Nmesh’s 2017 release Pharma further asserted the artist as a powerful force. Using drugs and detachment as it’s focal point, the two-sided album acts as a wide-reaching landscape for signs and signals to float and dive as ghostly reconstruction. The artist’s often abrasive and explicitly freeform production style stimulates the subject matter. Simultaneously comedic, satirical, austere and awful, Nmesh’s work is the equivalent of cracking through a wall that’s been layered and lacquered with different graffiti for an eternity. You’re never quite sure what will erupt, and it feels like the narrative isn’t that aware either.
Mall Full of Drugs appears around halfway through the first side of the album. A sonic shrine to the gloriously grotesque depiction of drugs in the contemporary world, positioned directly next to the hallucinogenic quality of inebriates itself. A painfully slow ride in a sleek plastic cart through the maelstrom of preventative propaganda and on through the nucleus of a drug itself.
And now, as the curtain closes on another year in this evermore hallucinatory world, Nmesh let’s loose an array of artists to twist and superimpose whatever they may on the 9-minute song in the form of remixes. This is Drug Full of Remixes.
We start with Chaos Heart. An incisive and frantic effort as the usually slow and lethargic sounds of the source material are sped up. Excuses, goading and reprimands travel freely as a violent and swiftly moving beat attacks the listener. The song transitions into a more reserved and melodic section, slowly builds and then explodes back into the barrage of rhythm and samples as a young man shouts ‘fuck you!’. Cathartic release amidst intimidating and disorientating wonder. The song’s percussion suddenly breaks down, sounding more like violent impacts than rhythmic timekeeping, and the melodic samples float into a cold morning air.
The Galactic Hole remix begins with a more stalwart and classic dancey beat. The familiar droning pad of the source material is moulded into small jungle-esque outbursts. After a moment the track breaks down into a slower, stuttered rhythm and slowly disappears.
THUGWIDOW interjects with ghostly vocal pads and pulsing percussion samples that slowly become a mainstay. In this remix we can clearly hear the droning melody line of the original, but THUGWIDOW uses bass and frilled ethereal vocals to make the track a separate entity. As is much of the artist’s own material, the remix positions itself in an atmospheric and slightly dark place. Inspired by the dark qualities of UK underground genres, THUGWIDOW turns the lights out on Nmesh’s slightly playful track. A heavy bassline works alongside the drum loop to supply movement. At the back end of the song, we hear the artist’s style pushed to the fore.
Edgar Blassia‘s remix starts with deep bass rumbles peppered with what sounds like some robotic Michael Jackson spitting digitised plosives into the air. A steady lethargic beat starts. Random vocal lines and tunes swirl in the periphery. The activity fades, and a glorious ethereal voice brings us into a natural setting, fit with flowing water and birdsong. Detached completely from the source material, Edgar’s remix inches forward timidly, shedding tiny bits of Nmesh’s original. Another downtempo beat starts, shivering pads pulse as a whispered voice begins to talk in the darkness. The sludgy beat slowly pitters away. Edgar turns an often violent song into an easygoing beat.
Traxman’s high as hell remix uses the samples Nmesh collected perfectly. We hear an argument between an authority figure asking someone who taught them how to take drugs, with that younger person shouting that they learnt it by watching the adult or guardian. With every break bringing about the hypnotic sample ‘turn on, turn on, turn on’. Traxman’s percussive effort is wild, giving the remix an organic and live feel. The artist cycles through some of the spoken samples before a shaking bass erupts through the void left by the beat.
Ursula’s Cartridge combines ghostly vocal samples with a sample of an extra terrestrial introducing a human to different types of drugs. At this point, the album has almost become a genre in itself. Nmesh may have created Drugwave! Ursula Cartridge’s steady beat gives a great opportunity for a myriad of rhythms to be injected. A minor synth line keeps things feeling spooky, a smoky, intimidating aura thrives in the midst of cold beats and drug talk. The artist introduces a stable bassline and an even more rudimentary beat, fit with squeaking hits. That disappears and a squelching, patient bassline takes prominence. It feels as if the artist may be buying some time, creating anticipation. We move back into the heady drum sequence, a synth line squirms and swirls above us, everything feels a sickly green. Like we’ve stayed in the tent too long and it’s time to go home. We try to leave but are snatched back in by a the fullest and most piercing percussion yet. The track turns into an atavistic acid rave. Similarities to The Prodigy and Rufige Kru are eerily relevant, even though the beat is fairly slow. A devilish laugh leaves us dazed on the floor.
The original makes an appearance at this point. The unique skill of each of the artists collected makes it feel as though it’s another remix, but here we find the fantastic muse. Nmesh controls the dial on the Wurlitzer, he controls what we see on the huge screens that surround us. He controls whether we see ‘potheads’ from some grotesque American flick, or an austere clip from a British educational video warning about the dangers of drugs. He controls the speed, the mood and the time we are allowed to exit. Do we laugh? Do we cry? Do we throw up? Nmesh’s production style makes us want to do everything all at the same time.
VHS MIDNIGHT STYLE‘s remix brings a sleek Drum & Bass quality to the source material. The artist lays a fast-paced and chattering rhythm over the top of chirping samples and voices that swirl around the stereo field. VHS MIDNIGHT STYLE’s methodology is one of abrasive and invasive percussion, the drums clatter against each other as more melodic elements sound behind the dense sound. Over halfway through we hear a vocal sample in a style typical of modern UK-based movements such as Jungle and Garage. This brings us into a section where the artist diverts into their own style more fully.
Rebuilt by Humanoid’s addition to the album consists of sibilant and slow-moving percussion. Fragments of synth samples sound at either end of each beat, giving the track an intimidating sound. The rhythm moves at its own pace, but is by no means minimalistic. Small intricate details fill the track with a great deal to be picked apart by the listener. A heavy bassline gives the track a more stalwart structure in the second half, alongside more arbitrary percussive elements. Its hard to pick out samples from Nmesh’s original, but this reimagining has the distinct feeling of delving deep into a cold and unwelcoming den. The ending brings pulsing waves of sound, alongside a cold wind and birdsong. Maybe we have made it out into the early morning light, the chattering remnants of sound buzz like the ebbing of a powerful high.
A heavy bass drum heralds the start of .mp3Neptune‘s remix. Chirping synth sounds arpeggiate up and down in a random formation. The beat builds gradually, like a large machine slowly gaining traction and momentum. It disappears for a while, leaving a myriad of sounds to hover around the space. The bass drum begins again, pinning down the many layers of the track with a deep and long rumble. A bass rears its head in between the strikes of the rhythm, aspects of the track continue to fizz and shoot in every direction. It almost feels as though the track will never fully release its full intensity. All of a sudden .mp3Neptune unleashes a huge, gabber-esque rhythm laying waste to carefully constructed sound. The artist throws just about every heavy-set percussion available, as if the music we are listening to is our cognitive function desperately fighting back against an oncoming nightmare trip.
Listen in full/download here: https://nmesh.bandcamp.com/album/drug-full-of-remixes