Remixing breathes life into music. You’re taking a piece of work, openly exploring and creating a new product, yet retaining original features. Now, the result isn’t always pleasing, some critics will state the original is the best, but surely that is what progressive art is about. And when that alchemy happens, you wind up with something that can be far superior to the original; Jacques Lu Cont's Thin White Duke Mix of Madonna’s Hollywood, I’m looking at you. As a band with a vested electronica interest, Foals have always been at the forefront of this experimentation.
Over the years, they have encouraged many a remix, and the time felt right to release the most essential on album Collected Reworks Vol. I. There’s plenty of variety, as you would expect from contributions by dance world giants, and the majority of the songs are making their Spotify and Apple debut. Two more volumes are expected, with the pièce de résistance Collected Reworks taking highlights from all three in the form of a limited edition coloured triple-vinyl.
Starting proceedings is Hot Chip's version of My Number. Building from the hubbub of people at a party, it stays fairly understated, until a higher-pitched synth moves it up a notch. It then falls back down, almost representing a night of partying condensed into a 9-minute trip. What’s always worked in Foals' favour is the taking of an epic, emotive slow song and reworking this into a piece of dance music. It's shown here for Into The Surf remixed by Hot Since 82, with the sax giving a little bit of a Hed Kandi dusting, resulting in one of the top productions on the album.
Firecracker The Runner couldn’t be more rock if it tried, so suits the heavy approach by Grammy-nominated Rüfüs Du Sol, presenting a distorted techno ambiance, where lyrically only the chorus is repeated. A little surprise is in store for In Degrees, which is a dance floor filler in all ways. Here, by Purple Disco Machine, it has been sprinkled in glitter and female vocals for a discotheque experience with a slight edge. The instantly recognisable keys are retained, enhanced by festive cowbell, finger click effect, and funky baseline, making this another high point of the release. SebastiAn from Ed Banger Records offers his definitive French touch for Mountain At My Gates and, often coming out tops for Foals' fans, Late Night gets dirty, melodic treatment from Solomun.
This group of thirteen tracks is awesome for electronic music fans, but appealing to all. You will claim your favourite moments, certainly, but with the range of talent producing the tracks, every one holds substantial quality. You may revisit the originals too, but realise how intelligently written they are to transcend easily into new pieces. It’s astounding really to think that there is material for two more LPs, while reassuring to be safe in the knowledge that there is enough to last through those late nights.
Article by Beverley Knight