French brothers Baptiste & Pierre Colleu have been making music together since they were children. They spent a chunk of their childhood in Africa, which they say has inspired their work in the studio. That influence is submerged fairly deep on “Dolphin Kid,” the title track for these two EPs. There’s an undercurrent of eerie soulfulness and woody percussion accents running through this oddly alluring cosmic-house seducer, but its roots are more Balearic than Afrobeat.
The five remixes of “Dolphin Kid” enhance the Colleu brothers’ original in incrementally fascinating ways. On “Coyote’s Intense Mix,” the respected UK duo augment the laid-back rhythm with nuanced 303 twangs and boldface the hand percussion to magnify its latent funkiness. L.I.E.S. recording artist Willie Burns slows “Dolphin Kid”’s pace to a majestic, hollowed-out, dub-funk strut. It’s unfathomably deep. Seattle tech-house maverick Jon McMillion serves up the most twisted, sinister version here, warping the main synth part into a disorienting swirl of borborygmi while intensifying the rhythmic urgency and expanding the sound palette. The second EP concludes with two masterly remixes by Black Merlin. His “Romance in the Dark Mix” turns “Dolphin Kid” into a chilling, Goblin-esque piece of dungeon ambience. But it’s Merlin’s nearly 13-minute “Peyote Mix” that really reels in the cinematic magic, as he launches the cut even deeper into the black, adding thrusting, throbbing disco kicks and enough horror/thriller-film soundtrack signifiers to give John Carpenter a perma-grimace. Poor “Dolphin Kid” has come to a gory, but very exciting end.