True love is sometimes based on a false image: People fall in love with the idea of what someone is—what they want their true love

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Fakin' it

Production duo Kruder and Dorfmeister bring on the smoke and mirrors.

True love is sometimes based on a false image: People fall in love with the idea of what someone is—what they want their true love to be. The same can be true of music, when songs serve as the soundtrack to a particular moment in life, but only on a personal level. So a chilly love song may evoke happy memories, but in the end, it's still a chilly love song.

The music of Austrian producers Peter Kruder and Richard Dorfmeister works on listeners in much the same way. The duo remixes famous and not-so-famous tracks, reshaping them into the musical equivalent of smoke and mirrors.

Kruder and Dorfmeister

ARO.space, Sunday, February 28

Since 1993, K&D have been known for their classy DJing style, but it wasn't till '96 that audiences got a taste of the duo's sublime touch on originals with G-Stoned. This four-song teaser displayed their knack for filtering richly enhanced sounds through their various influences—jazz and jungle, hip-hop and dub.

You could hear these eclectic sounds in the two producers' DJ set last Sunday at ARO.space, as salsa records rubbed shoulders with modern breaks and deep house. The duo only paused to play their own tracks twice: opening with their remix of "Rollin' on Chrome" by Aphrodelics, and closing with the original "High Noon."

Over the years, K&D have become highly sought-after as remixers by everyone from Madonna to U2 to David Bowie (they turned down the last two), but they have yet to release a full-length of original material. Instead, we have the new record Kruder Dorfmeister: The K&D Sessions, which collects the duo's finest remix work from the last few years. You'll see many of the same adjectives repeated when reading about these tracks: hazy, smoky, austere, floaty, dreamy. Perhaps one word that may be mentioned, but cannot be stressed enough, is brilliant. Because Kruder and Dorfmeister don't so much remix others' work as re-create it in their own unmistakable image. Few other artists are able to produce such consistently fascinating results. (Portishead is one of them; each of its songs is similar almost to a fault—undeniably, impossibly, perfectly Portishead.)

How does the duo choose which songs to remix? "You want to listen to that track three years later and you want to like it," Richard Dorfmeister explains. "If you're doing it for the money, it's not the right approach anyway. We don't do just anything—we want to deliver something that's good forever. We want to do good music for other people."

K&D have "done good music" for artists as diverse as Bomb the Bass, Roni Size, Depeche Mode, and Bone Thugs and Harmony (!). Like Midas, everything the duo touches turns to gold—whether it's Count Basic's lean "Speechless"—remade on The K&D Sessions into a mean drum and bass weapon that slinks and slides with sinewy ease through intricate beats—or Lamb's "Trans Fatty Acid," a competent, if uninspired song that becomes a temperamental wanderer, roaming from dubby sadness to jazz-jungle glee. "Nobody ever says they don't like the mix," Dorfmeister notes.

Not surprisingly, K&D remixes are often better—and better-known—than the original tunes. This is true for Size's "Heroes," which Kruder retells as a dub fairy tale, decked out with new bass and echoing spaces that turn vocalist Onalee into the Princess Bride herself. Under Kruder and Dorfmeister's fingers, Depeche Mode's music becomes cool but not cold, developing a subtlety not heard before. In the ultimate act of musical deconstruction, the producers will sometimes remix their own work.

With the delectable Bomb the Bass tune "Bug Powder Dust," the duo weaves a song like finely spooled silk—the rap rolls and rollicks over the beats, themselves caramelized with moody keys and spooky reverb. Hip-hop has never sounded so luxurious. It's so luxurious that you'll never seek out the original, for fear that it might ruin your (false) image of it. A sort of musical ignorance, if you will—blissful, blissed-out, and willfully stoned.

 
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