Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Each and every Friday we offer songs by local artists. Today’s selection, featured on the Morning Show with John Richards, is the Animal Collective remix of “Love Like A Sunset” by Phoenix from the 2009 Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (Remix Collection) on Glassnote.
I was feeling pretty good about myself — confident with where I was at in my life and my overall competence as a human being — that is, until I started researching French pop outfit Phoenix. Sure, I’d heard of these four bloaks and their electro indie meets classical groove sound, and even saw their record 3-song performance on the all-defying career make-it-or-break-it, Saturday Night Live. But honestly, anyone whose rise to fame involves goddess-director Sofia Coppola (she used “Too Young” from their debut United in Lost In Translation), backing Air on tour, and playing in a band with the twosome who would later become Daft Punk (guitarist Laurent Brancowitz played with de Homem-Christo and Bangalter) will forever be cooler, smarter and more remarkable than I could ever hope to be.
But enough feeling sorry for myself, Phoenix deserves every ounce of glory they’ve collected over the years. Growing up as childhood friends with band mates in Versailles, Mars (who ended up marrying Coppola) set himself up for wild success when he saw through the beauty of his home city to its bleak musical reality as a “place without a soundtrack.” Phoenix wasted know time and with the release of their forth album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, I think it’s safe to say the French city’s need of synchronized recorded sound is satisfied.
Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is all around more layered and complex than the foursome’s last three records, which isn’t surprising considering what went into writing it. After moving to a 19th century Romantic painter’s studio, a charted houseboat, and New York City’s Bowery Hotel, Phoenix sought inspiration in Paris. There they stayed at friend and producer Philippe Zdar’s recording studio where he produced the album over the course of one and a half years: the first time the four recruited outside help.
Aside from a Grammy nomination and media magnetism, the album set the perfect foundation for remixability. Built from eight underlying songs, artists like Passion Pit, Soft Pack and Friendly Fires blended, twisted and distorted versions of “1901,” “Lisztomania,” “Fences” and more to create Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (Remix Collection). Animal Collective’s take on the beautiful, transient “Love Like A Sunset, Pt. 2″ is by far the crown jewel of the record. With all their signature tribalized extraterrestrial sound, Animal Collective extends Part 2 into a four minute resonate, formless daydream. Mars vocals pace back and forth, in and out, beginning and sustaining the entrancement of what will become loops, reverb and pressure of piano, twinkle and drums that will tingle your brain and body. I only wish the two bands could create a full collaborative album or better yet, become touring buddies.
If you missed Phoenix at the Wamu Theatre on December 15, no worries, because they’re coming back to the Showbox SoDo January 23. In the meanwhile, check out more of Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix with a stripped down version of “1901” live on KEXP in the Cutting Room Studios NYC: