12 O'Clock Track: Lindstrøm and Prins Thomas make Roxy Music's "Avalon" sound menacing

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The cover of the album, Avalon
  • The cover of the album Avalon
I was going to post a different recent song by Swedish techno artist Hans-Peter Lindstrøm, but in searching for the file on Soundcloud I came across this remix and had to post. The other night I was waiting on a friend at Bucktown bar the Charleston when Roxy Music's "Avalon" came on. The song's yawning keyboards, snare-rim cracks, trickling guitar, and female backup vocals sound like they belong in an interstitial Karate Kid scene. But in the dim confines of the bar it sounded excellent, especially when played on the Charleston's crisp stereo system. I'm often surprised by how much setting can change the way one perceives a song—in the case of "Avalon," how a change of venue can make a song with a tacky sense of style sound authentically stylish. Bryan Ferry's voice helps, of course.

In this remix from a couple years back Lindstrøm and frequent collaborator Prins Thomas discard most of the song in favor of stretching out the brooding, menacing intro. Instead of a martini on a yacht, the Swedes go for something out of David Byrne and Brian Eno's My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, with weird wails and echoes fluttering around steady synth-drum taps. In their version, the boat sounds like it's going downriver in Apocalypse Now, not cruising down the French Riviera. Stream both Roxy Music's original and the Lindstrøm and Prins Thomas remix below.

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