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Blu Mar Ten – Natural History Remixes: Part 1 review

Diversity is at the heart of the Blu Mar Ten ethos. Having produced breaks, two step, tech-house, ambient electronica, downbeat, and championed drum n bass since they first emerged on LTJ Bukem’s legendary Good Lookin’ Records back in 1997, Blue Mar Ten have indeed been a formidable force to reckon with.

But Chris Marigold, Leo Wyndham and more recent member, Michael Tognarelli, returned to their roots last year, releasing their Natural History D&B album on their own imprint. This, the first part of a remix project, sees Med School signing Bop, old Good Lookin’ compardre Seba and Californian producer Badmammal on remix duties, transforming each track into a new and altered state.

Washing, rippling rhythms with chirruping hints of jungle textures creep in for just a moment in Seba’s fantastic re-work of “Overwhelm”, before being carried away on a tide of sound. Scattering breaks, murmuring bass and distant sirens call like a voice from a distant shore. Utterly blissful, it’s a stand out track from the aforementioned album and a superb start to the remix EP.

Bop strips it back with his usual stark, Slavic style in “Believe Me”; hushed, howling Siberian winds are hinted at in the atmospheric intro, like a brewing gale. The iconic bleep-click pattern soon emerges, crackling in and out of focus, almost as if he makes a beat then goes back and deletes, rewinds and edits live. A curiously intriguing sound channeled here, perhaps a nod to the James Blake and Ramadanman school of production, with nice deep bass booms and soft sci-fi sounds.

Finishing up with “Above Words”, it’s all about the pristine, lacquered beats and gentle easing rhythms of Badmammal’s sombre yet incredibly evocative interpretation. Punctuated by warm harp flourishes, plucking strings, shaking bells, shuffling beats and glistening xylophone-like effects, the textured layers are beautifully evocative and bring the EP to a mournful, melancholic, but intensely satisfying close.

Belinda Rowse