Kieren Hebden is a remixing machine. In the past couple of years, he's probably done no less than fifty different remixes for a huge variety of artists, and fitting all of his work into one package would probably take a multi-disc compilation of some sort. In order to distill things down a bit, though, Domino is releasing this double-disc set of work that contains one disc of material that Hebden remixed for others, as well as another disc of Four Tet tracks reworked by others. The result is a mixed-bag of material that's brought down more by outside influences (remixers) than by Hebden's hand alone.
In fact, it's the first disc in the collection ("Remixing") that is easily the standout. Hebden takes "Tics" by Lars Horntveth and turns it into freaked-out droning junk-jazz piece, while two remixes of Madvillian blow the doors off the original tracks and take them in completely new and exciting directions. On "Money Folder," he again dabbles in jazz land with some insane drum solos and percolating keyboard backing while he takes "Great Day" and strips it down to some filtered acoustic guitar and hand-clapping beats that seem to give the track a new sense of introspection.
His remix of Aphex Twin (from Selected Ambient Works Vol. II) is another standout, despite being a bit older. The track is simple enough, layering some smooth breakbeats and other breathy sounds alongside the original droning ambience, but Hebden completely turns the darker original track on its head, making it into something more uplifting and bright. Speaking of turning tracks on their head, his reworking of His Name Is Alive's "One Year" is another winner, as he turns the semi-soul track into a sputtering, almost two-step dance track with chopped-up vocal loops and swirling backwards loops.
Unfortunately, the second disc of the set doesn't have the same amount of variety, as somewhat like-minded artists add some slight flourishes to tracks from Four Tet, but most don't really tear it away from the roots too far. Jay Dee (aka J Dilla) does about the best job with "As Serious As Your Life," turning the track into a playful hip-hop track with some newly-added vocals and loads of samples. Although it doesn't jump too far off the tracks, Icarus' reworking of "My Angel Rocks Back and Forth" is a high-point on the second disc, splintering the original track and adding some rapid-fire vocals for something very engaging.
Sa-Ra Creative Partners even manage to take "Sun Drums And Soil" and spin it even further into outer-space with a galactic funk rework that improves on the original. Elsewhere, though, even Koushik and Caribou/Manitoba offer up slight variations on a theme, while other tracks do even less to flip the song around. If you're a Four Tet fan, you'll probably want to snag this up (as there's most likely several great things you might not have heard), but for others it's sort of a mixed-bag.