16 November 2010

John Tejada - Sweat on the Walls (remixes) - Poker Flat

Six years after it's release, John Tejada's stripped-back house anthem Sweat on the Walls gets a much deserved repress, with Martin Landsky and Donnacha Costello taking on remix duties. With it's bouncing bassline, shuffling percussion and oscillating acid synths, the original still sounds as fresh and jacking as when it dropped back in 2004. Frankly, the meandering vocal really doesn't do a lot for me, and it's the little snippets of "sweat on the walls" and "how does it make you feel?" which set a dancefloor on fire, rather than the slightly irritating "I just take some time... time is taken, you know? where do you want to go" that interferes with the squelchy run-out. Regardless, it's a polished acid gem that still tears it up with subtle filter sweeps and ebbing and flowing percussion. The Martin Landsky remix suffers a little bit in my eyes, choosing to extend the vocals, and dropping the infuriating hipster voice in over the first big drop in. It's a shame really; whilst Landsky doesn't really take the original to great new heights, his remix brings out the best in the nagging synth lines and decaying percussion, adding a couple of dynamic shifts that really improve on the original. Sadly, the vocal tends to get in the way of the best bits.

Donnacha Costello's rework is a definite winner though, focussing more on the warm analogue tones of the original and extending it to nearly nine minutes to explore the intricacies. With the vocal reduced to a looping murmur, Costello starts from a soft bass tone, adds swathes of synth and a rising acid line and complements it all with retro hi-hats and cymbals. It never reaches the peak-time feel of the other versions, but explores new depths of sound and teases the listener with a growling acidic bassline. Definitely one for the analogue house / techno heads.

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