Photo: Dan Reid
Four years in the making, Sasha's second album in his Involver series was, well, more involved than the average mix CD. To create the perfect flow with the other tracks, he reworked the likes of Thom Yorke, Ladytron and Apparat and produced three originals for Invol2ver (Global Underground). Case in point: While he and his production team (including Charlie May, Leo Leite, Barry Jamieson, Duncan Forbes and Andrew Souter) were remixing Yorke, they realized it was in the same key as M83's “Couleurs,” so they took that cue to mesh the two. Below, Sasha relays some behind-the-scenes stories on 10 perfect tracks that inspired the making of and even made it onto Invol2ver in some form. — Kylee Swenson
Burial, “Distant Lights”
This track took us on a mad rampage of ideas and experimentation, which would eventually leak into everything on the album. Charlie May and Leo Leite did tons of field recordings throughout the year, leaving us with a huge urban library of New York life. First came “Coma” for our first Emfire release, then Charlie May's “Midnight.” We knew that it was going to end up slipping into something dirty, dark and almost claustrophobic-sounding.
Engineers, “Sometimes I Realise”
Barry Jamieson grew up with these boys, so we had a good chance of getting something new and unreleased. The record label sent us a new album they recorded two years earlier. The track “Sometimes I Realise” had a huge appeal. With its hypnotic vocals, droning rock and huge chorus, we knew this track would close the album.
The Field, “Over the Ice”
The loopy-based editing gives it a techno edge that stands out. We experimented with this approach with Ladytron. The elements you can pull from parts by moving and offsetting loops gives you endless textures and rhythms, which work great at building tension. We usually start remixing by seeing what we can salvage and manipulate from the original. This would include using Metasynth on the Mac and Fruity Loops on the PC.
Minilogue, “The Leopard”
This has always been a big record for me. The sound of the mix and the way it builds and develops is really something: It's so warm and full, and the dirt and fuzz in this record give it an old and beautiful character. It helped to push us in the right direction, and we went back to old ideas using all analog gear and guitar pedals.
Moby, “New York, New York” (Radio Slave Remix)
Radio Slave made a monster out of this record. Its groove and arpeggiated riff pull you in and won't let you go. Then the huge sound that screams out of the speakers knocks the wind out of you. We pushed Home Video's “That You Might” in a similar direction. With a 303 bass line and a tight deep groove, this track seemed to write itself. The vocal from this tune was a tough part to get to work within the vibe of where we wanted to take this track, but in the end, a lot of mangling and sleepless nights got us to a hypnotic end result.
Adam Parker, “High Life”
Adam's original is such a great song. We approached it in a few different ways, which were working really well. Unfortunately, as had happened on the first Involver, we couldn't get the vibe to fit within the context of the album. But we had another track we had been working on that was in the same key, and the vibe was really cool. So we messed with parts of Adam Parker to see if any of it would work — the end result being “Lowlife.”
Radiohead, “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi”
Getting the chance to remix Thom Yorke's “The Eraser” was a highlight of the album. After hearing Radiohead's “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi,” we knew it had to be a pinnacle moment. Radiohead's ability to give so much to a track that it takes you somewhere different every time you hear it was what we were trying to find on “The Eraser.” It had to be challenging, from its sounds, textures and structure to elements that would make it shine. And coming out of M83's “Couleurs” made it a huge moment.
Swayzak, “Smile and Receive” (Apparat Remix)
This has been a staple of my sets for over a year. It's a spacey, driving record that never fails a crowd. The way the vocals are used is really creative: With the same principle, we layered many different treatments of the Apparat vocal on “Arcadia” [from Invol2ver]. We ended up with almost 15 different tracks of messed-up and effected vocals throughout the track that morphed in and out, giving us a never-ending swirl of textures.
Telefon Tel Aviv, “You Are the Worst Thing in the World”
We stumbled on this track through Pitchforkmedia.com. This track was such a great opener for Invol2ver. It helped to set the tone for what was to come. Grand National's “Talk Amongst Yourselves” was similar in many ways (on the first Involver). It had so much potential to become an Ibiza Space summer classic that it felt only right to push Telefon Tel Aviv in the same direction.
Francesco Tristano, “The Melody” (Balil Mix)
As soon as I heard this mix, I knew it was a sound I wanted throughout the album — pure old-school 808 and 909 grooves with a classic techno edge from yesteryear. The sound of this mix is so pure and alive-sounding. Each part has its rightful place. With M83's “Couleurs,” we tried to find a balance of old and new. With the classic sound to the original version, we had to take it up a notch to make it huge. All the song's original parts were analog, so it felt only right to develop this sound further.