28.02.2009, Words by dummymag

Reanimations Vol.1

What links Day ‘N’ Nite by Kid Cudi, My Moon My Man by Feist and We Are Your Friends by Simian? Answer: they are all songs where the remix is better than the original (thanks to Crookers, Boys Noize and Justice respectively). It’s a trick that superstar DJ Erol Alkan and ex-Grid member Richard Norris, less well known as psychedelic remix team Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve, manage on a regular basis.

Since 2005, they’ve been sprinkling space dust over tracks by artists ranging from Findlay Brown to Late Of The Pier (and, under the counter, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Neu!). This album collates 12 of their best ‘reanimations’, as Alkan and Norris call them. It may sound like a pompous way to describe tinkering with someone else’s music, but they’ve got a point; ‘remix’ doesn’t really cover what’s going on here. They dispense slmost entirely with the original version of Ulysses by Franz Ferdinand as they turn the song into a six druggy minutes of echoing synths and billowing sound effects. Only a lonely snippet of Alex Kapranos’s vocal remains, possibly as proof to the record company that they weren’t just submitting something they’re prepared earlier, otherwise know as ‘doing an Aphex Twin’. But even if that were the case, it’s stunning.

Their overhaul of Roscoe by Midlake is even more impressive. It was already one of the highlights of the Texan alt.rocker’s 2006 album, The Trials Of Van Occupanther, but, remarkably, Alkan and Norris improve upon it, looping up the opening piano riff and muting it to emphasise the sense of melancholy. Then they add a full two minutes to the running time. It doesn’t feel like enough.

You’ve got to wonder why Alkan and Norris don’t just put music out under their own name. Which is perhaps the ultimate compliment for any remixer. (8)

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