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Depeche Mode - Remixes 81-04


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 best-loved tracks.

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 Francois Kevorkian.

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 best.

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 reviewed

 

 

 

 

Track listing:
Disc: 1
1. Never Let Me Down Again (Split Mix) Depeche Mode & Dave Bascombe
2. Policy of Truth (Capitol Mix) Francois Kevorkian
3. Shout (Rio Mix) Depeche Mode & Daniel Miller
4. Home (Air "Around the Golf" Remix) Air
5. Strangelove (Blind Mix) Daniel Miller & Rico Conning
6. Rush (Spiritual Guidance Mix) Jack Dangers
7. I Feel You (Renegade Soundwave) Afghan Surgery Mix Renegade Soundwave
8. Barrel of A Gun (Underworld) Hard Mix Underworld
9. Route 66 (The Beatmasters Remix) The Beatmasters
10. Freelove (DJ Muggs Mix) DJ Muggs
11. I Feel Loved (Chamber Mix) Chamber
12. Just Can't Get Enough (Schizo Mix) Depeche Mode & Daniel Miller

Disc: 2
1. Personal Jesus (Pump Mix) Francois Kevorkian
2. World In My Eyes (Mode to Joy) Jon Marsh
3. Get The Balance Right (Combination Mix) Depeche Mode
4. Everything Counts (Absolut Mix) Alan Moulder
5. Breathing In Fumes - Depeche Mode & Daniel Miller
6. Painkiller (Kill The Pain Mix) D.J. Shadow
7. Useless (The Kruder and Dorfmeister Mix) Kruder & Dorfmeister
8. In Your Room (The Jeep Rock Mix) Jonny Dollar & Portishead
9. Dream On (Dave Clarke Acoustic) Dave Clarke
10. It's No Good (Speedy J Mix) Speedy J
11. Master And Servant (An ON-Usound Science Fiction Dance Hall Classic) Adrian Sherwood
12. Enjoy the Silence (Timo Maas Mix) Timo Maas

Disc: 3
1. A Question of Lust - Flood Mix
2. Walking In My Shoes (Random Carpet Mix" Full Length) William Orbit
3. Are People People? - Adrian Sherwood
4. World In My Eyes (Daniel Miller Mix) Daniel Miller
5. I Feel Loved (Danny Tenaglia Labour Of Love Dub) Danny Tenaglia
6. It's No Good (Club 69) Club 69
7. Photographic (Rex The Dog Dubb Mix) Rex the Dog
8. Little 15 (Ulrich Schnauss Remix) Ulrich Schnauss
9. Nothing (Headcleanr Rock Mix) Headcleanr
10. Lie to Me (The Pleasure of Her Private Shame Remix) LFO
11. Clean (Colder Version) Colder
12. Halo (Goldfrapp Remix) Goldfrapp
13. Enjoy The Silence (Reinterpreted) Mike Shinoda

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