The remix album – money for old rope or a genuine attempt to deconstructand redefine an existing body of work? A bit more of the former in the caseof this record.
Twelve artists have been given tracks from Karsh Kale’srecent album Realise to generally bugger around with in the studio. Muchlike the original album though, the results are none too inspiring. One ofmy main gripes with the original had been that it sounded dated, more likesomething released eight years ago, which just happens to be when half theartists on Redesign were last at the cutting end of the edge.
The standard formula relentlessly followed by most of the remixers onduty here is the same – a brief snippet of exotic flute or Indian chantingfollowed by some bog standard drum’n’ bass with the odd tabla or dhol thrownin for good measure. Without the tracklisting you could be forgiven forthinking they were all remixing the same song.
Honourable mention must gotto Banco De Gaia, who takes a brief snippet of Indian chanting andthen appears to tack on a nine-year-old Eat Static b-side – not badfor a days work, and at least he doesn’t just push the sameold tired breakbeats. For sheer nostalgia value, his is my favourite mixof the lot.
The rest though are simply anonymous. DJ Spooky‘s Datalife 2002 mixof One Step Beyond manages to raise the game slightly but still couldpass for the sort of thing big-beat pub DJs were playing five years ago.
The main problem lies in the nature of the beast itself. Remixes are at their most effective when either subtly re-editing andhighlighting the qualities of the original or when the remixer rips up theoriginal and kills a few sacred cows. In the case of ‘Redesign’, thesource material wasn’t too hot to begin with, and I doubt most even know whoKarsh Kale is let alone care what Ming + FS have done to one of histracks.
Harsh maybe. I wouldn’t physically leave a bar if it was beingplayed in the background, but I’d certainly not be aching to know whoit was. So if safe coffee table Asian-influenced drum’n'bass is your bagthen you’re onto a winner. For the rest of us I’d recommend lookingelsewhere for your exotic sounds.