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Beck - Guerolito

Beck, Guerolito

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

YOU can rely on Beck to come up with something different. Whereas most artists are content to recycle successful albums with the odd bonus track for extra sales revenue, this particular musical genius has re-visited and remixed his latest long-player in the form of Guerolito.

The result is a veritable gold-mine of rediscovery, augmented by the presence of collaborators such as Air, Adrock (from The Beastie Boys) and Boards of Canada. Hence Guero gets a completely different make-over that feels as fresh and exciting as listening to the original album itself for the first time.

By his own admission, Guerolito is an ambitious companion piece to the earlier album that emerges triumphantly as some sort of imaginary greatest hits album. It is bold, courageous and typically excellent, containing many classic cuts in its own right. And yet it’s no after-thought having been set into motion while Beck was still writing Guero in its glorious original form.

You can pretty much tell you’re in safe hands during the opening riffs of E-Pro (renamed Ghost Range) by Homelife.

Highlights include the hispanic makeover given to Que Onda Geuro on track 2, which makes an already bright track seem even brighter, and Air’s take on Heaven Hammer, which keeps the sound of Beck and makes it seem even more dreamy, complete with haunting beat and mesmerising synthesizers. Somehow, Beck’s distinct vocals seem all the more haunting and aching and the track makes an immediate good impression.

Adrock’s Black Tambourine shake, shake, shakes things up a bit (like the name of its remix suggests) and adds a funky vibe that comes in stark contrast to the atmospheric Terremento Tempo (Earthquake Weather) by Mario C, which warps the instrumentation, injects a lazy beat and generally distorts things to surreal yet intriguing effect.

Less successful is 8 Bit’s Ghettochip Malfunction (or Hell Yes) that maintains the computer-style effects of the original but speeds up the beat a little without offering that much of anything different (save for a bleep or blip here and there and the odd quirky vocal sample). While Octet’s energetic take on Girl is nowhere near as good as the original although you somehow don’t mind listening to it.

The album hits top form again with Boards of Canada’s deliciously dreamy version of Broken Drum, which hints at the melancholic, contemplative style of his last album, Sea Change, and with a genuinely rousing version of Clap Hands, which catapults you into the bonus tracks on a really feelgood vibe.

Elsewhere, there’s a cinematic scope given to Farewell Ride by Subtle and a really juvenile mix-up of Rental Car, by John King of Dust Brothers fame, which throws in loads and loads of electronica and the odd child-like ‘la, la, la’. Dizzee Rascal’s take on Hell Yes (entitled Fax Machine Anthem) is a little too off-kilter to be enjoyable and one of few misfires.

On the whole, however, this is a glorious remix package that serves as an essential companion piece to the excellent original. You can’t help but say Hell Yes to Beck.

1. E-Pro
2. Que Onda Geuro
3. Girl
4. Missing
5. Black Tambourine
6. Earthquake Weather
7. Hell Yes
8. Broken Drum
9. Scarecrow
10. Wish Coin (Go It Alone)
11. Farewell Ride
12. Rental Car
13. Emergency Exit
14. Clap Hands
15. Hell Yes
16. Que’ Onda Guero