One of last year's most distinctive releases, Early Morning Migration has lost none of its understated luster in the months since it first appeared. On their first collaborative venture, New York composers Ezekiel Honig and Morgan Packard proved themselves to be so simpatico, their styles at times meshed indistinguishably. On this first of two vinyl releases (the second, scheduled for late 2006, will include contributions from Someone Else and Jan Jelinek), Honig and Packard pair three of the album's originals with animated overhauls by Socks and Sandals and Honig himself.
Swathed in creaking noises suggestive of boats gently rocking at port, the disc resurrects the album's "Tropical Ridges," "Balm," and "A Lake of Suggestions Pt. 1," all three lulling ambient settings caressed by minimal Rhodes melodies and prodded by gentle tick-tock shuffles. The pieces are so entrancing, it's easy to miss the subtle details that distinguish them: gentle melodies that are no less beautiful for being so skeletal, the peaceful calm that dreamily envelops "Tropical Ridges," and the hypnotic call-and-response between the Rhodes theme and deep bass line in "Balm," to cite three. On the B side, Socks and Sandals duo Sean Smith and Clark ov Saturn render the album's original material into almost unrecognizable form in their pumping banger "Eerily Marnin' Remix," a cut as strong as anything on their own recent Shatter EP. While never betraying Microcosm's minimal aesthetic, noises incessantly detonate throughout the duo's skittering dub-techno overhaul, with the emphasis on funky clicking pulses, splashes, and rumbling bass lines. Returning home, "Honig's Tropical Plants Mix" (built from elements of "Tropical Ridges" and "Planting Broken Branches") anchors the vessel with a languid, bumping shuffle to the creaking dock amidst accompanying sounds of clattering machinery.