CD Review

Headache – “Fully Automated”

By Marcus Pan

Fully AutomatedRemix albums seem to be somewhat prevalent – always have been. One can say that it’s of course easier to mix up something already recorded than to record your own work. Originality has taken a back seat – you can hear it today on the radio as every other song is either a remix, cover or steals/borrows from an already established classic. The problem with this is how unoriginal everything has become – how many times must we hear the beats of yesterday?

Remix albums, however, provide an amazing avenue for both the original recording band and the remix artist if done properly. The difference is whether or not the remixer is in fact an artist or a hack – a status that can only be told by a few methods beyond individual taste. One of those methods is static-based: how long as the artist been around? In this particular case, the work of Headache has graced clubs and airwaves country and worldwide, most notably through the Detroit Electronica Coalition[1], for a number of years. This staying power can mean only one thing – when Headache remixes a song, he does so with an aplomb and a skill that makes the song his very own.

Fully Automated is a 2004 Headache release that mixes up notables such as Flood Damage, Collide[2], Croc Shop[3] and Ceoxime[4]. The CD opens with a version of Collide’s Wings of Steel and moves flawlessly through Hypoid’s Deprogramming Deposits of Fat and Diverje/Soul Circuit’s Stronger. Some tracks here were previously released while a few others are alternate versions not heard before as well as previews of future releases and exclusive material. Headache takes all of these tracks and makes them in his own image, with complete disbandings and recreations of rhythm, backbeat and melody changes. It might even be more accurate to say that Fully Automated is more a CD of new work inspired by the original songs rather than simple remixes of them.

The work here will vary from the wind-laced Generation and Autopilot (originally by Croc Shop and Silvercord[5] respectively) to the more experimental New Version of You which includes the floatiness, but is permeated by a heavy stomping prevalent beat through much of the track that drives it ferociously along. Noxious Emotion’s[6] X, remixed here, includes my favorite quote from the original being laced into the song: “This is how the world ends, not with a bang – but with a whisper.” Headache took the best of the song and made it more prevalent within, though the track trips deep into subconscious levels during its 9 ½+ minute stretch.

Suspicion is a funky-rhythmed drum ‘n bass backed track that moves swiftly with lots of beats, pulses and computeresque trappings. The remix of Bottomfeeder’s Maybe Someday fuses evenly between heavy industrial and trance-centric groovings, creating at once a hard pushing yet laid back track. T-T-Trainwreck (originally by Five Star Reject) is heavily drummed out, showing Headache’s superior control of rhythms again. Ovoid Vovoid effervesces with its metallic melody and comes out like a fine 80s synthpop song with a great drum ‘n bass style supporting it.

The thing that’s enjoyable about Headache’s work is that it is remixes, yes, but instead of simply remixing other artist’s work Headache will take those original tracks as a jumping off point into new territory and directions. I think much of Headache’s superior capabilities is with rhythm manipulations – drum movements, beat tracks and bass melodies are tightly arranged while remaining free to pound out different meanings within the scope of the remixed songs. Rhythm can be argued easily as being one of the core pieces of music – being the driving force, rhythm and heart around which most melody is woven. With this superior ability, it’s no wonder that the music coming from it is going to be superior as well.

Contact Information:
Post: 5480 S. Everett, Chicago, IL, 60615, USA
[1] D[electronic]T in Legends #95. D[electronic]T2 in Legends #119. D[electronic]T V03 in Legends #148.
[2] Collide’s latest, Some Kind of Strange, was reviewed in Legends #137.
[3] Croc Shop’s greatest hits release, Croc Shop.SEA, was written up in Legends #146.
[4] Check out Ceoxime’s demo, reviewed way back in Legends #98.
[5] Silvercord’s Swan on a Black Sea was reviewed in Legends #109.
[6] Noxious’ latest, Elements, was reviewed in Legends #102.