Everybody Listen! “Sleepwalking – Refurbished”

Welcome to The Underground (or Notes from the Underground if you’re a Dostoyevsky nerd), a new weekly segment in which I examine the very best in unsigned, undiscovered and underground music. It’s my goal to highlight and hopefully promote talented artists who have yet to receive the attention they deserve. If you know a band or artist you think should be featured on The Underground, tweet me their info @AnOrangeFellow.

Well, this certainly came as a surprise. Here I was, ready to publish this week’s The Underground about chiptune music (or whatever!), when My Jerusalem come and release a bandcamp album full of remixes of one of their songs, done by humble folks like you and I. I guess my gameboy music will have to wait until next week…

Yes, “Sleepwalking – Refurbished” is, as you would expect, an album full of different versions of the song “Sleepwalking” from My Jerusalem’s great LP “Gone for Good”. You may think an album full of different versions of the same some would grow tiresome, but it really doesn’t. Now, this may in part be due to my, ahem, “affiliation” with the band (I think they’re super cool), but I also think it says a lot about the talent of the collaborators on the album. There’s a hell of a lot of variation on the album, from more traditional “add drum beat and record scratches” remixes to really creative stuff. It’s fair to say “Refurbished” gets a lot of mileage from a single song. It’s an album that’s actually really refreshing to listen to, especially if you were already a fan of the band (as you should be).

The reinventions of the song also gave me a new found respect for the original. I feel I rather stupidly never paid attention to the lyrics of the song, which in all fairness are quite clever, and the pacing of the song overall is quite good. It’s a shame it took slowed-down versions of the piece for me to realise that. That’s not to say I think every remix brings something vital to the equation. There’s a death metal version of the song that just doesn’t work at all, and I think the only reason it exists is because in the original song Jeff Klein shouts a bit. There’s also a ukulele version of the song which I think may be just a bit too cutesy for its own good, though it’s not overtly annoying or anything.

All the remixes are at the very least interesting though. There’s a lot of creativity and talent on the remix album, and I’m glad that so many underground artists got to flex their inventive muscles on this release. The Alpha-Consumer Rewrite, Dosh remix and charmingly titled Steve Cobby Re-Fuck work wildly different electronic styles into the song, each one working, but in its own unique way. Matthew Ryan delivers a long, drawn-out, almost shoegazey interpretation of the song that makes an interesting centrepiece on the record. What Made Milwaukee Famous offer a strange, fragmented of the song that feels like switches are being flipped throughout its runtime, moving the song into different “modes”. It’s really good stuff. There are also more traditional versions of the song, such as Jarod Gorbel’s acoustic version of the song, which acts as a nice introduction to the remixes, and the wonderful harmonica-infused Frank Smith version of the song.

Of course, I would be remiss not to mention the final version of the song, adequately titled “Skew Ruins Sleepwalking”. It’s a weird, detached, fragmented, ugly non-song that makes no real sense on the album. I love it. It’s perfect. What? My pretentious little bio thing when you click my name isn’t lying, I genuinely love this version of the song. I love that it exists and I love that it’s the last song on the album. It’s a brilliant, daring send-off to a heartfelt, creative record.

You can listen to and purchase “Sleepwalking – Refurbished” at your own dang price here.

You can Like My Jerusalem on Facebook here.

Learn more about the band at their website here.

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