Anna Jordan continues to forge her own world through The Allegorist, each album serving to further extrapolate both the auditory and emotional landscapes within the mind, each song a tale interwoven into the history and mythology of said world. As such, Tekhenu Retold follows the tradition of oral storytelling in ancient times, which might sound to some like an indulgent extravagance for a remix album. However, such a description is apt as the participants do more than simply remix or reinterpret Tekhenu, but revise and refine those tales, applying new contexts and meanings, and hopefully attain conclusion. Throughout, Jordan’s nuanced and intricate vocal layering remains a key tenet, their haunting atmospheres the tapestries upon which each track is built.
For instance, Jacob Haage and Sarah Assbring deconstruct the dreamy elegance of “Born in the River” to elicit a hypnotic tension as distorted oscillations and nervous rhythms enter with an explosively tectonic pressure, just as Ah! Kosmos relegates the ghostly yet tuneful melodies of “Howling with the Wolf” to a distant and echoing backdrop upon foreboding pads and urgent percussion. We have tracks like Subheim’s rework of “Trees of Peace” and Scanner’s for “Barefoot,” both infusing the ritualistic rhythms of their respective originals with an almost cybernetic trip-hop vibe, the ominous wisps of vocalized ambience supplemented by additional keyboard treatments, while the female and simulated male contrast of “Inner Dialogue” becomes less of an internal conflict and more a celebration as Drum & Lace injects percolating electronic passages and danceable percussion. Whereas the original version of “Tekhenu” was a tensely mysterious and pulsating vision of the unfamiliar, Desiderii Marginis seemingly looks from the opposite perspective, as if the titular idols house the disembodied voices of deities long forgotten, weeping for a world that has been lost since their passing. If any retelling needed to be longer, it would have to be Midori Hirano’s for “Dreams at Dawn” as the lush atmospheres give rise to lovely piano and percussive synth accompaniments that are simply gorgeous.
As remix albums go, Tekhenu Retold serves as an excellent complement to The Allegorist’s canon, one that stands alongside its counterpart rather than subservient to it. This writer had expressed frustration at the brevity of Tekhenu, surmising that there was more to the story than had been offered; with Tekhenu Retold, that supposition would seem to be confirmed, leading one to wonder what other secrets The Allegorist has yet to reveal in this imaginative setting.