Renaldo and the Loaf - Hardly Gurning While The World Is Turning [Klanggalerie - 2021]
Here we have a fourteen-track remix album of Renaldo & The Loaf’s great 2017 come-back record Gurdy Hurding. It takes in an interesting selection of artists doing the remixes, along a nearing twenty-minute track from the pair featuring a remixed selection of elements that didn’t make it onto the original album- all making for a great companion to the original Gurdy Hurding.
Before we get into the sonic side of things we must talk about the great glossy six-panel mini gatefold the CD comes in. It follows on from Gurdy Hurding’s cover, with surreal yet detailed cartoon-like landscape artwork by Poxodd. The two-piece are dressed as strange stream punk like minstrels- with a backdrop of Gurning easter island statutes, ram hurdy-gurdy crossbreeds, walking string headed wooden figures, and quirky stone statues representations of the pair.
The CD kicks off with the releases title track. This runs at just over the eighteen and a half minute mark- finding Renaldo & The Loaf composing a twisting 'n' turning track built around off-cuts, bits and bods, and unused elements from the original release. As expected it darts and shifts around with its (off ) world electro beats, quirky singing song-to-wackily theatrical vocals, and avant pop texturing. It’s certainly a wonderful eventfully and largely enjoyable sonically surreal romp- sure there are moments you wish had gone on longer, but that would be the same with anything in this type of format.
Next, we move into the lion share/ remixed by others part of the album. So first out of the gate here we have The Residents take on the original albums opening track "Henri Rise"- with the eyeballed and top hats ones adding in a loose blend of bounding ‘n’ rock bass tone throb and wonky Avant punk guitar to the original tracks jaunting structure. As we move through the album we come to Baker & Lenoard's take on "A Convivial Ode"- taking the cut-up, rearrange and electro fed Renaissance string and vocals of the original, and transforming into a hazed march of plodding tone darts, lost monk singing, ambient simmers and unnerving string darts.
As we move deeper into the CD we find Andrew Liles remixing of the album jaunting 'n' jiving title track-initially you think he’s gone for a beatless techno ambient remix with just slow darting washes of synth tone and tone darts- but as we move on he switches in 'n' out the jaunting flow of the original to nicely unbalancing effect. Moving towards the home stretch and we find Transglobal Undergrounds remix of “Carrot Ballet” adding in a more even seesawing- almost accordion-like beat structure to the once unpredictable track. The album is finished off with Pita’s take on "Optimism" which finds the project pulling out the original tracks jittering ‘n’ grooving electro word-music beat ‘n’ chant- switching it into drowsy and abstract electronica push and pull, which later on adds in a pitch shifting techno beat structure.
As remix albums go Hardly Gurning While The World Is Turning, is certainly one of the better ones- with a good selection of interesting artists doing the remixers, and of course, there’s the rewarding bits and bobs remix suite from the project themselves making the whole thing even sweeter. Really a must-have release if you enjoyed the original Gurdy HurdingRoger Batty