Various Artists Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve Reanimations Vol.1 Review

Released 2009.  

BBC Review

Colours are brightened, curves boosted, grooves deepened.

Colin Buttimer 2009

Reanimations Vol.1 is a collection of remixes by Erol Alkan and Richard Norris. Its titular referencing of classic ‘80s horror film Re-Animator is fitting for the duo's re-interpretative flights of fancy. However, the result is more L.A. plastic surgeon than Frankenstein when applied to the likes of Franz Ferdinand, Late Of The Pier and Badly Drawn Boy.

Alkan, who also goes under the names Mustapha 3000 and Kurtis Rush, was founder and resident DJ of London club night Trash while Norris's pedigree goes back considerably further to his collaboration with Genesis P. Orridge as Jack The Tab in 1990 and from there to The Grid with Soft Cell's Dave Ball.

Franz Ferdinand's Ulysses gets a funky pick-me-up makeover that injects it with enough vigour to stretch out over double its original length. Ulysses' rhythmic chassis is nipped and tucked until it's as svelte and artificial as Joan Rivers' face. The result is a dance floor-friendly beast that’s almost unrecognizable when compared to the indie original.

Peter Bjorn and John's catchy Young Folks, soundtrack to a small army of ads, gets pepped up, though it's more of a Dr Pepper carbonised fizz than anything longer-lasting. Tracey Thorn's Raise The Roof is newly disco ball ethereal, but Thorn's voice is made to sound like a thousand other divas in the process. The same thing happens to Goldfrapp and Badly Drawn Boy.

In fact it’s the case for most of Reanimations. Beyond The Wizard Sleeve aren’t interested in essence, their focus is the dance floor. Colours are brightened, curves boosted, grooves deepened. In the process something of the soul of the original is necessarily sacrificed. Things do get more lively in the second half though with cosmic renderings of Dust Galaxy, Real Ones and Midlake.

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