Monday, 6 June 2011
Depeche Mode - Remixes 2: 81-11
The remix album. That mysterious cousin to the traditional greatest hits - songs you think you know, but tweaked, extended and played with; often twisted out into versions that quite often bear very little resemblance to the originals you love.
But sometimes remixes can be amazing. They can take a track and completely elevate it to new heights, take it in exciting and dramatic new directions. And as Depeche Mode once sang in one of their early singles, you just need to Get The Balance Right.
And that's what they achieve here on new compilation Remixes 2: 81-11. Spanning an immense thirty years, the mixes here are on the whole very beat heavy, but otherwise relatively minmal. This leaves Dave Gahan's voice to do what it does best and shine magnificently through.
The album throbs with a real sense of dark malevolence. On the whole, the mixes tend towards the more modern side of things - the first disc in particular slanted towards material from the band's two most recent albums. This is understandable though, considering much of the band's earlier material was already covered on their first remix compilation back in 2004.
The Digitalism mix of Never Let Me Down Again sounds like it's been hammered out of metal and raw electricity - coming on with massive power. This is sleek, glossy, sexy music - the twitchy 'kiss' effects in Efdemin's version of Corrupt the sound of a darkened club in ecstacy.
As leading innovators of electronic music back in the 80s, it seems only fitting that these assorted DJs and producers return the debt with their takes on Depeche Mode's greatest moments. It's things coming full circle. And yet, for all the coldness the mechanistic beats across this album hold, there's something remarkably organic about it all too - as if the record were the beating heart and lifeblood of some living body.
And of course, it is in a way - the vast body of work that is Depeche Mode's back catalogue. Remixes 2: 81-11 stands as a welcome stop-gap between studio albums that have remained continuously consistent through the years - long may the band continue!
Remixes 2: 81-11 is available to download from iTunes now.