I'm not always fond of remix records, especially when I'm in a position that I'm not either a. familiar with the original version, or b. familiar with the remixer. Remixing is an art, to be sure, and sometimes the remix takes on a life that's more like its remixer than the original idea for the song. All but two of these tracks are reworkings of songs from their most recent album, Know By Heart, which saw the band changing their older style, to mixed success.
Updates is American Analog Set's first visit to the world of the remix, and, shockingly, it's surprisingly fresh. Though not a full-length, the fact that Updates is but a mere EP means that the idea of quiet-band-gone-remixed doesn't overstay its welcome, nor is the concept allowed to drag on. It's a surefire way to experiment without having the same kind of band commitment to the idea that a full-length would naturally create. Plus, failures on an EP aren't considered quite as serious as full-length failures.
Updates consists of two new songs, one being "Desert Eagle," an electronic recreation of some older ideas, and "These Days," a cover of Her Space Holiday, with whom the band just recently toured. Her Space Holiday come into play again, with two remixes, "Aaron & Maria" and "Know By Heart." Electronica artist Styrofoam remixed the other two tracks, "The Postman" and "We're Computerizing and We Just Don't Need You Anymrore." The Her Space Holiday tracks are harder, with more of a schitzophrenic edge to them. The Styrofoam tracks are just the opposite, focusing on the band's softer, colder side. Both artists breathe life into tracks off of Know By Heart. I thought the album was weak and didn't give it much thought, and I missed the beautiful song "The Postman." This song is gorgeous and sad and lovely, and I'm going to have to dig that out again to see if my listening experience will be different. I guess that's the whole point of these remix projects anyway; here's hoping the band mix these new ideas into their sound while working on their new album...