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Unkle - Do Andriods Dream of Electro Beats?


Review: Jack Foley

HAVING impressed with their latest album, Never Never Land, last year, Unkle follow-up with the mother of all remix albums, a three-CD dance-fest in which James Lavelle and Richard File get to makeover past favourites, as well as some choice cuts from their vast record collection.

Do Androids Dream of Electro Beats? is, needless to say, something of a mixed bag, flitting between different dance genres, and occasionally veering into alien territory.

Its decision to play each CD as one track also means that the occasional lulls, or heavy rock-outs, cannot be skipped, unless you’re willing to stand by your CD player with your hand pressed against the fast-forward button.

But this shouldn’t happen too often, for Unkle have managed to keep things lively for 90 per cent of the time, thanks to some neat makeovers of their own, classic tracks, as well as lively re-inventions of past collaborations.

CD1 is probably the pick of the bunch, getting off to a flying start with an extended Unklesounds edit of the haunting Richard Ashcroft number, Lonely Souls, which appeared on their own album, Psyence Fiction. The distinctive Ashcroft chorus is broken down into a loop, and the verses largely dispensed with, but the foreboding beats and tingling pianos are used to the max, making it as addictive as it ever was.

Given that it eased you effortlessly into funky versions of The Psychonauts’ Circles and Giorgio Moroder’s Tears, which veer into David Holmes territory, only serves to heighten the enjoyment, especially since the piece de resistance comes in the form of two versions of DJ Shadow’s timeless Organ Donor, which comes complete with an extended overhaul.

With South’s Broken Head remixes following in close proximity, you have just the right mix for an evening of blissed out, funked up dancing which is as good as the CD gets. Pity then, it veers into rock territory, with slightly less successful mixes of Queens of the Stone Ages’ anthem, Feel Good Hit Of The Summer, and Sunna’s I’m Not Trading, which becomes lost amid the need to pump things up.

Both tracks are good in themselves, but they are ill-served by the makeover given them here, and the beats don’t work as well as you feel they ought to.

The same can be said of CD3, which heads into the type of dance territory more usually reserved for the Summer clubs of the European dance crowds; but even these are punctuated with some eye-opening moments of pure class; most notably, an unknown remix of Vangelis’ Blade Runner Theme and the Unklesounds edit of Radiohead’s Everything In Its Right Place.

CD2, however, is another classic, taking in the likes of Unkle’s own Ian Brown collaboration, Be There, an obscure version of the Star Wars theme (to get things rolling in suitably tongue in cheek style), the excellent Unklesounds edit of The Beatles’ Tomorrow Never Knows, which slips effortlessly into their own, Eye For An Eye, and, to round things off, a dreamy, chilled out version of Rabbit In Your Headlights, which features Thom Yorke’s vocals at their most melancholy, yet blissful.

It may not be as tight as a DJ Shadow remix album, which thrived on finding funky soul for its jollies, but it does provide an excellent showcase for the Dj-ing skills of both Lavelle and File. Unkle fans can’t fail to want it in their collection…

Track listing:
Disc: 1
1. Intro - Unkle
2. Get Ready - Rare Earth
3. Lonely Souls - Unkle (Unklesounds Edit)
4. Circles - The Psychonauts
5. Tears - Giorgio Moroder
6. Organ Donor - DJ Shadow
7. Organ Donor - DJ Shadow (Extended Overhaul)
8. Broken Head II - South
9. Broken Head - South (Jagz Kooner Mix)
10. Feel Good Hit Of The Summer - Queens Of The Stone Age
11. The World Is Not Enough - Garbage (Unkle Remix Beats)
12. I'm Not Trading - Sunna (Unkle Remix Instrumental)
13. Nursery Rhyme - Unkle (Unklesounds Edit)
14. Battle - Blur (Unkle Remix)

Disc: 2
1. Prop Master's Party - Tycoon Tosh & The Terminator Troops
2. Star Wars Theme (Obscure Version)
3. I Can't Comprehend - Skelf Feat Forme
4. Physical 2000 - Peter Dildo
5. Be There - Unkle Feat Ian Brown (Unklesounds Edit)
6. I Wanna Dance With Numbers - Girls On Top (Unklesounds Edit)
7. Kick A Hole - Forme
8. Hey Jack - Howie B (Unkle Metamorphosis Remix)
9. Tomorrow Never Knows - The Beatles (Unklesounds Edit)
10. Eye For An Eye - Unkle (Old Version)
11. Feel It - Bushwacka!
12. Holes - Mercury Rev (Unknown Remix)
13. Percussive Thinking - Forme
14. Egyptian - Bushwacka!
15. Interlude - Unklesounds
16. Rabbit In Your Headlights - Unkle (Unklesounds Edit)

Disc: 3
1. Acapella - Biz Markie
2. Breaking the Girl - Red Hot Chilli Peppers
3. Grab The Rope - Animated (FC Kahuna Mix)
4. Mind Set To Cycle - FC Kahuna
5. Last Dance (And I Come Again) / Sympathy For The Devil - Superfunk/Rolling Stones (Eric Morillo Dub)
6. True (The Faggot Is You) - Morel (FC Kahuna Headstart Mix)
7. Empty Love - Psychonauts
8. Blade Runner Theme - Vangelis (Unknown Remix)
9. Nightclubbing - Iggy Pop
10. Thru 2 You - Echomen (Bushwacka! Remix)
11. Fairytale - Landmine
12. Dream On - Depeche Mode (Bushwacka! Blunt Mix)
13. Release - Medway
14. Sacred Cycles - Lazonby
15. Everything In Its Right Place - Radiohead (Unklesounds Edit)
16. Untitled - Layo & Bushwacka
17. The Chain - Fleetwood Mac (Unklesounds Edit)
18. Unklesounds Outro

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