Lick My Deck’s discography reads like a who’s who of electronic music — Petre Inspirescu, STL and Thomas Melchior have all released on the label. And from the glitchy sound of [a]pendics.shuffle to the loopy Romanian sound of Barac, it also charts the genre’s main trends — always on the leftfield though, which is why you can find Chicago maverick hero Jamal Moss on one of their more recent releases, for instance. Ever dancefloor-friendly, the label yet always leans defiantly towards the abstract side of things, carving its own way off the beaten track, more interested in its own inner world than in the scene’s conventions. In its decade of activity, Lick My Deck has therefore assembled a fine bunch of likeminded daredevil funambulists, sprightly straddling the high wire linking the ethereal world to the dancefloor — doing so without a hint of pretentiousness.
Among those are Shaun Soomro, one of the label’s founders, and Mikael Stavöstrand, one of its longtime affiliates. In 2016, the pair collaborated on the Echoes of Paradise EP, a wistful affair referencing Soomro’s native West London in the same way that Burial references the UK’s storied rave history — with ghostly echoes of West London’s Caribbean and dub legacy haunting the tracks, conjuring a dreamlike world where the recollection and the fantasy become indistinguishable. In keeping with the label’s childlike spirit of playful experimentation, for their latest release the crew decided to throw these tracks in the caldron again, and to extract new hazy visions from this primordial soup: an echo of an echo — hinting at soundwaves endlessly reverberating and changing form, at the infinite possibilities lying outside of our ears’ reach.
“Street Code Symphony (W10)” is remixed by Josh Brent, better known as Schatrax. If the British producer is famous for his sometimes joyful and always bumpy bangers,
is a mood he knows as well, and he’s certainly no stranger to the
atmosphere of the original track. In other words, him remixing this track was never an obvious choice, yet it makes perfect sense. He turns in a remix that ups the ante dancefloor-wise while retaining all of the original’s lurking sense of dread. One of those tunes where euphoria and sorrow blend, faithful to the original’s definitely ambiguous tones.
On the B-side, it’s Soomro himself remixing “Paradise Lost”, a logical choice considering how the Echoes of Paradise concept is close to his heart. This time he goes for a “Warrior Trance” Revision Dub”, fully embracing the record’s origin story. The sub-bass on this one does justice to the sound system ornamenting the record, and combined to the droning tones and the searing strings, it flips the original’s atmosphere into a dreadful world. Just like the new record’s art presents a negative of the original’s palm tree-lined road with the label’s bespoke trippy artwork infiltrating its cracks, Soomro paints a recognizable but disturbing — and yet ultimately bewitching — version of “Paradise Lost”. It is a sonic rendition of dreams’ ability to confuse moods, which makes it a fitting rework for a track that was already mixing up the real and the imaginary, the past and the present.
The original record released in 2016 gained early support from the likes of
— which, if anything, shows Lick My Deck’s unique appeal in the scene — The Reworked version will be out in March. In the meantime, get lost again in Echoes of Paradise’s uncanny world.
Words by Pierre-Alexis Chauvin