‘Something gained from being rearranged’, review: ‘Already, Rearranged’, Bess Atwell

Initially, fans of Brighton singer-song writer Bess Atwell might feel apprehensive towards her new remix EP, ‘Already, Rearranged’. It’s hard to imagine how a reinvented, electrified version might maintain the indie-folk magic of the original album, ‘Already, Always’. After listening to the new EP, however, many minds will surely be put at easy. The experimental tracks craft a subtle new kind of magic, one that hovers like a celestial cloak over Atwell’s previous discography.

If, despite BBC Radio 6’s and Spotify’s best efforts, and you have somehow missed her previous work, Atwell can be summarised as effortless expert of indie-folk. Released with Lucy Rose’s Communion imprint Real Kind Records, ‘Already, Always’ is dense with ruminative lyrics, warm acoustics and ethereal harmonies. It’s, as YUCK put it, ‘a softly folkloric dreamscape’. So, when Atwell started trickling out wired preview tracks from ‘Already, Rearranged’, she begged the question – how do you remix a folkloric dreamscape?

Bess Atwell

Atwell’s answer? With the help of a few friends. The track features the likes of Igor Haefeli (guitarist of folk three-piece Daughter), ambient dark-pop band Chartreuse and the UK’s other folk singer-songwriter ‘it-girl’. The result is an alum of tracks which are recognisable, but distort through a lens that Atwell herself couldn’t have dreamt up. ‘When we decided to do a remix EP I never imagined we’d create something I’m so proud of and excited to share. I’m a fan of every artist involved in this project and I wanted them to have total creative freedom and to showcase their own perspectives on the songs. Considering I gave them no brief at all, I’m all the more proud of what we created and the tracks as a cohesive body of work.’

She’s right; despite its vast amount of collaborators ’Already, Rearranged’ impressively retains the cohesion of the album it’s based on. Like the bass-y remnants of indie pop being played on the moon, all the ethereal tracks sound like they’ve been remixed through star dust. Simultaneously cosy and hypnotic, you might listen to Atwell’s new EP while writing a dissertation or on a laid-back night out.

Looking at Atwell’s previous album through a rhythmic lens hasn’t just given fans an entirely new way to enjoy her gorgeous chords, vocals and motifs. Fractured and interrupted, the EP offers up a perspective shift that opens up ‘Already, Always’ into something completely new. So, electrical sceptic or not, I’m sure all Atwell’s fan can see that something gained from being ‘rearranged’.

Words by Kate Bowie

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