With a sound that combines the wraith-like musical patterns of Les Savy Fav with the overcast moodiness of late-era Fugazi, Long Beach, California’s the Valley Arena might not immediately come across as the best remix candidates. Then again, the first rule of conventions is that they’re meant to be defied, which is exactly what DJ Chris Alfaro a.k.a. Free the Robots does in his remix of “Kick at the Ceiling.”
Under the Robots’ hand, the prickly guitars and expressive drumming that give “Ceiling” its punch are pushed to the background and replaced with psych-tinged bass and faint free-jazz keyboards. The production isn’t sonically far off from the same hazy sound explored on the Wu-Tang Clan’s 8 Diagrams, and it only adds levels of drama and anxiety to singer/guitarist Warren Woodward’s lyrical detailing of doctors with “cold hands and medical scissors” and “a woman with small breasts and big expectations.” Bad trips have never truly sounded so good. The Valley Arena’s second long-player, Sesso.Vita, is out now via the Kansas City, Missouri-based label, Anodyne Records.
Now Hear This: The Valley Arena – “Kick at the Ceiling (Free the Robots Remix)” DOWNLOAD MP3