I thought I’d reviewed pretty much everything during my time at RGM, but I was mistaken! How foolish of me, I’ve never reviewed a remix album – I mean, they’re few and far between and I think there’s a reason why.
Punt Guns released their debut self-titled album October 2020 and they’re already back with remixes of selected tracks. Their latest output ‘RMXd‘ includes artists such Janette Slack, Glen Nicholls and Future Funk Squad taking hold of selected records from the debut album. Punt Guns merge together electronica, rock, funk and noise with grooving bass guitars and uses of voice editors like a vocoder to provide a technological and space funk sound.
Personally, I’ve never been much for remix albums and never usually fond of remix bonus tracks at the end of a record. Let’s say an iconic album receives an anniversary remix, then I’d be more inclined, or if it was from one of my favourite electronic artists, but going into this album from a newish band and so soon after the album’s original release I was hesitant.
In order to review this remix record, I first had to go and listen to the original album that the songs were being remixed. Thanks for that one guy, but I must say the remixes certainly gave me a greater appreciation for the debut’s musical output.
‘3pots’ is the first track on ‘RMXd‘ and the London group see their track remixed by both producer, Glen Nicholls and DJ, Janette Slack. The original piece showcases funky riffs and heavy bass guitar with transcending synths later on in the track and a wet-sounding guitar solo that didn’t really go anywhere.
The Nicholls remix doesn’t provide much difference from the original and sounded more fine-tuned with rhythms becoming early 90’s Britpop acid beats and the solo was buried into the other instruments and flowed a lot better.
The Janette Slack remix which also featured artist, Axiomatic, has blast beat drums and dirtier sounding bass. The remix here provides a lot more power than even the original can’t obtain.
‘1.C.A.R.U.S’ has fuzzy guitars with a grooving bass and a catchy verse that transcends into an unexpected chorus and really takes the edge out of the track. With regular vocals, the track returns with a force, but the affected choice in the verse makes for uncomfortable listening.
The Slack remix is a more atmospheric approach with soft synth notes and easy-going bass. It takes the ferocity out of the original and that can be fine if you like chilled floor filler tracks, but does redeem itself when the bass drops. However halfway through ‘1.C.A.R.U.S’ I am ready for the track to finish and I found the remaining three minutes didn’t present anything new or necessary.
The Nicholls remix takes out the heavy side of ‘1.C.A.R.U.S’ and replaces it with trip-hop styles and a dramatic aura in the second half of the track. The drums certainly go hard in this piece before descending into a spacey atmosphere. So far I wouldn’t say I was underwhelmed by the record, but it was a struggle to make me appreciate the craftsmanship of the remix artists.
‘Big Bang’ is a track with big 80’s synths and funky bass and drums. The vocoder vocals make for a classic space funk song, but falters after the chorus and lose the tenacity of the track. The guitar solo featured this time is more sonically appreciative and works better with the rest of the instruments.
The Future Funk Squad remix is full of ambient synths and pounding drums with blips of bass and electric guitar here and there. The bass in the later part of ‘Big Bang’ has a robotic end of the world vibe and reciprocates the onomatopoeia of its title.
In ‘The Most Sacred Thing In The Universe’ you’re met with a grooving intro that has an underground late 90s dance vibe to it. It progresses into hard bass verses and after hearing it you wonder why there would ever need to be a remix.
The Slack remix makes me think that the most sacred thing was to not touch the track and takes away a lot of the energy the original provided. The instrumentals are a lot more chaotic in the latter half of the track, but I found myself struggling to get through these longer remix versions and felt they were taking away what made the shorter and catchier originals sound so appetising.
‘Cyber Drama’ returns to fuzzy guitars and continuous vocoder usage – cyber by name and nature almost in its sound and is a genuinely energetic rock song. The Future Funk Squad remix tries to maintain that energy in the drumming but feels lackluster in comparison with the only other highlight coming from the bass.
Finally, I get to the last track on this list which is titled ‘Who Am I?’ which is what I was questioning myself at this point in the record. The progressive verses and gritty bass of the original are met with a lackluster chorus and instrumental collapse.
The Slack remix is piano-based and vibes like a late 90s trance anthem and this is one of the few occasions on the record where I found the remix to be better than the original track with its chill sounds and vastly different comparison.
So there we have it and all I can say is if you’re wanting to check out Punt Guns, I strongly direct you to their debut output in comparison to this remix album that fails to engage my attention and takes away what made the original tracks so appealing.