Live Review: Rebel Yell's 'REWORKS' EP is a lesson in self-reflection

18 December 2018 | 11:17 am | Michael Stratford Hutch

Brisbane producer REBEL YELL has followed-up on the June release of debut album Hired Muscle with her REWORKS EP. Recorded with Jonathon Hochman and mixed and mastered by good friend Phoebe Twigg (Ptwiggs), REWORKS interpolates four singles from Hired Muscle as club versions of their original selves. Created with DJs in mind, the EP will also allow Rebel Yell to extend her sets into DJ territory as well.

Rebel Yell’s signature acid-tinged industrial techno is only magnified through the editing process—where ‘High Authority’ in it’s album form was indeed gritty and powerful, the REWORKS version of the song takes its abrasive potential to the next level. Immense 4/4 kickdrum and chopped samples from the original permeate the mix, creating a march-like, headbanging feel. A prominent acid bass lick at times adds an element of liquidity which contrasts well with the solidity of the percussion. Looking at the track as a DJ tool only strengthens its appeal, with a utility that will surely find it slipped into some banger sets in the very near future.

Where the original version of 'Next Exit' was a haven of distorted acid, the REWORKS version takes this original and basically levels it the heck up. Adding a bigger emphasis on the percussion, the reworked version is dominated by that same crunchy acid line, but is accentuated with a pulsing bassline, a crisp hi-hat and a punchy kick.

Plug into the latest music with our FREE weekly newsletter

'Human Transaction' is moved to a more quantised, less melodic take on the track. Dotted by those same vocal samples that hauntingly move in and out of the original, the rework places the vocal into more of a melodic context, using it to drive the instrumental forward. It's definitely a heavier approach, with that initial kick dominating the soundscape throughout the entirety of the track.

And to close out the EP of reimagined works from Rebel Yell, comes her track 'Toxic', one of the most abrasive and intense from the record. The rework sees her cut down the fuzz and bring in some crisp new mastering to the percussion and the vocal line too to add a new club-ready dimension to it. The intensity doesn't falter however, with Rebel Yell finding new ways to bring this one into a different kind of club context without sacrificing what it was that made the original so captivating.

The art of the edit is a tricky one to get right, particularly when approaching your own work—it can be hard to hear new directions when you’re so familiar with a track’s ins and outs. That being said, Rebel Yell has navigated this difficulty well and has injected new energies into her work, maintaining a core sensibility while starting off in a new, harder direction.

Photo by Anita Shao