Legendary UK Imprint Domino turns out three club-focused takes of the debut single from Ela Minus.
Arctic Monkeys to Four Tet via Neutral Milk Hotel, Domino are easily one of the most recognised and best-celebrated independent labels of all time, with a well-earned reputation for signing unique bands and artists from around the world. It is surely a stamp of excellence then, for Ela Minus – a Colombian born, Berklee College of Music graduate, who released her debut single “They Told Us It Was Hard, They Were Wrong”, with the imprint’s Brooklyn arm in April 2020.
Repackaged here with three club-ready remixes, the single is a clean take on the kind of post-modern pop that populates the 6 Music A-list, bending some of the typical forms of the genre without truly breaking any. Ela’s breathy vocal is at times reminiscent of Bjork or Yaeji, providing enough interest to carry a pleasant instrumental, but one that fails to really lift off in the way it should.
The press for the release has made much of the artist’s predilection for hardware synthesis, stating, almost in italics, that she writes, records and performs using hardware exclusively. It seems a shame that it won’t be possible to see her in concert for the foreseeable future as it feels like this is where the project will really take off. None-the-less it is an assured effort from an artist that clearly has a lot more to offer, and perfect fodder for a set of club focused remixes.
Fort Romeau is first up, providing a crisp, rolling Techno interpretation that injects a large dose of the producer’s unique charm. The track builds on some of the more driving elements of the original track with arpeggios and washy reverb in a satisfying manner, seeming to borrow little from the source material aside from a chord progression and a few vocal stabs.
Rising star DJ Python lends his hand on the second take, favouring a skippy, percussive instrumental that would sit comfortably in the Hessle Audio catalogue. The industrial palette on offer is accented with Ela’s breathy vocal to eerie effect, distorting it with washy reverbs and long dubby delays that place it firmly in early morning, heads down territory.
Buttechno rounds up the release with a smart minimal house jam that feels indebted to Ricardo Villalobos and the Perlon stable. Borrowing Minus’ satisfyingly weighty bass line and playing it out over a tight but sparse rhythm section, it is the kind of technical production that is most at home on a large sound system, but offers little to the living-room listener.
Available now on Domino.