Artist: Nosmo
Title: Headache
Label: Aurium Recordings
By: Carleton Neil | 14 March 2008
  • 1. Original Mix
  • 2. Benz & MD Remix

Nosmo "Headache"

Out Now on Aurium Recordings

Performer/producer Nosmo is a veritable phoenix from the flame. Founding member and part of what was the group Grayarea, his band quickly became the bee’s knees of electronic music. DJ sets, live performances, and featured mixes on high-profile radio shows gained them instant notoriety and many early opportunities, remixing quid-pro-quo with cinematic aesthetes Hybrid and reworking tracks like Bedrock's 'Emerald' into lush broken beats and Steve Porter's 'Vodka Cranberries' into a housey mechanical grind.

Out of the ashes and relinquishing the Grayarea moniker to other members McRae Reed and Dave Rast, Nosmo went straight to work and carved himself a niche with 'The Influence', his own show on Proton Radio; he collaborated with Kris B (with whom he worked on Grayarea's first tunes) on top-notch original productions 'Archipelago', 'School of Fish', and 'Walk Away' as well as countless remixes, and has now released a solo effort 'Headache', out on Aurium Recordings with Canadians Greg Benz and Marco Di Carlo recruited for remix duty.

Nosmo's original mix is a swirling maelstrom of reversed vocals and booming fills, amalgamating styles heard in Grayarea's productions and remixes: progressive, acidic, even near-tribal. A throbbing dual-tone bass line and the solo thwap of a drum bring the track to muffled bells that ping-pang their way through its underbelly as the delirious incoherency of a woman lamenting her migraine fades in and out like her consciousness. Nosmo's powerful, jolting fills for the chorus are a perfect complement to the snare and could practically knock you over, but right as the track is ready to open up, the fills are reigned in by prominent hats that end up overpowering the track. Stuttered vocals transform into sonic ambiance in the breakdown and sweep the track to the peak, where Nosmo busts out head-splitting acid tweaks. It's at the end where the track really comes into its own, extending the acid synths across bars and phrases and getting the chance to shift and move over the top of the percussion, but leaving plenty of space for mixability.

Benz & MD have created a more literal interpretation, forging a dizzying remix that holds true to the title of the track. Dampening the tribal nod, it begins by mixing things up in each bar with percussive swing arising from a clatter of hats and a fuzzy head-pounding kick, the track swelling melodically with temple-tightening pressure. Benz & MD make efficient use of the vocal, keeping it in the background and intertwining it among pulsating cascades of synths. It all starts to blur as deep basslines culminate with moaning sirens in a head spin chaotic enough to feel like reaching for the aspirin in the best of ways. Cohesive and complete, Benz & MD morph and twist the original track into a seamless remix.

Nosmo's production screams potential, as he's crafted sound full of character. However, the original mix is a case where the whole is not as strong as its individual parts. The mix seems to want to go spacious and spooky, and it's great when the track spills over with caustic grittiness, but the vocals and fills that try to carry you away are stymied when the hats cramp the mix, drag you back into the quantization and return you to reality. With that said, Nosmo's genre-defying original mix and Benz & MD's ability to weave a remix that is both thematic and conceptually tight still make 'Headache' worth checking out.

Music Reviews -more-