The German experimental Electronica duo Beefcake are back with this new EP entitled "Hôte". The EP contains four new original songs (entitled "Hôte 1", "Hôte 2" and so on) and one remix version of each one of them, made by Displacer, Electronicat, Dither and Venetian Snares. There is also one bonus remix track by Zoviet France, although which song is being remixed is rather unclear but that is also rather unimportant.
Those familiar with Beefcake's earlier releases will probably recognise the sound, or rather, the complex fusion of lots of sounds. The band's creative use of voice samples and piano is somewhat of a trademark and we find plenty of that here. Each of the four original songs have their own unique style, which makes this EP a very multifaceted release. The remixes, which are also very different from one another and of high quality all together, add even more variation. This is definitely not a CD, that will become boring after only a few listenings. "Hôte 1" is a slow, atmospheric and quite laid-back piece where the main elements are a simple piano melody and some light clicks'n'cuts sounding rhythms. The remix made by Displacer adds a more steady and prominent beat to the track. "Hôte 2" is an energetic drum'n'bass track with furious, slightly broken, beats. This is tied together with the first one by incorporating the same piano loop. The Electronicat remix has a more simple, distorted rhythm that turns the track somewhat closer to Rhythmic Noise. "Hôte 3" is a slow, moody electronica piece with deep, lazy beats. This one is atmospheric in a dark, unsettling way, rather than the light and spacey atmosphere of "Hôte 1". Dither is a perfect choice for doing the remix of this track. It has a different rhythm, not as deep and less structured. The atmosphere is also different, less dark and a bit more noisy. "Hôte 4" is a chaotic piece with broken beats and a multitude of weird noises and voice samples constituting a background that is both confusing and hypnotic at the same time. The Venetian Snares remix is an insane composition of hysterical beats. The pace is increased, but also the dynamic rhythm structure. The beats constantly changes from fast and pounding to slow, almost non-existant. The Zoviet France remix is the most disparate track off this EP. The minimal arrangement consists of clicks and scratches that slowly, together with a treated piano and a fleeting, ambient drone, build up an atmosphere. It is not as accessible as most of the other tracks, but it is very nice and meditative and just what you need after the sonic onslaught of the "Crazy Funky remix" of Venetian Snares just before.
It is hard to pick out any favourites, since all songs are good in such different manners. I have the feeling that I will have different favourites at different times. This is a record that will continue to grow on you for a long time and you will find new things in the songs that you didn't think of at first. "Hôte" is a very exciting listening experience and the great variation of the tracks makes it useful in many circumstances. I think it will also strengthen Beefcake's reputation as one of the top acts within experimental Electronica. If you are already into Beefcake, you will love this. If you haven't heard them yet, "Hôte" is a great place to start.