Temples – Sun Restructured
At the dawn of the music calendar, psychedelic rock awakened from its antecedent glories in the transcendence of British band Temples. Their debut album Sun Structures was a commercial triumph that bought psychedelic vibes to the smartphone generation. To some degree it was critically successful, with praise aimed at the precision of their ability to mimic the melodic monovoice tones, the East Asian undercurrent and the soft steady pacing of drums associated with the mid-60s genre. Having an album sleeve that resembles Who’s Next also added to the nostalgia.
However, many listeners were left disappointed with Temples’ impersonation, with criticism mainly aimed at its polished overproduction that disregarded the raw, experimental and free nature of psychedelic rock. Therefore releasing a modification seems necessary.
DJ Beyond The Wizard Sleeve (BTWS) seemed like the ideal candidate for the challenge of enhancing Temples’ vision, having already refurbished other tracks from psychedelic principled artists MGMT and Tame Impala.
Early signs on Sun Restructured make it obvious that BTWS intends to dilute the commercial appeal, initially by removing the friendliness in favour of an extended progressive wave of sound that inhabits Pink Floyd and George Martin tendencies, especially on Sun Structure. Like most remixes, he likes to focus on one distinctive element from the original, whether it’s the vocal content in Shelter Song or the drum patterns of A Question Isn’t Answered and squeeze its potential by repeating and stretching that sound across the majority of the mix. A good example is the excessive stripping away of cider-advertising Keep in the Dark, until it becomes just a harp and a sitar.
This risky strategy sometimes goes so far that the source is alienated and becomes pointlessly unrecognisable, like in Colours in Life, which barely has a relation to the first version.
BTWS is hyper-aware that psychedelic rock is heavily influenced by an Indian flavour of instrumentation, from sitars to swarmandals, and he exploits this nature a bit too repetitively across every track that it becomes predictable. He does succeed, though, in bringing out certain psychedelic tendencies missed by the band in the original album, including the effective use of the controversial backmasking technique, extended reverberation, fuzzier guitars, an atmospheric blend of synthesisers and an overall less restricted composition.
It’s not the perfect solution to authenticating Temples’ lust for psychedelic status, but at least experimentation was a golden rule of the 60s generation.
Matt Taylor Hobbs
Sun Restructured was released on 10th November 2014, for further information or to order the album visit here.
Watch the video for Keep in the Dark here: