MAGNET Exclusive: Premiere Of Funkiller’s “Tropical Depression” And “Killer Whale Song” (Erik Blood Remixes) Videos

Funkiller’s David Gordon might be the very definition of an uncompromising songwriter. Or, as he simply puts it, a “slow-maker.” The Gainesville, Fla.-based artist says he’s always worked by the “let time be my editor” method and still refuses to rush into a release.

Case in point: Gordon toiled over his last album, 2020’s Tropical Depression, for 13 years. The sonic stars had to align before he’d let go of those 10 soulfully dreamy songs. “I only want to play with the players I want,” Gordon told MAGNET at the time of the LP’s release. “Everything has to be special, so it takes a long time.”

Well, just shy of four years later, something special indeed has arisen. Gordon is back with two fresh remixes mined from Tropical Depression: the title track and “Killer Whale Song” (both released on streaming services yesterday via LaunchLeft). The videos for each track premieres here today.

What makes these remixes more than just basic stop-gap releases before Gordon’s next, in-the-works LP? The fact that Seattle-based musician and producer Erik Blood remixed both tracks for Gordon.

“I have long admired the Black Constellation (artist collective) glue piece Erik Blood,” says Gordon. “He’s responsible for conjuring some of my favorite sounds and visuals. Shabazz Palaces’ Black Up and Awe Naturale by THEESatisfaction are all-time transcendent works of art.”

Gordon says that this “naturally collaborative” remix and video project, which debuts intentionally during the summer solstice, serves as an entry to his forthcoming Funkiller album.

“The overarching project is a little conceptual bridge between records,” says Gordon. “Something special I’ve been harboring for a spell. I’ve been trying to get it right without forcing it—ebbing and flowing with life through tumultuous times.”

The result presents wistfully entrancing listening experiences of the tracks. Headphones are recommended.

“I accepted that his vision as something very different from mine,” says Gordon of the fully transmuted songs. “It was exciting to let go of the reigns to someone I respect so much. I tried to approach it like whatever he does will be his style and magical.”

Adding to the sounds are new Nelly Kate-directed videos for each track. For “Killer Whale Song,” co-directed by PJ Sykes, think of Yo La Tengo’s The Sounds Of The Sounds Of Science score, and you’re in the ballpark.

“I want to make clear my feelings about animal rights for ‘Killer Whale Song,’” says Gordon. “There are shots of both whales in the wild and whales in captivity. It’s meant to show both realities, including the conflicting human relationships. We wanted to lean into the difference without being too on the nose. It’s a cinematic homage to the orca animal spirit.”

As for the director, Kate says the mission was to spotlight what both musicians do best.

“David is a brilliant and sensitive songwriter, and Erik Blood’s remixes of these two songs draw out the best parts of his work while giving the audience something new to chew on,” says Kate, who adds that the project took three years and was “deeply personal” for everyone involved. “Visually, I wanted to bridge their distinct styles and the themes in the work by playing with polyrhythmic vignettes, suggestive scenography and descriptive text.”

—Rich Tupica