Caroline McLavy emerged during a particularly fervent period of the grassroots electronic music scene. She’s graced the stage at a variety of electronic music events, including the 2017 Silicon Dreams Festival, where her emphatic vocal style and confident stage presence have struck a chord with audiences.
Her 2014 album Electrostatic managed to combine lyrical themes of anxiety, relationships and frustration with tunes that were peppered with synth hooks and emotive melodies. It was an album that managed to combine kitchen sink drama with electropop, which is always a winning combo.
Now, with new release Quasi-Static, McLavy has returned to her debut album to offer up some remixes of the tracks – some radical, some surprising, but all with a fresh approach. The talents involved are also drawn from a broad church of music styles, including the likes of Parralox, Nature Of Wires, Def Neon, Real Experts, LorD & Master and others. In fact the idea for the project has its seeds in the 2017 Synthetic City event where McLavy got chatting to Parralox’s John von Ahlen.
‘Signals’ was originally a throbbing bassy affair on Electrostatic. Under the deft hands of Def Neon, it’s given a shiny makeover here. It starts slow, but weaves in some engaging warm synths and percussion as it chugs along. Despite the new approach, it’s a remix that doesn’t dilute the original’s lyrical commentary on the conflicting signals that people can give.
Any remix delivered by the superb talents of Australian synthpop outfit Parralox is always going to be special. Here, ‘I Never Thought’ is given a floor-stomping quality that’s a radical departure from Electrostatic’s more reflective approach.
‘I’ll Take my Chances’ loses a little of its euphoric drive on the Real Experts remix. Meanwhile, Arcane offers up Balearic beats on ‘Constant Pain’, which is an interesting contrast to the crunchy dance pop of the original.
Perhaps one of the best remixes on the album is LorD & Master’s reworking of ‘Miss Perfect’. The vocals are kept front and centre, but there’s additional melodic lifts that somehow manage to give the song a fresh, dynamic quality.
Meanwhile, Nature Of Wires, rapidly becoming the go-to act for remix duties, do a powerful reworking of ‘Don’t Wanna’. There’s a muscular, brooding quality to this track with nods to dark dance beats.
The more reflective ‘This Is Not My Life’ gets a thumping reworking care of aka Baz. This club beats direction also surfaces on ‘The Calm Before the Storm’, which originally closed Electrostatic. Here, the original track gets deconstructed here by DJ Cutz to render the song in more of a drum ‘n’ bass style.
Quasi-Static offers an interesting twist on the original album which doesn’t take away from the engaging electropop of the original. Not all of the mixes featured here are going to resonate with listeners, but there’s enough quality to invite the curious to delve in.
McClavy continues to perform at events around the UK, spreading the Electrostatic material far and wide. But new songs are in the pipeline (as suggested in her interview with The Electricity Club previously) and suggests that this electropop journey is far from over.
Caroline McLavy will be performing live at: 22nd September, Synthetic City 2018 Reloaded, The Water Rats, London. 29th September, supporting Spray, The Shed, Leicester. 19th October, supporting Spray, Aatma, Manchester.
Publications that have featured his contributions include Electronic Sound, Metro, Japan Update Weekly, J-Pop Go, Wavegirl and OMD Messages.