Review: Jack Foley
REMIXES tend to be hit and miss affairs. They can either make
a tune, or break it.
The best example of a remix so far this year, for me, has been
Mark Ronson's makeover of Air's AlphaBetaGaga. It is
a class act.
Yet, when remixers opt to do nothing more than put a lazy dance
beat across the top of a well-known tune, the effect can be nullifying.
Depeche Mode have long been at the vanguard of remix culture
since its inception, so it is little wonder to find them releasing
a limited edition, 3-CD box set featuring remixes of some of their
It's also not very surprising to report that the collection is
a hit-and-miss affair - although, thankfully, there are more of
the former than the latter, courtesy of the presence of the likes
of DJ Shadow, Portishead, Timo Maas, Goldfrapp and Air, to name
but a few.
So let's concentrate on the good stuff.
Album one kicks off with Never Let Me Down Again, a
fairly workmanlike production by the band itself, with Dave Bascombe.
It's a good way to ease you in, however, as it retains all that
is good about listening to the track.
The CD really breaks into its stride, however, with the blissfully
mellow Air remix of Home, which comes with all the button-twiddling
atmospherics you might expect from Air.
Rush is given a sinister, urgent Spiritual Guidance
mix by Jack Dangers, while the memorable I Feel You,
is given an even grittier, rocky edge by Renegade Soundwave. It
may not be as good as the original, but it's an interesting take.
DJ Muggs contributes a dub-heavy remix of Freelove,
which changes things quite considerably, while keeping it addictive,
and that just about rounds it up for CD1 - which is undoubtedly
the weakest of the three.
CD2 is a marked improvement, with a heavily electronic Pump mix
of Personal Jesus getting things rolling, courtesy of
Highlights, here, include DJ Shadow's edgy take on Pain Killer
- Kill The Pain, which is as mixed up as you might expect
from the DJ, and Kruder and Dorfmeister's chilled out mix of Useless,
which features a deliciously seductive back-beat.
Johnny Dollar and Portishead combine to ensure that In Your
Room is given a really beat-heavy, riff-laden makeover, that
should go down well on the dancefloor, while Dave Clarke's excellent
acoustic version of the moody Dream On finds the tone
of the track perfectly, before kicking in with a tasty beat.
It's No Good gets an interesting drum n bass makeover
from Speedy J, while Timo Maas rounds things off with a suitably
quirky remix of the timeless Enjoy The Silence - one
of two remixes of the track in the box set and by no means the
CD3 continues to deliver the goods, with Flood's orchestral take
on A Question of Lust recalling comparisons with Orchestral
Manouevres in the Dark.
William Orbit's take on the haunting Walking In My Shoes
bears all the hallmarks of an Orbit remix (you'll know it's him
from the start), even though you can't help pining for the sublime
Ambient Whale Remix, which was available at the time of the single's
release, and has to be heard to be believed.
Headcleaner drop in a rocking version of Nothing, which
makes a nice break from some of the dance anthems, while Goldfrapp
add some nice strings and quirky beats to Halo, paving
the way nicely for Mike Shinoda's inspired take on Enjoy The
Silence, which was recently released as a single.
Of the genuinely disappointing stuff, Underworld completely fuck
up Barrel of a Gun, while Danny Tenaglia does the same
for I Feel Loved.
And several of the cheesy eighties tracks, before Depeche Mode
found their dark period, don't age too well.
But hardcore fans of Messrs Gahan, Gore and Fletcher will want
to own the box set, if only because it's a limited edition.
It is an interesting best of album which contains enough moments
of inspiration to make it worth recommending.
Playing The Angel