The DFA Remixes: Chapter One
(DFA / Astralwerks)
Record Review by Adam McKibbin
I suspect I’m not the only given to frequent bouts of host paralysis. Despite—or perhaps because of—a respectably sized music collection, it’s about a 50-50 shot that when you’re having a beer at my place and someone says “Hey, put some music on,” that I’ll spend way too much time fulfilling the request.
How lovely, then, that James Murphy and Tim Goldsworthy are willing to do some of the work for me. The duo behind DFA choose their projects well, even if they did take some heat for swapping creative juices with Mariah Carey, and it’s an impressive and eclectic parade of talent on this DFA Remixes album, from Le Tigre to Gorillaz to Hot Chip. It is an album perhaps better suited for the neophytes and the window shoppers, as some of the songs will be old news to savvy clubgoers—even these remixes, let alone the originals. But it’s a good time, start to middle to finish, and is one of those albums that succeeds in being a dance album or electronic album for people who would describe themselves as not liking dance music or electronic music.
It is also the ideal soundtrack to trying to turn your dinner party into an Anniversary Party-style Ecstasy party.
Instead of leaving the corpses of songs behind them, unrecognizable, Murphy and Goldsworthy give listeners a telling glimpse of the original visions, which perhaps makes it easier to appreciate the long path they travel during the remix; Gorillaz’s “Dare” is one such example, as it descends into a slow deconstruction through its second half. Depending on the circumstance, these extended outros can sound a little long in the tooth, even overindulgent, but they never come out of nowhere.
One standout in particular is the treatment of Soulwax’s “Another Excuse,” which swings an irresistible hook, features some typically neurotic electronic skittering, and, of course, that pulsing bass, always coaxing the listener to stick around for one more minute, one more song, one more drink—c’mon, just one more.