Released: April 2022
Hiatus Kaiyote have allowed their awe-inspiring 2021 album ‘Mood Valiant’ to be reworked by a host of remixers, breathing new life into these already perfectly progressive songs. By placing these complicated works into the hands of outside minds, ‘Mood Variant’ preserves the spirit of each track whilst rematerializing them.
A remix takes on the pre-established boundaries of a song and contorts it into something entirely new; the remixer deftly figuring out how to cut and sew the fabric of one piece of music into another without it feeling awkward. For 'Mood Variant' the collaborators invited are so expert that the seeds they plant within the originals germinate whole new environments. The result is one of the most surprising and delightful projects of the year, seamlessly spanning genres and moods whilst graciously exhibiting the individual talents of each remixer.
‘Mood Variant’ has remixed all but 3 of the original album tracks, and opens with Stro Elliot’s softly-layered impression on cozy album finale ‘Blood And Marrow’. Followed by Georgia Anne Muldrow’s take on the Arthur Verocai collaboration 'Get Sun', in which her re-imagined version completely subverts the original harmonies through the re-imagined chords beneath including brilliantly twisted vocal additions from Georgia Anne herself.
The third track ‘Chivalry Is Not Dead’ has been reworked by one of the most avant-garde artists of the moment - Brainfeeder’s Salami Rose Joe Louis. Her take is arguably one of the most far-flung on the project, transforming the rattling live sound and punchy heart of the original into a scurrying analog bubblebath. Stones Throw’s prodigal son Mndsgn exhibits a more downtempo sound on his re-working of ‘Sparkle Tape Break Up’ - utilizing his trademark West Coast squelching synth sound and inflections of dub and psychedelia that veers far from the melancholic tension of the original. ‘Sip Into Something Soft’ which in its original form is the sonic equivalent of a flower unfolding towards the sun in the advent of spring, is transformed by fellow Brainfeeder artist Teebs into an ambient masterpiece that showcases singer Nai Palm’s unspoiled vocal superbly, as it becomes the only moving line in a sea of strings, synth pads, and sound design.
'Mood Variant' answers that question of what the core of a remix album is with an excellent collection of tracks that add new stories to the abstractly-shaped building Hiatus Kaiyote built previously. It takes the virtuosic, ambitious style of neo-soul they crafted on 'Mood Valiant' and explores what that adventurousness means to different people, all ten remixes distinct from one another and never repeating an idea twice, giving a sneak peek into the future of Hiatus Kaiyote's music if they choose to chase any of these sounds in the future. By its own merit, 'Mood Variant' is a fantastic collection of tracks that gives a sample of artists you may be hearing for the first time, their hearts revealed to you through the one part they play. These songs are as passionate as anything else the band has done thus far, not letting the music drift off easy just because they're remixes. In putting the same pressure to elevate things that they do with their original music, Hiatus Kaiyote adds another gem to their discography. 'Mood Variant' seeks the same euphoria the rest of their music does, and that expedition to provoke and engage couldn't possibly fail.