Radiohead's past forays into the remixing world have had varying results, but it seems like the legendary UK band has usually had their finger on the pulse. Their first proper remix album, TKOL REMIX, is no different in this regard. With remixes from names like Blawan, Pearson Sound, Jacques Greene and Shed, it's a remarkable collection of musical minds that could have been taken from browsing the pages of this very website. It's no wonder, really; with Yorke involved with Low End Theory, Boiler Room and Mary Anne Hobbs, it seems as if Radiohead have suddenly immersed themselves in the "bass music" world. A gargantuan double-CD package, TKOL REMIX collects and expands on a series of rather uneven remix twelve-inches the band has released since the album's original landing last year.
There are generally two routes these remixers have taken. The first is to jostle and re-arrange the band's original elements into something more friendly to bass music, and the second is to fashion essentially original tracks and put Yorke's vocals on top. The former approach works just as often as it ends up bland: Jacques Greene suspends "Lotus Flower" on top of one of his typically smooth but skeletal house beats, and German duo Anstam knit Phil Selway's drumming into a convoluted tapestry that explodes into typical dark foreboding form. But then there's the Brokenchord remix of "Give Up the Ghost" or SBTRKT's go at "Lotus Flower," which merely feel like Radiohead tracks with impersonal production flourishes tacked on. The second approach, aimed squarely at the dance floor, provides the best moments, particularly on the album's second disc, where Blawan, Modeselektor and Objekt provide a blistering stretch of weirdo-techno. It's one of the few moments on the album that actually feels as inspiring and innovative as it looks on paper.
No matter the hype associated with these names, there's no denying that some of these remixes just flail and fall flat. Shed holds himself back for "Little By Little," with his tense rhythms feeling ready to break out into his usual breakbeat blitz but never do, and Jamie XX fashions a two-minute amorphous cloud of generic prettiness out of "Bloom." Caribou's plain-jane "Little By Little" rework is even more grey than the original's sickly pallor.
The inherent structural flaws of any given remix album also plague TKOL RMX—a lack of consistency, flow or narrative. You can forgive some of these producers for going off the deep in end in trying to put their own stamp on these tracks, because if they don't, the results are generally uninteresting (see both of Mark Pritchard's remixes). Radiohead have done a lot for 21st century music, to be sure, but they haven't yet reinvented the remix album. At the very least, with a tracklist like this, chances are you'll find something to like.
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Tracklist: Radiohead - TKOL RMX 1234567CD1
01. Little by Little (Caribou Remix)
02. Lotus Flower (Jacques Greene Remix)
03. Morning Mr. Magpie (Nathan Fake Remix)
04. Bloom (Harmonic 313 Remix)
05. Bloom (Mark Pritchard Remix)
06. Feral (Lone Remix)
07. Morning Mr. Magpie (Pearson Sound's Scavenger Remix)
08. Separator (Four Tet Remix)
01. Give Up the Ghost (Thriller's Houseghost Remix)
02. Codex (Illum Sphere Remix)
03. Little by Little (Shed Remix)
04. Give up the Ghost (Brokenchord Remix)"
05. The King of Limbs (Altrice Remix)
06. Bloom (Blawan Remix)
07. Morning Mr. Magpie (Modeselektor's Good Evening Mrs. Magpie Remix)"
08. Bloom (Objekt Remix)
09. Bloom (Jamie xx Rework)
10. Separator (Anstam Remix)
11. Lotus Flower (SBTRKT Remix)
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