The Sanctum is back and active after a whole month of serious summer vacation and inactivity. With batteries fully charged and a reinforced will to survive another year of 9-5 capitalism, let’s pick a couple of new and intriguing releases to spend some creative time with. This week we’ll cover something new plus something we know -in a way-, starting with the latter. It was spring of 2021 when I was discovering Arhkota’s world through his magical LP ‘Dreamy Hamilton’ which, apparently was meant to get heavily retouched in the remix album we are elaborating on today. So, Dreamy Hamilton – Remixes, let’s go!
The journey begins with ‘In My Head’ once more, but the music takes a complete -180 degree- turn, departing from the brightness of the original. The vibe is still haunting, however this time, the atmosphere feels heavy and goth instead of dreamy. Arhkota is creating a mysterious, eerie universe, experimenting with empty space and the impact that various factors can have in it. If there ever was a 5% of pop character in this track, it’s now completely drowned into the reverb, through a deconstructive, lawless approach.
Same goes for the homonymous -Sanctum favourite- ‘Dreamy Hamilton’, touched by Oneironautics, where distorted, chopped vocals echo over lo-fi percussion and catatonic instrumentation forming abstract melodies that feel unsettling and ever-transforming. Here you’ll find sounds that resemble cries of undiscovered species of the darkest of oceans making the experience feel wondrous and bizarre enough to make you think ‘What’s the story? What’s the end?’. That exact sense is successfully expressed through the exquisite performance of Lubna Maher.
And then, a bulky bass is making love to a faded, electronic kick-snare in ‘Anxious Butterflies’, remixed by Fax, where time has stopped and, if it wasn’t for the beat setting the pace, we’d be floating into the terrifying vastness of outer space. The track sounds erotic in an extraterrestrial way and a bit spine-tingling at the same time. Now, the following ‘Crystal Candles for Magical Days’, for me, was one of the most unforgettable closures back then, still is, this time placed little before the end of the album. Its 8-minute length seems to work better this time, considering the listener is only in the middle of the journey, still hungry for the awkward, erratic beauty Arhkota has to offer.
This remix by Kathia Rudametkin is not far from the original and a throwback to 2021’s version will convince you. I’m still supporting the statement: ‘Sounds like Massive Attack having a séance about the night, magic and full moons’ because it’s still most accurate.
A second remix of the homonymous track comes from Dream Comet, giving a Moderat-ish vibe from the very first seconds thanks to the minimal percussion and synth choices. This one takes the concept of absence even further than its predecessors and the mood is somehow lighter for the most part. Closing with ‘In Your Head’, remixed by SUBXET, we are introduced with the most confusing and upbeat moment of the album. Electronic elements together with organic keys dance over chaotic, hasty beats and fragmented vocals into a neurotic mix that will leave you completely drained. One truly electrifying piece that manages to shake both the mind and body. For the above reasons, this remix -brutally- sets itself apart from the previous, ethereal tracks and brings a completely different viewpoint to the table. Like the remix that comes as a bonus at the end of a non-remix album. What an unexpected turn of events!
In Dreamy Hamilton – Remixes, Arhkota is selflessly laying his experimental, dream pop pieces into the palms of a handful of skilled creatives that elevate his celestial sound to whole new skies with respect to the artist's style and vision. And that should be the main principle of every remix album. Gail, Oneironautics, Fax, Kathia Rudametkin and SUBXET get a round of applause from the Sanctum for expanding an already unique and memorable journey that the blog is proud to have covered. Twice!
Original Dreamy Hamilton review: