Review: Special Request, Nina Kraviz, Anastasia Kristensen – Looking Glass EP

Special Request teams up with Nina Kraviz and Anastasia Kristensen for remix duties on Houndstooth’s latest EP, ‘Looking Glass’. The Waveform Transmitter’s Sam Halligan takes a listen to four diverse tracks.

Houndstooth can’t get enough of Special Request at the moment it seems. Following the release of his Curtain Twitcher EP in September 2017, the massive 23-track Belief System the following month, and the Gerd Janson and Shan remixes EP earlier this year, the new-age rave wizard has teamed up with trailblazers Nina Kraviz and Anastasia Kristensen to bring us his fourth release in under a year; Looking Glass. Consisting of two Kraviz remixes of ‘Curtain Twitcher’, a brand new Request original, and a rework of ‘Tiresias’ by Anastasia Kristensen, the EP makes for an interesting mixture of club-focused experimentalism.

On the A1, Nina Kraviz’ ‘Alice Was Here Remix’, the first of her two noisy, stripped-back interpretations of ‘Curtain Twitcher’ (featured in the ‘Trip to The Great Wall of China’*) exhibits a minimalistic 4/4 groove, with subtle percussive elements and rolling analog bass making up the framework. Dubbed over the top, Kraviz’ lavish reading of The Mad Hatter, accompanied by sinister pads and floating atmospherics, take you on a hypnotic journey into the depths of her eccentric mind. Aside from the arpeggiated modular pattern from the original briefly reappearing for a hefty shift in intensity, the track is almost unrecognisable from the original, alluding to Kraviz’ artistic and creative integrity.

The ‘Samba Version’ is a more frantic affair, with crashing undercurrents bouncing between the frolicking synth and unhinged drum work. Although the track adopts a more poly-rhythmic and unconventional structure to that of the ‘Alice remix’, it ultimately lacks imagination as it progresses and becomes slightly monotonous. Of the two remixes, this version sits more as 4am club-fodder than opus – not that that’s always a bad thing.

On the flip, a new heater from Paul Woolford himself. ‘Looking Glass’ – another tribute to Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ series – is the latest addition to the ever-growing back catalogue of releases under his Special Request moniker, and it does not disappoint. Perhaps a reject from the inevitable tracks that never made it onto Belief System? A new piece entirely? Who knows. Who cares? All we know is it features all of that trademark Special Request goodness of recent projects; spacey bleeps, growling subs, distorted breakbeat chaos, suspense-inducing pads, I could go on; a true master of his trade.

The final track of the EP comes from Anastasia Kristensen, a young Danish DJ who seemingly popped up overnight last year and has since been taking the scene by storm with her off-kilter, textural approach to contemporary techno. This bouncy rework of one of the more emotional cuts from Belief System: ‘Tiresias’, entwines ingenious percussion, modular weirdness and harmonically rich synth-work to form an enthralling piece from start to finish. The track, although intense in its delivery, progresses seamlessly through its transitions as though they were scenes in a play; a really intelligent rendition on the whole.

The ‘Looking Glass’ EP will be released by Houndstooth on 27th July. Pre-order here to make sure you grab your copy. The full premiere of Kraviz‘ Curtain Twitcher’ (Nina Kraviz Alice Was Here Remix) can be heard below.

A1 Special Request – Curtain Twitcher (Nina Kraviz Alice Was Here Remix)

A2 Special Request – Curtain Twitcher (Nina Kraviz Samba Version)

AA1 Special Request – Looking Glass

AA2 Special Request Tiresias (Anastasia Kristensen Rework)

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