Western Jaguar’s Remixes and Covers – Review

Western Jaguar is a Vancouver based artist whose most recent LP Wayfarer has been hailed as singular and interesting, a kind of dream pop/atmospheric rock record. The man has a few projects to his name and a reputation for sonic exploration; his musical endeavors having in common these myriad-levelled meditations and dialogues through sound. He’s also known for his covers and remixes of songs by indie formations Foals, Phoenix, Thru Colorado and Bon Iver. Western Jaguar’s revisiting of these bands is in line with his motto as an artist; no matter the track, he’ll take it a step further, he’ll twist it around, distend it so as to not miss a running crumb.

10356270_534721606628782_1860683840420880420_nHis remix of “Tryin’ to be Cool” by French indie rock band Phoenix becomes more melancholic under Western Jaguar’s stripping down to the studs approach, and the song resonates with novel intensity, and in its deft nuances proves a far cry from the original. In the case of “Reeling “by Vancouver native ambient/alternative indie band Thru Colorado, Western Jaguar enrobes it in a dense fog, a shroud of mystery and orneriness. Here such themes as travel and alienation resound with particular force.

Western Jaguar’s covers of Bon Iver’s “Holocene” and Foals’ “Late Night” are minimalist and softer in scope. His take of “Late Night” dispenses with guitars and proves to be infinitely more monochromatic than the original is, choosing to concentrate on one emotional facet and not launch into the heated crescendo as composed by Foals. Here again, it is clear Western Jaguar picks out what he’s the most partial to and zooms in on it, stretches it out so the rawness is felt tenfold. Western Jaguar’s exercise is one of fragmentation and reassembling. Under his paradigm, songs take on new lives, new energies, are wholly reconfigured so as to recount almost different stories.

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