REVIEW Various Artists ‘Bigamo Remixed Pt. 1’ [Bigamo Musik]

There are many (brilliant) sides to Frank Wiedemann, all equally impressive. Co-founding together with his other-Ame half Kristian Beyer and the Dixon, what has become over the past decade, one of the mightiest pillars in the underground dance music scene, forerunner of the highly effective Melodic subgenre in a once Minimal dominated climate, Wiedemann, also vessel for Âme’s live performances, knows plenty about creating a culture with music, and building a distinct sound by excavating and propelling it. While the DJ/producer/label owner showcases his versatility, filling in one shoe in a couple of other musical acts, namely, Howling with electronic vocalist RY X, and Schwarzmann with House and Techno powerhouse Henrik Schwarz, and A Critical Mass with Schwarz and the Innervisions label forefathers, Wiedemann’s taste for and a deepening connection to an alternative implication of electronic music, coupled with the discovery of rising artists who share the same vision and the aural capacity to manifest it, have not only built the components to launch a new symphonic vehicle, but fueled the momentum to drive it far enough, along a lesser known but growingly vital course.

In July of 2017 Wiedemann set up shop amidst a Wolfgang Tillman exhibition at Fondation Beyeler and gave listeners a glimpse into this alternate universe. Incorporating Innervisions material and forthcoming releases from his newborn Bigamo label, the virtuoso carefully broke down tracks and ingeniously looped in their components with his live set up and full emotional investment. Shortly after this catalytic performance, Bigamo unraveled its arsenal, calibrated by a rare few makers whose sound not only fit into Wiedemann’s magical hour, but respires the label’s very existence. Three years and ten defining releases after its inception, Bigamo marks a new chapter, exposing the versatility of its sound with its 11th release, the first trio of nine weapons from its archive – reimagined, and rendered in a fresh but equally and fundamentally Bigamist, manner.  

An ideal match – tried, tested and proven by preceding collaborations – jumpstarts BIGAMO07, and decisively so. This release is not Bigamo as we know it, but it can only be, well, Bigamo. Sao Paolo-born Abrão Levin lends Aguas Sagradas do Ganges from his 2018 LP Omnam to Israel duo, Red Axes, with whom he has had a long synergetic history with, whether by means of engineering duties, lathering vocals on music or vice versa. While Levin’s credentials lack hours on deck choreographing movements on dancefloors across the globe, the well-traveled DJ duo compensate, going all in, elegantly transforming the singer’s dreamy opus into a standout dance track, laid-back with cracks of salient nostalgia. An enthusiastically brusque bass revs Red Axes’ remix, and blithely mellowed by a jangly groove, implies danceability from the get go. There’s a certain rush in this build up, Red Axes is Too Late to Ganges after all. But ironically, kept at 118 BPM, the track treads lightly, and bodes well with passing regret. A climactic backdrop transpires, ushering Levin’s Portuguese-lish lyrics in Pythonesque vastness, brassy in its empty grandeur. Forgoing the sentimental electric guitar riffs that resound an uneasy infatuation with the Sacred Waters of the Ganges and its tragically salvatory implications, at the encore of the original,  Niv Arzi and Dori Sadovnik divest the anxious distress and intimacy of the E major key, and suits up in F major’s complaisance while pitching Levin’s harrowing vocals higher, tuning its slow-burning electronica predecessor, less weepy, and rather, more contemplative. 

Balearic vibes highlight the romanticism of Levin’s lingua franca in both versions,  but it is Red Axes’ synthetic grace and psychedelic chirp married with organically cultivated ethnic soundscapes, that transcend Too Late to Ganges to a meditative trance, 7 seconds short of 7 minutes in Oriental cosmic heaven. If you’ve ever experienced the Garzen Records label heads on decks at dusk, out in open air, two heads nodding to each track’s beat as per their habit, tipping the sun off to the horizon, you’ll understand why this track exists, and how. 

