REVIEW Phil Kieran ‘Life Cycling – The Remixes #1’ [Maeve]

A few seasons after Phil Kierans album Life Cycling was released, Mano Le Tough and Cooper Saver physicalize their remixes, placing a housey silver-lining around two whole-hearted tracks. The remixes are the eleventh and twelfth tracks of the album, and as their names suggest, are transitionalstages: namely Before and After Life and Prayer to the Failed. In December 2019, Life Cycling was Kieran’s debut release on Maeve — the label run by fellow remixer — Mano Le Tough. With a twenty-year repertoire, Irishman Phil Kieran is typically recognized for his heavy clubby transactions; but as life aggregates, his discography did too. Sustaining his heat with a slower and softer touch, Life Cycling is reportedly inspired by 70s German favs including Kraftwerkand ‘Popul Vuh’. Racing a beguiling resonation, the remixes are quicker, retaining preliminary elements, and absorbed in entirety.

Mano Le Tough swaddles the originals fluidity, adding unearthly pads and a tight bassline to begin. Slowly, white noise bleeds into the crystal clear tempo while audible bubbles circulate to the surface. Flowing in other adhesives, the originals Mermaid coos and deep keys stick, adding in crisp accelerating hi-hats and clapping tones. At 5:45s, where the novel track wouldve originally ended, Mano Le Toughs entraining bass punches in for an overtime requiescence. Soothing a grim reapers passage, a subtle but placid sequence chimes; and more obviously overhead, the rhythm of a cardiac alarm loops. In a heavenly dynamic, the hopeful sequence makes itself known one last time. Finally, all the elements accumulate in a fast-motion rewind, that is, until muddy contractions signal the ending moments. Birth and death have a time-like separation, but the spaces that lie outside these markers remain a timeless conundrum. Gleaming an iridescent serenity from the start and finish, Mano, commences with yet another marvelous tour to reacquaint intrusive inquiries of Before & After Life.

Studded with empowerment, Cooper Saver recoils a lighter vibe, dashing a decent amount of percussion picks and revelation licks. To push off, the originals drawn-out hand drums are sped up, both remaining objectively effective. Adding to the free flight experience, the remix reclaims the originals looser and grounded bass, this time in a snappier tempo. The electro keys perforate an upward transcendence and the hollow drums magnify a raw undertone. At 2:30ish the chronic flux signals a grinding routine luckily without all liberations lost. Winding down to settle the scores, a pure-tone bloom delicately withers about a lonely tomb. Picking up happy thoughts and jumping right back in, the elements return without hesitation. The claps initiate dancing impulses until Saver gently glides the track down.

As the hot days dwindle, Phil Kierans remixes release, holding onto memories of the fore season, and glimpsing into natures subsequent cycles. The two tracks on Life Cycling are reborn into an indulgent correspondence via Mano Le Tough and Cooper Saver. Impenitently inviting the banal ideas of life and death, both of their designs refine the original tracks speed and move towards a housey rerun. Mano Le Tough expands the original track, intersecting and elongating the elements in vivid fashion. Whereas, Cooper Saver washes the originals landscape with plinky synths and rumbling drums for an aligned expression. The selected tracks and titles are contemporary with the seemingly insurmountable deaths on this planet; and as obvious as it seems, it’s always a nice reminder that all life forms are in fact, cycling.

Life Cycling – The Remixes #1 was released on August 7th, 2020 on Maeve.

Review by Isabella Gadinis