On the face of it eight tracks seems pretty meagre fare for a remixalbum, even if the remix team is the celebrated DFA. Insert the disc intoyour player and a new fear arises, the realisation that this still meansseventy minutes of music. How can a good remix possibly sustain interestover ten minutes or more?
Happily in this case the answer is easy to attain. The mammothreworkings of Tiga, Goldfrapp and UNKLE are allunexpectedly tightly structured, despite making a small album’s worth ofmusic between them. Even in the case of the In A State remix, nearly aquarter of an hour long, DFA secure a hypnotically trancy piece of music -a haunting, out of body experience. For Tiga the approach is totallydifferent, the harmony static the whole way through but as the tension andtextural layers build the effect is thrilling, the vocals eventuallyswamped by a whoosh of synthesized noise.
One aspect of the DFA remixing style that sets them apart is the feelingthat there is actually someone playing the bass and drums, not justchannelling them through a computer. The scattergun approach to some of thedrum fills and the lithe basslines draw much from late 1970s Manchester,but combined with the studio trickery up top secure a distinctive sound,with a captivating listen guaranteed.
The final versions tend to be far removed from their originalcounterparts. Junior Senior‘s Shake Your Coconuts is impossibly leanand funky, dancing to totally different harmonies. N.E.R.D. get abass sound made of pure elastic, while a real revelation awaits listenersto Nine Inch Nails‘ Hand That Feeds, a hip swinging piece of funkwith an irresistible four to the floor groove. Hot Chip‘s Colours,meanwhile, seems to have been coated in gold leaf, a softly meditativevocal dressed in elaborate keyboard clothing.
The only mix that doesn’t quite seem to nail it is the Goldfrapp,impeccably constructed yet somehow not quite adding up to the sum of itsparts.
This is a fine second volume though, serving further notice of DFA’sproduction talent, as if that were needed! It’s an indication of why DJsshould drop their records and not just their name.