Deja vu? (While this isn’t the Brazilian-inspired global hit Todo Bom made very well known by Israeli pop sensation Static & Ben El, it is also titled after the Brazilian common phrase and is a bit Brasileno as it is Israeli). Indeed, another track from Levin’s Omnam LP, is on center stage for a reshape.  If some Red Axes essence seem to linger, it’s because it is. Sado V, commonly known as Dori Sadovnik and half of Red Axes, is at the helm of this remix, nipping and tucking the prototype (hang tight, this will get a little confusing as we loop back in here) which actually first appeared as part of Abrao’s self-titled EP, on none other than Red Axes’ Garzen Records. So many Tudo Boms end here, Sado V’s Tudo Bom is the Tudo Bom of the moment, a nuanced reincarnation, a matrimony of organic and synthetic mechanisms from a gallimaufry of genres and subgenres across decades that can infiltrate dancefloors with the timeless sans souci Tudo Bom state of mind.

Sado V heats up his 6:53 minute equatorial excursion with husky hits on the bass drum, and brushing in some percussion for friction, immediately sets temperatures rising. Reaching a bit of a boiling point, he retracts on bass, carefully dribbling it back into proper temperament, before unfurling some moist, locomotive synth sounds brightened by Latin beats, to project Abrao’s vocals in circular motion for full throttle immersion. The bassline remains consistent and the tempo is primally engaging at 120 BPM, grounding this psychotropic bacchanal in the island, but a swanky vintage groove introduced at the 36 second mark arouses Tudo Bom, “Besa Me” vocals climaxing to full sensual pleasure in polychromatic utopia before the halfway mark. B1 is fashionably furnished, mesmerizing calypso beats tug and and hip-swaying cumbia, and trippy psychedelica play until the bittersweet end, but pay attention to Sado V zooming out and kaleidoscoping into tropical paradise at around 3:30, isn’t life good? Tudo Bom.

Sometimes a good remix treatment is an irresistible plague. Wrapping up volume one of Bigamo’s remix saga, the sun has gone completely into hiding, and Afro-Peruvian music proponents Dengue Dengue Dengue breed deep into the night and find two nyctophiles in some abandoned quarry, rapt in profound reflection. Keope’s 2017 original off their Tropicalini album was a sorcery of nocturnal wonder and byproduct of idyllic solitude, and for their version, Dengue Dengue Dengue retains that meanwhile ladling a little bit of color with some tropical bass, tribal rhythms and fresh Latin infusions. Though the original Notturno was conceived off the Slovenian border, Toni Bruna and Marcus Rossnecht’s connection with South American music is inherent in their compositions, having met in Santiago de Chile and found inspiration from their travels in the continent, and that worked wonders as Rafael Pereira and Felipe Salmon picked up from where they left off. Whether in the Central European palisades or the Peruvian rainforests, the time is night and two duos from different worlds, Old and New, fell captive to one celestial body bound by the colloquial universality of electronica and solitude. There’s something about how stars hit rocks and stones of gradient sheen and luster at the right angles that make Keope’s plaintive vocals glisten in any version of Notturno, and Dengue Dengue Dengue’s synthetic application of resonance paired with organic rhythms and lush percussion amplify each word’s introspective timbre. 

With three compelling reinventions of tracks from its archive, Bigamo Musik veered from its comfort zone and steered the Berlin-based label to faraway places that peculiarly feel like home, evincing its versatility and expanding the intricacy and relevance of its sound. Yielded by Bigamo’s cavalry of musically adept and diversely inspired producers, the previous releases provided ideal baseboards for a selected few to render dance-geared adaptations to. Perhaps it’s Abrao’s, Wiedemann’s and Keope’s expertise in improvisation, honed by their competence in live performances, that gear their production approach to lend quintessential reference points for remixers to do their jobs well, or Red Axes’, Sado V’s and Dengue Dengue Dengue’s mastery of dance floor decorum, that make BIGAMO7 a passport to physiological nirvana and transcendental bliss, or both. The 18:27 minute journey is by no means, linear, and when there are no set rules and boundaries are diffused, there is not one definition of perfection, but plenty, and when told in the electronic music vernacular where getting lost in translation is not a drawback but a juncture, the possibilities are endless and the destinations are continuously being reached.

Just as BIGAMO7 may feel cut short as ears stretched taut are left agape and dejection dawns at its sudden end, we’re in luck, the second round of threes are coming very soon.

Bigamo Remixed Pt. 1 was released Bigamo Musik on April 24th, 2020.

Review by Marie J Floro