Reaching for expectations that can't be met.
After the release of their second studio album, Traced in Air, Cynic decided to release a remix EP called "Re-traced," remixing some of the tracks off that album. The tracks are remixed in a more electronic fashion, with more mellow DJ-like rhythms and electronic melodies (even though the melodies on the album were electronic already. The mellow atmosphere of the songs are nice, but don't live up to the incredible compositional qualities seen on the original album. The shorted titles of the track titles give away a certain degree of what the EP is like -- a stunted version of an original great.
The EP starts off with Space (short for "Space for This"). It immediately starts with a rotating electronic beat, with mellow quiet guitar chords and muffled vocals backing it. The track is very slow and ambient, focusing more on the atmosphere of the overall song than the actual progressions of the music. Some interesting variations on the chorus riffing is seen, but it can't really stand up to the original track's prowess.
Evolutionary (short for "Evolutionary Sleeper") is the massively slowed down version of the classic track off the original album. With a nice atmosphere, the song has little to it's other than that atmosphere. The remix has certainly come a long way from the sweeping grandeur of the original track. Overall, although it has a nice atmosphere, it has little else to call it exceptional.
King (short for "King of Those Who Know") follows the same formula as the rest of the album - slowing the original track into a pleasant atmosphere with nice interpretations on the original chord progressions and riffs. Overall not spectacular, although this song does feature some nice false buildups and releases, making for a nice relaxing sensation. It is one of my favorite remixes on the track and has some of the cooler muddlings of the original sound.
Integral (short for "Integral Birth") takes a turn and is essentially an acoustic version of the original, with some pleasant atmospheres backing it. Although it is still rather slow and contains little but pleasant ambient overtones, the song is quite pleasant, offering a nice new outlook on the presence of the track.
Wheels Within Wheels is the only "actual" Cynic track on the EP, breaking out Cynic's more metallic compositional skill, and reminiscing the glory of Traced in Air without rupturing the river of a song's incredible ambiance with an electronic remix. Overall it may not live up to the amazing expectations of Traced In Air, but still has a great riff sequence and chord progression, making for another classic Cynic track.
ALBUM OVERALL: Re-traced is nothing special. With some pleasant remixes and nice atmospheres to its name, the EP is nice to listen to a few times, but is no classic album. The best track on the album is the last, actual track, and features some of Cynic's more melodic qualities, rather than the electronic remixes of former Cynic masterpieces. Overall, the album is good, and I'm not condemning the remixes as horrid, but they don't function as worthy representatives to the original tracks. 3 stars.