Published Feb 20, 2020After delivering one of 2019's better electronic albums with the excellent Ways of Seeing, Scotland's Konx-om-Pax (real name Tom Scholefield) has returned with the eclectic Return to Cascada EP, featuring reimaginings and remixes of tracks taken from Ways of Seeing and other recent releases. It's admittedly a bit of a grab bag, and probably for completionists only, but if you take the plunge, there are a few things here that are worth your time.
The obvious highlights are the first two tracks: a remix of "Rez" (from Ways of Seeing) by Skee Mask; and "Return to Cascada," an alternate version of the similarly named track from 2017's Refresher EP. The former takes the arpeggios of the original as its focal point, chopping them up into frenetic runs whose speed and precision sparkle in ways the somewhat murky original didn't. The latter finds Scholefield ditching the massive synths of "Cascada" and giving much of the main melody over to a classy robotic vocal that shimmers in and out of the mix. Tighter and more focussed than the original's cavernous, warehouse-ready vibe, it proves itself a worthwhile redo, and is probably the most compelling entry on this spotty release.
The rest of the six-track EP is filled out with club, ambient and live versions of already released tracks and will likely be of more interest to working DJs than regular listeners. Certainly the club version of "Säule Acid" is fine enough, but the driving synths and forward momentum of "I'm For Real (feat. Nightwave)" make it an odd choice for an ambient treatment, and the live version of "Caramel" (from 2016's Caramel full-length) offers little beyond what its title suggests. "Teufelsberg," a pleasant two-minute synth piece, rounds things out.
If you're already hungry for more Konx-Om-Pax after the relatively recent Ways of Seeing, or are a DJ looking for the freshest mixes from the talented Scottish producer, you probably won't have wasted your time with Return to Cascada. However, casual listeners can safely pass over this interesting, but inessential, EP. (Planet Mu)