ONE OF OUR FAVORITE PRODUCERS THIS SIDE OF PREFUSE EXPLAINS THE SOFT, PROTO-POLYPHONIC SPREE POP OF THE FREE DESIGN
I first heard of The Free Design in the late '90s through my wife Susie. She did college radio at a station in San Diego and fell in love with the soft pop sounds being released on Spanish labels Elefant and Siesta. The Free Design popped up on a bunch of compilations and they sounded so modern we assumed that they were a new band. Cut to Stereolab releasing their song "The Free Design" [on the 1999 album, Cobra and Phrases Group Play Voltage in the Milky Night] and finally it became clear that they were an old band. We bought a greatest hits album and have been in love with them ever since. Light in the Attic approached me to do a remix of my choice and I chose one of their darker numbers, "Girls Alone." I chose this because my favorite output by the band is their moodier numbers and nothing is creepier than hearing the Dedrich sisters sing about a peeping tom. They're often thought of as a harmony pop group, not really a psychedelic group, but what I like about The Free Design and a few harmony pop acts such as The Millennium is the subtle psychedelic feeling in some of their music. Essentially, they make you feel stoned through the use of vocal arrangements, mysterious lyrics and instrumentation rather than with the usual array of effects. It's more musical than just letting the phaser and delay go mad at one point in the song. Chris Dedrich really paid close attention to the details in the music. I was really flattered when the guys at Light in the Attic asked me to put the remix CD in order and make it more like an album, but I was also going to leave for tour in two weeks which made my last two weeks at home insane. But how could I turn them down? I listened to the remixes over and over and placed them in an order that would make the album flow well as a whole. I made the interludes out of hours of interviews and was especially stoked on the intro, which really lets you know that although you may have bought the album for Madlib, Peanut Butter Wolf and Stereolab, it really is about The Free Design and their music.