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Sŵnami "Theatr/Uno, Cydio, Tanio" Double Single Review - 17th May 2021

Originally published by Welsh Connections on 17th May 2021.

Sŵnami’s new double A-side “Theatr/Uno, Cydio, Tanio” presents two unique and engaging reinterpretations derived from the band’s polished indie pop sound.

With a more traditional remix, Bryn Morgan takes “Theatr” deep into the indie trip-hop territory occupied by acts like Pys Melyn, delivering a truly trippy experience. Exploiting existing pitch-shifted vocal harmonies, the original hi-fi sheen and pop punch is replaced with a feel akin to warn tape, gently warping and warbling with soft brushes of guitar. Even at their most mangled, the lyrics still hit the ear as Welsh, which is a nice touch. There is some intuitive chill-out nuance and warmth here. My only issue: while the squash and release of the kick drum vs compressor is cool as an effect, the execution is a bit ear-popping and I struggled with repeat listens (I’d have had it on loop otherwise).

Nate Williams’ remix of “Uno, Cydio, Tanio” (translating as “Uniting, Taking Hold, Igniting”) is really something else, taking the track’s original smooth pop vibe (already emanating gentle R&B and boyband soul) and augmenting it into something seriously funky – Shalamar’s “Night to Remember” and Stevie Wonder come to mind. Now threaded with descending basslines and lead licks a la Daft Punk or Justice, it has gone from “first dance” to a big, brassy floor filler. Sounding almost like a mash-up, it’s like a secret song hidden within the original. Intentional or not, the track has one of the most appropriate lines for a remix: “Daw’r darnau nôl fel un” (“the pieces will come back as one”).

This release displays the depth of Sŵnami’s own creativity, their writing and arrangements providing the scope for such inspired yet distinctive reinterpretations. It’s also glorious to hear Welsh being seamlessly delivered across popular music genres not traditionally associated with the language. As a sum of parts, it is seriously fun and should be compelling for new listeners and long-term fans.

“Theatr/Uno, Cydio, Tanio” remixes out now on Recordiau Côsh Records:

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