4, 2003 04:06
Little more then to weeks for the release
im realy curious about thet one but im sure i will like it
by the way great review Traveller
(m i the first one thet read the all thing? hehe)
IsraTrance Senior Member

Started Topics :  234
Posts :  3803
Posted : Oct 4, 2003 10:24
check out the samples at my webpage..           "The dinosaurs became extinct because they didn't have a space program."
- Larry Niven

Started Topics :  311
Posts :  8630
Posted : Oct 4, 2003 12:56

On 2003-10-04 10:24, traveller wrote:
check out the samples at my webpage..

..The web site you are trying to access has exceeded its allocated data transfer...

God damn Geocities.
Couldn't you find a better place to store the samples           Everyone in the world is doing something without me
IsraTrance Senior Member

Started Topics :  290
Posts :  6194
Posted : Oct 4, 2003 13:08
I read the review thats why i asked...           Toodaloo Motherfuckers!!!!!
freaky bob

Started Topics :  8
Posts :  25
Posted : Oct 4, 2003 13:14
traveller: you hit the nail right on the head!! a right pair of shamanic drummers are posford and raja ram...
i also had problems accessing your site, think you're gonna have to move it.
check out for space. no ads and good bandwidth.
IsraTrance Senior Member

Started Topics :  234
Posts :  3803
Posted : Oct 4, 2003 14:05

well seems like my webpage is online again.. i know geocities sucks and i'm planning to move my site to my own isp's servers.. just too lazy to actually do it..           "The dinosaurs became extinct because they didn't have a space program."
- Larry Niven
IsraTrance Junior Member

Started Topics :  40
Posts :  363
Posted : Oct 5, 2003 15:29
review from


The good news, folks, is that Shpongle are already working on their third album. And the good news, folks, is that Twisted are releasing a remix album to keep shpongle hunger nicely at bay. Western Rebel Alliance's mix of Crystal Skulls opens the album in slinky breakbeat stylee, builds up nicely and sith wicked production that sort of throws in flecks of the original, like fudge pieces in posh ice cream. It's cute and it's refreshing that it doesn't sound LOADS like Shpongle... though for me it ends a little abruptly. Eat Static go for sketch factor with a rework of And The Day Turned To Night, beats all over the place, firing off in all directions... yummy. Brothomstates' Star Shpongled Banner is broken and twisted and metallic, like squarepusher going to samothraki and eating all his drugs because he's scared of the police (ahem sketchy!). Prometheus' New Way To Say Hooray is sublime, retaining the epic feel of the original while adding some bootyful benji bubbles. Tristan's My Head Feels Like Frisbee brings two sides of Tristan in there somewhere, ultimately easygoing and mellow but with a sinister grumbleweed like a curry that you know's going to have an effect on you sooner or later. The Total Eclipse mix of Dorset Perception we all know and love, sounds a little different here but maybe cos of different mastering that a serge rework? Dunno mate. What I do know is that Ott's Around The World In A Tea Daze is f**ing submlime, seriously it's up there with smoked glass and chrome for this boy... you just HAVE to hear it, the way the original melodies and samples float in and out around Ott's fluid dubby groove is awesome. definitely one of those "re-re-rewind" moments, hearing it once isn't enough. Esionjim's final word, Blissful Awareness, takes you right out into a deep hammock of Shpongle, Michelle's vocals have never sounded so good, mm-hmm, and there's enough surprises and flecks to make it sound awesome even on the relatively lame little stereo i have in my motor.
This is better than I expected it to be, though some fullon dancefloor stuff wouldn't have gone amiss. Shpongle's music is special and the fact that it can be reinterpreted like this, and still work, just underlines that.

IsraTrance Full Member

Started Topics :  103
Posts :  1137
Posted : Oct 5, 2003 18:55
2. Shpongle - And The Day Turned To Fright (Eat Static Remix) 09:16
7. Shpongle - Around The World In Tea Daze (Ott Remix) 08:25

I loved the Originals..lets hope these are even better...and Traveller your one crazy mofo mate...good on ya...Nice Review...

          ....good fudge comes on slow!!!

Started Topics :  6
Posts :  149
Posted : Oct 6, 2003 03:40

On 2003-10-05 18:55, bholenath wrote:
2. Shpongle - And The Day Turned To Fright (Eat Static Remix) 09:16
7. Shpongle - Around The World In Tea Daze (Ott Remix) 08:25

I loved the Originals..lets hope these are even better...and Traveller your one crazy mofo mate...good on ya...Nice Review...

hehe`s like it was me wrote this message ...the same thoughts at the moment
          Dream is my world. Goa is my motherland. Trance is my religion. Flying is my life.
Trance Forum » » Forum  Music Reviews - A (P)review Of Shpongle Remixed (Twisted)

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