Building New Ideas From Familiar Songs

The New York Times, 4 février 1997

In the last few years, the nature of the remix has changed. No longer do these studio-altered versions of pop songs simply offer a way to dance longer to a tune. Instead, remixes often suggest new ways of listening to a song, challenge ideas about authorship and completion or create a completely new piece of music solely using sounds from the original. One in-demand musician, the Aphex Twin, says he only remixes only music that he doesn’t like, so he can turn it into a song that he likes. On these four new albums, remixers breathe new life into familiar songs as well as creating provocative introductions to the work of lesser-known musicians.

Nothing is ever simple or straightforward on a Björk album. “Telegram” (Elektra) remixes songs from Björk’s previous record, “Post,” and adds one new song. But instead of simply indulging this Icelandic pop singer’s interest in cutting-edge electronic dance-music, these mixes span a wide range of styles. In “Hyper- Ballad,” the dance beats of the original are removed, replaced by the somber strings of the Brodsky Quartet. Björk herself tinkers with “You’ve Been Flirting Again” to tone down the strings and add haunting atmospheric sections. The album’s new song, the spare and abstract “My Spine,” is far less impressive than most of the remixes, particularly Dillinja’s reworking of the slow-moving “Cover Me” into a tense, fast-paced drum-and-bass deconstruction. What is most interesting about this album is that it makes “Post,” which featured dance-based collaborations with Tricky and Nellee Hooper, seem like simply another remix album of Björk songs, no more or less definitive than “Telegram.”

par Neil Strauss publié dans The New York Times