In some ways, this is an opportunity dashed. Granted, it's not exactly as if the remix album is a particularly noble concept; it's probably the most consistently shoddy of electronic music's standby concepts and deserves nobody's sanctimony. There aren't any laws saying they have to be made one way or the other. Nevertheless, it's hard not to be disappointed by the makeup of XI Versions of Black Noise. There they are, the eleven songs of the original Black Noise, ripe for the picking, swarming with entry points any number of remixers would champ at the bit to get their hands on.
XI Versions offers a whopping five original Noise tracks in new mixes, with "Stick to My Side" appearing five times itself (Lawrence, Four Tet, Efdemin, Carsten Jost and Walls do the honors; the loopy synths of the Four Tet and the slow, dark crest of the Jost are my favorites). In essence, XI Versions is the "Stick" remix EP, reshuffled, with six bonus cuts. Needless to say, this renders things pretty lopsided. Listening to all those "Side"s back-to-back on the EP allowed us to explore the many facets of one track. Here, with the baton handed to it over and over, Noah Lennox's vocal refrain keeps coming back around like a song on the radio you're finally beginning to get sick of. (His voice appears yet again on—what else?—the Animal Collective remix of "Welt Am Draht.")
That said, Lennox's returns aren't as onerous as they could be: XI Versions is programmed rather well, and anyone who's spent good time with the originals will find the similar flow here reassuring. And while not everything differs too dramatically from the originals (The Sight Below's retooling of "A Nomad's Retreat," for example), some of the overhauls are pretty thoroughgoing: Hieroglyphic Being's version of "Satellite Sniper" replaces PDP's glimmering haze with a frosty, power plant chug, and Fata Morgana slows "Lay in a Shimmer" to an amniotic crawl, bass notes stretching like a hammock. But the other way XI Versions hedges its bets is by staying close to the source. This is essentially a Dial Records & Friends showcase, which is understandable—distribution and visibility are nothing to sneeze at, and it's nice to give newcomers a sense of the milieu Pantha Du Prince comes from. The album's limits, though, do that milieu few favors.
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Tracklist: Pantha Du Prince - XI Versions of Black Noise 01. Welt Am Draht (Moritz Von Oswald Remix)
02. Welt Am Draht (Die Vögel Remix)
03. Stick to My Side (Lawrence Remix)
04. Stick to My Side (Four Tet Remix)
05. A Nomad's Retreat (The Sight Below Remix)
06. Stick to My Side (Efdemin Remix)
07. Satellite Sniper (Hieroglyphic Being Remix)
08. Stick to My Side (Carsten Jost Remix)
09. Welt Am Draht (Animal Collective Remix)
10. Lay in a Shimmer (Fata Morgana Remix)
11. Stick to My Side (Walls Remix)
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