Title: La Vie À Noir Transposed
Format: MP 077 LP
Label: Mille Plateaux
Catalogue Number: MP 077 LP
Year of Release: 2000
A1 La Vie À Noir Transposed (Gez Varley Remix)
A2 La Vie À Noir Transposed (Terre Thaemlitz Remix)
B1 La Vie À Noir Transposed (Kit Clayton Remix)
B2 La Vie À Noir Transposed (Vladislav Delay Remix)
C 14 Locked Grooves
D 14 Locked Grooves
Nice to see that the website that was set up for this release is still live, although a little broken: http://www.autopoieses.de/. Much the same can be said for the Mille Plateaux label's own site: http://www.mille-plateaux.net, especially the shop section, which is a shame as I was quite a fan of some of the Clicks 'n' Cuts-era stuff.
I'd also clearly forgotten when writing my review of Lucky Pierre's 1977 single, that the sleeve was essentially a CD case, otherwise I probably wouldn't have made such a fuss of their artwork (although to be fair, they did carry the concept down to the level of having a picture disc made to look like a CD-R).
It's a shame there isn't more info out there about this release, and the original album that it's a remix of, as it's intriguing. La Vie À Noir comprised 50-odd one minute long tracks. I'm guessing some of them are sampled in the 28 locked grooves that make up the second LP, and were the reason I bought this in the first place.
Which is just as well, really. Because I put on the first side of the first LP, and it was rubbish. Gez Varley (G-Man, LFO) has turned in a singularly unimpressive tune. I'd have preferred whoever produced this to cut his lacklustre techno track, in which nothing of note happens, in half and give more time for Mr. Thaemlitz's dense dark ambient soundscape to develop. If I didn't know that Gez used to be in LFO, I'd have assumed he was the young son of a dear friend of the band, and was being over-indulged.
On the B-side, Kit Clayton and Vladislav Delay deliver more interesting tracks in the click-y abstract electronica vein, although as I've said before it's hard to judge a remix without the original piece to go on.
And then on to the locked grooves, which I love. If you are unfamiliar with the concept, essentially the groove that is cut into the vinyl record does not spiral into the middle, but meets itself in a closed loop (there's a Wikipedia article with more info here). Theoretically each track is of infinite length, but then I bet William Basinski thought that was the case before his tape loops disintegrated, albeit to wonderful effect (see this review).
There are a wide variety of loops on the record, for example static noise, beats, clicks and horn sections, which must have been constituent parts of whatever La Vie À Noir was originally. Whilst some of them are interesting, they only really come into their own during a late night DJ set!
The samples that are from complete tracks are the best though. Cleverly looped, I let some of them run for upwards of 10 minutes, and they still compared favourably to Gez's remix. Whilst you know that logically you are hearing the same thing over and over again, the mind wanders around the constituent parts, focusing and defocussing on the bass, drum machine or keyboard lines in turn. I only wish I had two copies, then I could put together entire DJ sets and only have to carry two records around.
And with that, I declare the Letter A closed (subject to future purchases).