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Open Season

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Album Review

Though Leslie Feist declares in the liner notes to Open Season that initially she "didn't really understand what remixes were," she obviously was quickly acquainted with them and the potential they could hold by the time she started putting her album together. Open Season, a collection of remixes of some songs from Let It Die as well as collaborations with others, provides an interesting look into the possibilities of Feist's music. With help from artists like K-Os, the Postal Service, Mocky, and songwriting partner Gonzales, Feist's songs are reconstructed using new drumbeats, added instrumentation, and vocal effects, with each producer choosing certain aspects and emotions of the original to emphasize. Sometimes, like in Julian Brown's "Apostle of Hustle Unmix" of "Inside and Out," the results are sparse and haunting, while other times what is produced — the Postal Service's version of "Mushaboom," complete with a Ben Gibbard vocal track — is much more intricate and intense than the sweet daydreams of the Let It Die version. Usually these reworkings turn out quite nicely, exploiting the different facets of the songs for what they're worth. Only toward the end of Open Season, when production team VV (Gonzales and Renaud Letang, who also worked on Let It Die) take over and add dancey, almost house-like elements to "One Evening," "When I Was a Young Girl," and "Mushaboom," do things begin to sound a little cheesy and unnecessary, over-produced in that campy way, which is unfortunate, because most of the record is really quite good, including her performances with other artists. Her duet with Jane Birkin, for example, "The Simple Story" (which is also found on Birkin's 2004 album, Rendez-Vous), is lovely with its lush strings and chorus, and sounds very much like something Birkin would have sung in the 1970s. But more than its individual parts, Open Season as an album shows the versatility of Feist's music and voice, how it can move from near trip-hop to French cabaret and all those delicate spaces in between, and almost always sound just right.

Biography

Born: 13 February 1976 in Amherst, Nova Scotia, Canada

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Leslie Feist -- best known simply as Feist -- was a respected member of the Canadian alternative music community before becoming an international pop sensation with the success for her albums Let It Die and The Reminder. Feist was born in Amherst, Nova Scotia, Canada on February 13, 1976. Her father Harold is a respected abstract painter and academic, while her mother Lyn is also a visual artist who works in ceramics. Feist was a baby when her parents divorced, and her mother relocated to Regina,...
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