Bloc Party Intimacy - Remixed Review

Released 2009.  

BBC Review

Tough as it may be for the purists to comprehend, this record is better than the...

Lou Thomas 2009

Intimacy Remixed, a collection of songs which initially appeared on Bloc Party's patchy third album, is unprecedented in its field.

Tough as it may be for the purists to comprehend, this record is better than the original.

Villians remix of Ares is a great start to proceedings. The sub-Chemical Bothers clatter of the initial recording being overhauled like an even more robust Justice.

Meanwhile, go-to ghetto bass remixer, Herve, contributes a dark and twitchy 4/4 battering of big single Mercury and We Have Band rip the punky guitars from Halo and prefer to up the pulsing bass and add computer game synth noises.

Although some artists themselves can be precious when their work is tampered with, most progressive musicians realise reworking material can be a useful and occasionally necessary way of making songs better or just relevant to a new audience.

This is surely why Bloc Party have allowed the likes of drum 'n' bass hero John B and venerated US house veteran Armand Van Helden free rein here.

John B cuts his trance 'n' bass moves sweetly over Trojan Horse, which merely bores in its original incarnation, but here soars before, during and after a lengthy euphoric breakdown.

Armand, who many would argue made the first ever essential remix with his take on CJ Bolland's Sugar Is Sweeter, is content to toughen up Signs into something much more dynamic than the original. It won't escape any listeners that AVH's version is a damn sight better to dance to.

Everything else on Intimacy Remixed is worth checking out, particularly Banjo Or Freakout's Ion Square, which is less a remix than a beautiful, Spacemen 3-style hymnal cover version. It's another reason why London-based Italian Alessio Andalusia (aka BoF) is one of 2009's best ones to watch.

Since the rock and dance boundaries truly began to disintegrate in the 1990s remixing has been a permanent fixture of modern music and has here reached the zenith of its validity. Bloc Party and others interested in the now and next of songwriting are advised to listen carefully.

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