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Thursday, May 07, 2009

Bjork - The Best Mixes from the Debut (For All the People Who Don't Buy White Labels)

Björk first came to prominence as one of the lead vocalists of the avant-pop Icelandic sextet the Sugarcubes, but when she launched a solo career after the group's 1992 demise, she quickly eclipsed her old band's popularity. Instead of following in the Sugarcubes' arty guitar rock pretensions, Björk immersed herself in dance and club culture, working with many of the biggest names in the genre, including Nellee Hooper, Underworld, and Tricky. Debut, her first solo effort (except for an Icelandic-only smash released when she was just 11 years old), not only established her new artistic direction, but it became an international hit, making her one of the '90s most unlikely stars.
[by Stephen Thomas Erlewine - allmusic].
* * * * * * * *
The title may be lengthy, but it's also perfectly accurate; this release serves as a fine catch — all of the earliest remixes done for Björk. Compared to the explosion of mixes and alternate takes that would surface on later singles, the mere six mixes totaling 41 minutes here seem paltry. The quality level, thankfully, remains quite high (quite happily, Mick Hucknall's mix of "Venus as a Boy" has been ignored). It starts with the definite highlight, Underworld's radical revamp of "Human Behavior." A 12-minute long masterpiece, it replaces the shuffling stutter of the original's percussion with a combination of crisp disco pulse and fast-paced funk loop, with other quirky keyboard bits and spoken samples floating in and out of the mix as needed. Björk's vocals remain intact, but otherwise this is pretty much Underworld's showcase, and a fine one; the addition of piano at the end adds to the unexpected charm and power of the mix. The remaining mixes are split between avant- techno trio Black Dog and remixer extraordinaire Andy Weatherall, more specifically his Sabres of Paradise project. The Sabres' "Endorphin" mix of "One Day" is a chilled, stoned slice of loveliness, light piano and dub-touched echoes matching the slow beat and Björk's slightly reverb-treated vocals. A faster-paced mix of the same track, the "Springs Eternal" take, has some good crisp electronic percussion but isn't as strong, while a version of "Come to Me" feeds Björk's vocals through heavy reverb and echo over a quiet series of beats. Black Dog's mix of "Come to Me" has echoes of Muslimgauze's Arabic/techno fusion to it, a nice touch, while their take on "The Anchor Song" has a nicely strange, second-long loop and a totally a capella mid-song vocal break that works wonders.
Review by Ned Raggett [Allmusic Review].

Tracks

01 Human Behaviour [The Underworld Mix]

02 One Day [Endorphin Mix]
03 Come to Me [Black Dog Mix]
04 Come to Me [Sabres of Paradise]
05 The Anchor Song [Black Dog Mix]
06 One Day [Springs Eternal Mix]
1994 , CD , One Little Indian


The Best Mixes flac & scans

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