Weird science

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Sure, sure. A sugar pill might be a clever way to trick the patient well again, switching placebo in place of pharmaceutical and letting the mind fill in the gaps. However (please forgive the egregious use of slang and the even more egregious remixed metaphor), Detroit area collective NPFC’s (the band more often goes by the acronym) record of remixes of the cut, “sugarpil” is, well, pure dope. Here’s the skinny: One cut pulled from the context of NPFC’s lovely self-titled 1999 album-length excursion in mixology, handed off to a baker’s dozen-plus-two remixers from around the country.

Over the course of the versions, “sugarpil” is dissected, reskinned, rewired, utterly removed from the context of the original and bundled in strange and beautiful new combinations of data, beat, sound, hypnotic suggestion and personality. NPFC has left the song’s source code open enough and the group trusts the remixers they’ve tapped enough to let “sugarpil” take on truly organic new forms. From wispy, atmospheric examinations of the track’s sensitive side to meatier, beatier takes on its rhythm-thang and versions which seem to revel in NPFC’s fondness for quasi-documentary, psychedelia-invoking spoken-word samples, the album plucks facets and amplifies them. Which, of course, is what really good remix albums and version excursions are supposed to do.

By letting a cabal of other conspirators spread the sound seed across the electronic music field, NPFC has done just what it has always done best: expand boundaries, exceed expectations and allow listeners (and, occasionally, dancers, too) to come along for the trip.

NPFC performs Thursday, March 8 at Motor.

E-mail Chris Handyside at [email protected].

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