A double-disc collection of covers, remixes and otherwise unreleased extras, Heavy Ghost Appendices is a companion piece to last year’s debut album by Asthmatic Kitty’s experimental solo star, DM Stith.
Heavy Ghost was a hugely impressive affair, featuring some of last year’s most exploratory and intelligent singer-songwriter material. The demo recordings here will prove to be revealing work-in-progress documents for fans of the album, with ‘Thanksgiving Moon’ and ‘BMB’ sounding great even in their early form, but beyond that you’ll hear covers of songs by David Byrne, Randy Newman and The Ronettes (‘Be My Baby’ is transformed into a spectral acoustic number sung in a choirboy falsetto), with an especially noteworthy rendition of Diane Cluck’s ‘Easy To Be Around’ that deviates from the original’s lo-fi constitution, inflating the song to vast and panicky proportions, layering lost voices, occasional distorted bass and brass.
Speaking of brass, ‘Braid Of Voices (Brass Version)’ represents one of the finest outtakes collected here, featuring Stith in a vein of form that would only reinforce the Antony Hegarty comparisons prompted by Heavy Ghost in the first place. Horns orbit around Stith’s piano and central vocal, forming a beautiful, warm halo. The whole piece is just flat-out majestic and represents a clear highlight within an inevitably disjointed playlist.
Another solid inclusion, ‘Pigs (Featuring The Jefferson Street Band)’ sounds like Tom Waits rifling around in your cutlery drawer. Moving on to the second disc, you’ll find remixers like Warp stars Clark and Bibio lining up alongside Ensemble and Son Lux, plus Asthmatic Kitty’s own Rafter.
The results vary massively, but the big names put in firm-footed showings: Clark fires up his compressors and lays down some hefty beats without treading on the song’s toes too much, while Bibio starts off beatless, spinning through guitar patterns before dispensing some crushing hip-hop drums in the final third. Arguably the most interesting contribution of the lot comes from erstwhile Bjork collaborator Ensemble who preserves a sympathetically ethereal tone throughout his beautiful ‘Braid Of Voices’ overhaul, retitled ‘In My Dreams, I Watch TV’.
Lacuna * BMB (Demo) * Easy To Be Around * Pigs (ft Jefferson Street Band) * Around The Lion Legs (Slow Dance Version) * Lacuna B * Thanksgiving Moon (Demo) * A Soft Seduction * Suzanne * Be My Baby * Braid Of Voices (Brass Version) *
I Heart Wing (ft I Heart Lung)
In My Dreams, I Watch TV (Braid Of Voices Remix) * Thanksgiving Moon (Michna Remix) * BMB (Roberto C Lange Remix) * BMB (Son Lux Remix) * Braid Of Voices (Clark Remix) * Thanksgiving Moon (Rafter Remix) * Abraham’s Song (Bibio Remix) * Thanksgiving Moon (Covered By Dayna Kurtz) * Lacuna C * Pity Dance (Actuel Remix)