Ewan Pearson - Piece Work
Even in this day and age, many still look on remixing with a certain degree of suspicion. Can we blame them? If remixes are the easiest way to bulk out a CD single, it could be argued the majority are unnecessary, hurriedly produced by mercenaries with little interest in the original music and not much of a vision as to where to take it. Thankfully, this can't be said of the tweaking skills of Berlin-based Ewan Pearson.
Piece Work gathers together 21 of his remixes. As a general rule, they're not what you'd call risky, falling within the electro-house bracket. Most keep the vocal and structure of the original, while adding extra glitter, or, in more technical terms, bleeps 'n' stuff. This results in some - his takes on The Chemical Brothers' The Golden Path and Depeche Mode's Enjoy The Silence, for example - which aren't wildly different from the originals, just a bit more danceable. Crucially, however, they work. Elsewhere, his elastic treatment of Ride A White Horse needlessly stretches one of Goldfrapp's lesser singles to the 15 minute mark. Subtitling it "Disco Odyssey Parts 1 & 2" does nothing to disguise this. Far better is Franz Ferdinand's Outsiders, the spacey electro gloss making them sound more appealing than they really have a right to.
The two best inclusions here are courtesy of lower profile artists. Mocky's Catch A Moment In Time is a hooky electronic seduction number, mixing a rap with, er, some Barry White-esque soulful touches. Seductive in a different way entirely is Slam's Visions. A paean to being off your tits on illegal substances, it's a marvellous confection of Dot Allison's blissed out vocal and sparkly, symphonic disco. Think Primal Scream's Higher Than The Sun meets The Chemical Brothers' Star Guitar and you're in the right celestial ballpark.
While there are many remix albums on the shelves (most, let's face it, stinking of record label cash-in), few turn the artist-remixer relationship on its head. Piece Work is more cohesive than the title suggests. Not only does it allow us to evaluate from an unusual angle, but it's pretty damn good in its own right.
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