Royal Dust is the latest pseudonym of Venezuelan musician Miguel Toro, a multi-talented percussionist and producer who has previously put out records on the likes of Moon Harbour Recordings, Cadenza and Mobilee. Spring 2013 saw the release of his eponymously titled debut album; an impressive eight-track odyssey that joins the dots between contemporary jazz and leftfield dance-music.
Rather unfairly, given Toro’s solid reputation and the merits of the album itself, the record failed to get the public attention it deserved, making little impact on its release. Thankfully, Haunt Music have commissioned a remix package that, bringing on board big name producers, looks set to bring Toro’s recent work to the attention of a wider audience.
On the A-side Ricardo Villalobos tackles the track Royal. In what must be one of the few occasions where the original version is longer than Villalobos remix, the Chilean producer offers an unshowy yet innovative take on the track. Taking the original’s sax-line and adding an unnervingly unchanging psychedelic bassline, it’s eight minutes of sustained tension that is only slightly relieved by the occasional tinkling cymbal. Rather than building to a magnificent crescendoing conclusion, the track instead melts into a thick glop of electronic squelches and field recordings. Keeping firmly in-line with the jazzy-electronica spirit to Royal Dust’s work, it is a fitting companion to the album that successfully channels the idiosyncrasies of both the original artist and remixer.
Paul Frick, of Brandt Bauer Frick Ensemble, takes a more upfront approach with his remix, transforming the gently swinging Truco into a track that has one eye on the dance-floor. Gone are the meditative strings, keys and chimes of the original, instead we have six-minutes of shifting electronic rhythms, muscular drums and colourful synthlines. Yet, somehow it doesn’t quite work. With something of a split personality, the track aspires to be a piece of freeform electronica and a functional club track at the same time. Whilst you can’t fault the ambition, the remix lacks the focus to work on the dancefloor and is devoid of the playfulness that made the original so charming.