The thing that held back The Eraser, Thom Yorke's solo album from 2006, was its lack of ambition. For too many tracks the Radiohead singer was content to put his falsetto vocals over a skiffled, twee set of laptop beats and leave it at that. There were more successful cuts where lyrics and vocals seemed to duet with intricate effects and you'd forget Yorke's voice sounded like a teenager apologising to his mum for wetting the bed, but it's just a pity that four of the nine were fillers. These nine reworks presented a chance to make amends, but most of the remixers seem to have fallen into the same habit Yorke did: playing it safe. It's not that these remixes aren't good, they're solid, but they fit far too comfortably with the unadventurous and cosy just-left of centre trajectory of the original.
Thus we get Burial turning the wayward 'And It Rained All Night' into a Burial track, which is fine, although it's not one of his best. Fout Tet's go at 'Atoms for Peace' adds a few more natty folktronica effects and a 'Tongues' style workout at the end. Christan Vogel has two bashes at 'Black Swan', the first giving more of a hulking leer and the second layering the vocal 'this is fucked up, fucked up' over a lurching, slightly weird beat. And Modeselektor make 'Skip Divided' into more of a looming trashscape. All, as I said, fine, but exactly what you'd expect from each.
Those that slide into mediocrity are The Field's late night Essen and Trinken mix of 'Cymbal Rush' and Surgeon's remix of 'The Clock'. The former is a soothing minimal house loop but ditches the quirks and kooky inflections which made the original one of the best tracks on the original album. The latter is as unengaging as the original, only with a break/broken beat.
The only two that really raise your eyebrows do so by totally reimagining the tracks they have been given. 'Harrodown Hill', familiar to many from Ellen Allien's Fabric 34 mix, is warped into a churning, metallic echo chamber monster by The Bug. It begins with echoes of Fat Freddy's Drop and K&D sessions Kruder and Dorfmeister before an almighty dub beat and fast, piercing drums kick in. The other highlight is the Various Productions remix of 'Analyze' which turns a shamanic ramble into jerky beast that feels like it's shelling you with bin lid bombs.
It would have been good to see, say, Ricardo Villalobos unleashed on 'Cymbal Rush' or someone like Matthew Herbert given free reign over any of the tracks, but I don't think that would have fitted with the direction of The Eraser: it would have been too risky.
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Tracklist: Thom Yorke - The Eraser Remix EPs EP 1
01 And It Rained All Night (Burial Remix)
02 Skip Divided (Modeselektor Remix)
03 Analyse (Various Production Remix)
01 Atoms for Peace (Four Tet Remix)
02 Black Swan (Cristian Vogel Spare Parts Remix)
03 Black Swan (Vogel Bonus Beat Eraser Remix)
01 Harrowdown Hill (The Bug Remix)
02 The Clock (Surgeon Remix)
03 Cymbal Rush (The Field Late Night Essen & Trinken Remix)
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