Published Sep 10, 2008As rock music gets more and more friendly with remixes and dance music there are still certain bands I consider to be "unremixable." I remember back in the '90s, there were plenty of examples where untouchable remixers like the Chemical Brothers and Andrew Weatherall could work their magic on impossible artists like Manic Street Preachers and the Stone Roses. But more often the case would be complete flops, like Kris Needs' "Erupting Cricket Box Mix" of the Boo Radleys' "What's In The Box? (See Whatcha Got)," an example that I'll never forget (or forgive).
Upon first hearing that Danish noir rockers the Raveonettes were to be remixed, I was expecting the worst. A band known for throwing down early rock'n'roll, Jesus & Mary Chain fuzz and Phil Spector's wall of sound pop don't exactly lend themselves favourably to being chopped up and rearranged with thoughts of a techno life in mind. But surprise, surprise, this EP is worthwhile.
I'll point out that these three remixes don't exactly open up their music to endless possibilities but a press release accompanying the download reads: "...the EPs show off new, heretofore unknown creative angles of the group. Following today's remix EP will be Sometimes They Drop By on September 23, with electronics that indulge a deeper investment into the sampled beats and textures that have always lurked underneath their sound." (Those beats and textures were certainly deep underneath, because they've never exactly sounded like they could operate an 808 comfortably.)
This is the first of four EPs, which will follow on September 23, October 21 and November 25 (one of "Christmas songs done in a modern nostalgic way"), and to say it's a different way of hearing Sune Wagner Rose and Sharin Foo is a total understatement. Japan's 80KIDZ completely deconstructs single "Dead Sound" using a repeated vocal snippet from Foo and the most subtle trace of a melody to inspire his own driving electro banger; it's unrecognizable from the original and would bode well as a single for him even. Alec Empire cohort Nic Endo takes a much more predictable turn with his version of "Aly, Walk With Me," subbing some squelching synths for the original's piercing guitar riffs and ditching the flat drum machine for a much more effective techno stab. Trentmøeller uses a similar approach for "Lust," keeping the album version's vocals intact with some guitar, while at the same time using his signature touches rolling mid-tempo beats, fluttering glitches and ambient textures to give it some more personality.
Since it's free, there's no room for complaining. However, I wouldn't say the Raveonettes are ripe for any kind of remix job. 80KIDZ certainly provides us with a good example of the benefits there are working with such a band but I can imagine some of the horror shows that were rejected by the duo.
The Raveonettes "Dead Sound (80KIDZ Remix)"
The Raveonettes "Aly Walk With Me (Nic Endo Remix)"
The Raveonettes "Lust (Trentmøeller Remix)"