Radiohead – TKOL RMX 5 – 8 Radiohead – TKOL RMX 5 – 8

Listen I understand I can get a little carried away when talking about music. This article is intended to close a chapter in my life which took over my interests for a few months. By now you must of heard about the Radiohead remix project for their 2011 release The King Of Limbs. Starting in July, the band released a new volume of remixes every two weeks for the following two months. The guest producers for each remix was a mix of high profile electronic creators as well as up and coming musicians. The thread which connected all of these producers was a desire to explore The King Of Limbs in cerebral and abstract electronic remixes which employed various genres ranging from dubstep, IDM and highly experimental styles. After every release, I wrote a review and send it off to the Pinpoint offices.

Because these releases were so frequent, they sometimes overshadowed everything else which was coming out. It was literally like me discussing the history of Martian Manhunter to a stranger walking away from me at the bus stop. I can imagine how a stack of reviews looked when piled up with only acronyms and edition numbers adorning the titles. The editor has graciously given me the chance to complete my project on the announcement of an 8th installment. He has agreed to allow me to bring closure to this project as well as hear my final arguments on why the Martian Manhunter is the superior superhero in the DC universe. Thank you for this opportunity and let me begin by underlying the importance of telekinesis.

Below are my four unpublished reviews on the final installments as well as links to the first four in the series. If I were to make a judgment on the entire scope of the project, I would have to say that despite the intensity and effort put forth by Radiohead and its contributors, the focus of the series sometimes faltered and failed to make itself accessible to anyone without an express interest in experimental electronic music. Despite the obvious flaws however, this project of remixes expanded the world The King Of Limbs employing honorable creators of interesting and intellectually challenging music. For now, I can rest — until another project of this caliber surfaces and the inboxes of Pinpoint are once again flooded.


TKOL RMX 8 (3/5)

The King Of Limbs remix project officially ended at the release of the compilation TKOL RMX 1234567. For many it was the beginning and end to a project which spanned for weeks. Many fans have casually dismissed this album as merely a footnote in a greater Radiohead history. While I certainly cannot argue with this notion, the TKOL RMX project has illuminated the larger concept of experimental electronic work being released on a monthly basis. While Radiohead may be done with acting as benefactor, the process of challenging and interesting electronic music continues.

TKOL RMX 8 is three tracks which did not make into the original series. I am almost positive that this project has enough material for another round of releases though we shall just consider this as a “one off.” The content of the 8th release are three alternate takes from previous contributors. I would usually not take a release like this that seriously if it weren’t for the fact some of its contents are probably greater than some of the tracks already released. Damn it. I’m back in it again. Charles, cancel all of my afternoon appointments. Charles, why is no one responding to my demands!

I was very critical of Jamie xx’s work on “Bloom” in the 7th installment of this project. I found it very boring, pretentious and above all short. As if answering my imaginary hate mail, the producer leads this release with a near 8 minute alternate take which is gorgeous and worthy of comparison to the original work. With a constant drum beat, Jamie xx’s 3rd take on “Bloom” fuses atmosphere with old New York garage in a relaxing yet wondrous product. The track presented is labeled as the third rework leading me to wonder if the second version was so terrible, it was burned upon an pagan altar.

Next is Anstam who was also on the 7th release with his untouchable interpretation of “Separator.” For the 8th volume, we are given an alternate take — one that is more frightening and equally successful. Much like a horrid werewolf, the alternate take on “Separator” is menacing with the benefits of intelligent reasoning. Much like Balawan’s nasty take on “Bloom” in TKOL RMX 5, Anstam’s alternate take harkens back to dubstep’s primal beginnings with a sociopathic outlook. Anstam’s discarded attempt sounds like a dance club which just suffered a chemical outbreak. From the two tracks on TKOL RMX 8, I start to question the project’s curatorial work. Much of my complaints regarding homogeneous inaccessibly have been corrected within the first 10 minutes. it is almost like Radiohead is toying with my emotions.

Nathan Fake was featured on the 2nd volume of this series with a reasonable if not tedious interpretation of “Morning Mr. Magpie.” Before Fake arrived at particular mix, the producer was toying with a heavier take — one with 90’s rave flair and wandering wobble. Comparing both tracks to Fake’s previous work, the listener is only aware of the continual frustration as Fake never reaches his smooth IDM chill out center which has worked so well in other releases. This is disappointing as Fake has shown himself as a producer with understated merit and style. the Fake remix break the streak of greater than outtakes of the original — though to be honest, Nathan Fake receives all around low marks for not reaching full potential.

