Metroland's latest concept album "Men In A Frame" has evolved into something quite big, 2 Expositions showcasing music from the album and the photography that inspired the music, with their latest Expo currently being held in their home city, Mechelen in Belguim.
To coincide with their latest exhibition they have also released a double yellow vinyl remix album, a remix CD, and 2 special USB Key releases, the first, which is yellow, contains all the tracks from the remixes project and bonus tracks, the second key, which is black, is a true Metroland collector's item, as it contains a feature length documentary about the band, 3 special 3 track EP's, Mega-Mixes and artwork.
A treasure trove of material!
This review concentrates on the double yellow vinyl remix album "Framed", across the 2 vinyl albums are remixes of every track from "men In A Frame" and the 2 singles "Man In A Frame" and "Memorabilia".
Side A kicks off with the OT-Vorsprung Remix of "Proiezione 41-828", which has a superb driving bass-line dominating the track, key elements of the original version have been left intact, the melody line and the vocals, combined the remix works really well, very impressive start.
Next we have the Real Sounds From A Matrix Edit of "La Macchia D'Aqua", I love the drums, very Depeche Mode as are other elements of the mix including the stabbed bass-line and synths, It took quite a few listens to get into this track, quite a departure from the original version, sounds a lot darker.
The final track on Side A of the vinyl is the Aavikko Remix of "B-Old", the original mix is one of my favourite tracks on "Men In A Frame". The remix has more of a "Pop" feel to it, as with the opening track key elements of the original remain intact, with the new remixed parts blending in really well, this also has a Depeche Mode influence running through it, excellent job done on this remix.
.....and so we flip the vinyl over to enjoy side B
The first track "The Speed Of Life III" is remixed by Elektroklange, a band we have featured on our Kraftwerk themed shows, and it is no surprise that this remix has the biggest Kraftwerk influence of all the tracks on "Framed", it is an outstanding remix, upbeat and minimal with great use of the "Speak & Spell" voice machine and subtle sequencers. My favourite remix on the album, pure perfection.
Psy'Aviah, another band I am very familiar with have remixed the next track "Hope" and as you would expect of them, they have given the track an atmospheric makeover, with great use of pad sounds over a clean rhythm section, without doubt this was the perfect track for Psy'Aviah to remix. Another remix I rate highly.
Next we have Kurt Baggaley's Destination Remix of "Next Choice" and Kurt delivers a fabulous mix, great percussive parts and rhythm section, again he hasn't tried to re-invent the track and kept quite faithful to the original version, his minimal approach works perfectly, definitely one of the best remixes on the album, the Satnav voice work really well in this mix and it is one of my favourite remixes on the album.
The opening track on Side C is the Passenger S Perennial Mix of "Creative Rose" and what a fantastic job he his has done, the track feels more rounded and full and he has decided to go down the route of an 80s style extended version. The sequencers are locked and loaded, with the bottom end sequencers taking centre stage, fantastic!
Next we have the Never Trust An Implant Remix of "Trust", this leans towards the industrial genre, with it's thumping bass-line, bleeps and synth noises, this has been heavily re-worked and is the one track on the album that I think doesn't work, it's to varied.
"Concrete Witness", the Analogue Audio Association Remix 3, is an interesting remix, I felt the original version was very difficult to get into but this remix has gained my attention, it is almost trance like and focuses on the sequencer elements of the song, which is punctuated by a minimalistic bass-line and a basic rhythm pattern. I really like this remix.
On to side D.....
The Der Dritte Raum Remix of "memorabilia" has a four to the floor dance beat with Kraftwerk sounding synth parts, indeed, It wouldn't be out of place on the German bands' "The Mix" album. This mix has grown on me a lot, it is hypnotic and has been re-worked a fair bit from the original version and is another standout remix and clocks in at over 8 minutes.
"Shades Of Pale" has been given a major overhaul in the Die Robo Sapiens Remix keeping some of the original melody in place and the vocal samples, the rhythm section and bass-line is new, at times it seems a bit cluttered this mix, so I am a little undecided about it, what I will say is Metroland's own remix of the track is definitely superior.
The Vinyl remix album concludes with the Frohm remix of "Man In A Frame", this is pure pop/dance, a fantastic new bass-line, also a very atmospheric synth line has been introduced, all working together really well, the vocals are much more minimal but that works so well in the context of the remix.
Included with the vinyl is a remix CD called "Framed Anew", which features 9 of the remixes taken from the Vinyl remix album and three exclusive remixes, including yje Zusammenklang Mix of "Memorabilia, originally included on the "Memorabilia" Remixes EP release, a new remix of "Man In A Frame" by Metroland titled "Decibel Sintetico", as well as, the Re-Framed by Metroland remix of "Shades Of Pale".
It is always a gamble when you put your faith in other people remixing your songs, however, Metroland needn't be concerned as "Framed" is an excellent collection of remixes, what is impressive is that they decided to have every track on the album remixed as well as the associated singles. The yellow vinyl looks superb and is housed in a beautifully designed double sleeve, the perfect way to draw a line under the whole photography concept, especially when you consider that they also released the 2 USB Keys at the same time, what started out as a relatively simple and straight forward concept developed into a much more complex affair.
Metroland have worked very hard on everything associated with the "Men In A Frame" project and "Framed" is the icing on the cake, "Framed" is an absolute pleasure to listen to and if you don't have this in your collection yet, don't hesitate to get it, you won't be disappointed.
Key tracks: The Speed Of Life III (Elektroklänge 1-2-3 Remix), Next Choice (Kurt Baggaley‘s Destination Remix), Creative Rose (Passenger S Perennial Mix), B-Old (Aavikko Remix)
You can buy a special package direct from Metroland that includes the double yellow vinyl album "Framed", the remix CD "Framed Anew" and the yellow USB Key Drive, via this link:
The double yellow vinyl album "Framed" and remix CD "Framed Anew" is available direct from the bands record label Alfa Matrix via the link below:
White Lion Radio have also released a special Audio Documentary called "Metroland: In Focus", which gives an indpepth overview of all the releases associated with the "Men In A Frame" concept, you can listen to that on Mixcloud here: