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Hip-Hop In 12 Movements

East Flatbush Project
Tried By 12
(Ninja Tune)

Remix albums are a strange bunch. On big collections like Warp's 10+3 Remixes, there were enough different source tracks to work with (as well as a huge variety of artists) that even if you didn't like the end result, at least there was a huge variety of music to listen to. On the other side of the coin, sometimes there are releases where one track gets the workover from several different artists, but either because of similar styles or because they're all working on the same track, there simply isn't enough of a difference on the album to keep the listener excited throughout.

Unfortunately, that's the problem with this release on the Ninja Tune label. Not only is it a strange release in that there aren't actually that many Ninja Tune artists actually re-working the track (2 out of 12 is all that I can count), but even though there is a large varience in artists that participated, there isn't a lot of excitement to be found on the 10 tracks.

The original version of the track and first mix on the disc is a quick and minimal slab of interesting hip-hop that plays off a simple beat and a repeated tweaked-harpsichord-sounding loop that bores into your head along with the vocals (although they tend to fall into a somewhat cliche' zone as well). From there, Ko-Wreck Technique adds a bunch of scratching and an old-school bassline, but not much else while the Bisk mix sounds like it will go the Markus Popp (Oval) route at first, but then slides back into a more plain-jane mix with a bit of odd sounds thrown in for good measure.

Even the two Warp cohorts don't freak things up too badly, with Squarepusher turning in a Music Is Rotted One Note influenced mix while Autechre add a bit of distortion and machine sounds to the track, but leave it nearly intact otherwise. The Funkstorung mix is perhaps the best one on the disc, turning in a quirky bit of electronic goodness that sounds like a stewed-over Aphex Twin cut with a pretty little melody and some static on the thump. The super-dark and grimy Trapaziod Mix comes in a close second with a vocal filter that makes things sound like they were run through a meat grinder while the beats ooze like Massive Attack.

If you're a huge fan of the song and want to hear some different takes on it, this might be an interesting listen, but otherwise the release doesn't offer a huge amount of variation and the big names aren't even the ones who turn in the slickest takes. I'm all for remix projects, but sometimes the fat needs to be trimmed a bit, as this one could have easily been an EP of shorter length.

Rating: 4.5