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Classically Remixed

Ryuichi Sakamoto
(Ninja Tune)

Ryuichi Sakamoto has been around for quite some time now, not only creating music scores for more obscure films, but releasing solo work as well. Although his music has always sort of fallen into a classical category, he's also embraced more experimental (and the Dischord release from which the songs are culled goes in even different directions for him) elements of the music and it lends itself well to the remixing process. Not only that, but fortunately for those who haven't heard the originals of either song, they're included on the disc as well for comparison by the reworked versions.

The album starts out with a super-long remix of "Salvation" by Ashley Beedle in which some thick analog synth is added for a nice growling while the rest of the track moves along with sort of an electro-funk groove. On the second track, J Swinscoe turns in a jazzy reworking of both "Prayer" and "Salvation" that swaggers along and doesn't even recall the originals. One of the best versions on the entire release is the off-kilter drum and bass remix by The Fink that encorporates parts of both of the original tracks. It manages to incorporate parts of the originals, but adds in all kinds of interesting noises and arrangements and moves back and forth from quiet and sweeping strings to stuttering rhythms.

After a long edit of the original "Salvation" (which is a beautiful string arrangement with a flute part and spoken word snippets), the album goes into a darker, more experimental mode with a soft, chirping mix by Panasonic, a haunting trip-hop mix by Andrea Parker, and a typically glitchy mix by Oval. It's almost a split down the middle with the front half of the disc in terms of mood, but it's also a nice change.

Actually, with 8 tracks and well over 50 minutes of music, this remix EP actually runs as long as many full lengths and goes through many different styles to keep things interesting (unlike many single or remix releases). While it runs the gamut from classical to weird electronic, it still manages to be fairly cohesive and flows very well from beginning to end. Also check out the companion release Anger/Grief.

Rating: 7