Guitarist & composer Stephan Thelen's experimental guitar-fest Fractal Guitar (MoonJune Records, 2019) was followed by Fractal Guitar Remixes And Extra Tracks (MoonJune Records, 2019), a substantially fresh look at the material, as well as an expansion. For the sequel Fractal Guitar 2 (Moonjune Records, 2021) Thelen produced an even more radical approach to contemporary guitar-driven music. The remixes are also a step beyond.
To start with, the album could just as well have been titled "Point Of Inflection Remixes," since the final track of the original album (which Thelen co-wrote with guitarist Barry Cleveland) receives three remixes, occupying the opening, closing and midpoints of the track sequence. The original opening tracks "Cosmic Krautrock" and "Fractal Guitar 2" were not remixed, but four of the six tracks were sufficient to create an album-length program roughly the same length as the original. The three different remixes of the same track also serve as a multifaceted demonstration of the remixing process.
"Point Of Inflection (Stephan Thelen Remix)" opens the album with a generous dose of Andi Pupato's percussion which was not heard on the original track, a small change which significantly alters the rhythmic feel of the tune. David Torn's mix also brings the rhythm section to the fore, especially Andy Brugger's drums. He unearths other details in the tracks, notably guitar parts which emerge during the closing soundscape, providing a much more definite ending. Bill Laswell's mix is radical enough to be labelled a Translation. It opens with over three minutes of abstract sonic invention before introducing the groove, supported by Laswell's signature bass playing. After a brief excursion into reggae dub territory, it explodes into psychedelic rock guitar. And so it goes, finding new paths through the progress of the piece.
Jah Wobble remixed "Ladder To The Stars" (co-written with Fabio Anile), Thelen remixed his own "Celestial Navigation," and Barry Cleveland did a more far-reaching mix translation on "Mercury Transit" (which also includes a new Michael Manring bass part). Once again the remix album arguably exceeds the original. Easily recommended to fans of Fractal Guitar 2, but with plenty to offer to any experimental guitar fan.
Point Of Inflection (Stephan Thelen Remix); Ladder To The Stars (Jah Wobble Remix);
Celestial Navigation (Stephan Thelen Remix); Point Of Inflection (David Torn Mix); Mercury Transit (Barry Clevaland Mix Translation); Point Of Inflection (Bill Laswell Translation).
Stephan Thelen: electric guitar, fender bass, choppy organ, granular synth, programming, fractal guitar, e-bow, keyboards; David Torn: electric guitar, live looping; Markus Reuter: touch guitar U8, soundscapes; Henry Kaiser: electric guitar; Jon Durant: electric guitar, cloud guitar, fretless guitar, VCS3 guitar: Bill Walker: electric guitar, live looping, lap steel; Barry Cleveland: 6 & 12-string guitar, bowed guitar, Revox loops; Chris Muir: electric guitar, live looping; Fabio Anile: keyboards, electric piano; Andy West: bass guitar; Bill Laswell: bass, electronics; Andi Pupato: percussion; Manuel Pasquinelli: drums; Andy Brugger: drums.