By now, people have moved on from this project. Those that remain sit with constant vigilance; stare at the horizon which might bring another release. I could listen to more. Though I have invested myself fully in serial remixes. TKOL RMX 8 is a footnote to a footnote — an epilogue to a book only finished by a few.


TKOL RMX 7 (2.5/5)

And now it is over. I am uncertain how many of these reviews were actually published. I can understand. Seven 12 inches released over the span of 3 months is odd. If one were not interested in the world of electronic music, The King Of Limbs remix series doesn’t make much sense. It seemed backwards to devote so much time when a 2 disc compilation was being released at the tail end. While TKOL RMX 1234567 promises to neatly package all of these remixes in one place, the experience is different. Waiting every 2 weeks for another entry reminded me of reading comics and having anticipation followed by joyous release woven into the process. Despite lack of recognition and care for an ancillary Radiohead project, TKOL RMX will forever be engrained as apart of the parent album’s experience. And now, it is over.   
Ending the project are some of the bigger names already announced in press releases. Jamie xx, of the recently popular The xx, provides the opening remix of “Bloom.” Bloom has been the most popular choice for artists as Jamie xx’s remix is the fifth reworking of the track.  It is also not only the shortest track for this release but the entire series. “Bloom” is presented first and acts as a two minute intro into Anstam’s “Separator.” If anyone was feeling a bit disconnected, you should feel normal as the 7th entry in the beloved remix series is not only the weakest but most disappointing.
This disappointment is stemmed from two strong releases with the 5th and 6th installment. Additionally, the entire series is wrapping with a frail sense of closure along with some unanswered question regarding announced absent producers. This is a further disappointment because the mysterious conceptual artist / producer Anstam is well worth anyone’s attention. This is of course, if you are prepared for angular jungle and glitchy IDM.  Anstam’s “Separator” is as haunting and nauseating as it is interesting. Once prepared for the tenacity, Anstam is the shinning star on this release which is not difficult when your two biggest crowd-pleasers deflate.
It is not that London producer and tribal enthusiast SBTRKT’s remix is bad, it is just not as good as anything he has produced to date. This tribal enthusiast’s self titled debut will more than likely soar to the end of the year lists due to its craft and resonance. With all the wind one could ask for, SBTRKT”s take on the popular “Lotus Flower” is average at best. Perhaps, I was expecting more as SBTRKT metaphorically closes the curtain on a project I have been obsessing over for three months.
Across specialized Radiohead forums, This series of remixes is being met with a slight shrug of the shoulders. For some, the act of remixes only delays the work on original material. Additionally the compilation boasts some hideous graphic design which is nowhere the level of craft put into the first six installments (7 looked to similar to 3). The entire series started out strong and coasted up to an equally strong finish. Perhaps I shouldn’t be upset at the lack of closure in a remix series. In fact, criticizing artwork for number 7 is a bit ridiculous. These are the type of thoughts which consume me. For some, the compilation TKOL RMX 1234567 will be collected and perhaps never listened to. For others, like myself, this is the end to a project which began three months ago. I am finished with Radiohead remixes for now. Goodnight.


TKOL RMX 6 (3.5/5)

Listen, I know its late and you have to get up in the morning but I just got this new Radiohead remix and I am not letting you sleep till we listen to it. At this point, there is no need for me to introduce this project. For the past 5 installments of The King Of Limbs remix project, Radiohead has called in a platoon of forward thinking electronic music producers. We now arrive at Act 6 which does nothing more than strengthen my resolve for Radiohead as master craftsmen of the meta record.

The decision to have venerable IDM/glitch superstars Modeselektor does not come as a surprise. In fact in a parallel universe, two tracks from the Berlin based outfit’s third album recently made their way onto the internet. The guest star for these two tracks? Thom York. Mr. York has also worked in the past with Modeselektor, namely on “the White Flash” seen on 2007’s Happy Birthday! The relationship between the two is deep and the TKOL RMX project would not be complete with out their enrollment.

The sixth volume of the series is reduced to two songs. Modeselektor’s take on “Morning  Mr. Magpie” falls in line with Pearson and Fake’s interpretation with an overriding and unmistakable beat. Modeselektor amplifies the bass into a 7 minute quasi-house anthem. In fact, the song recalls the highlights of early 90’s progressive house, specifically the work of Underworld during the antebellum days of the United Kingdom in the early 90’s. “Good Evening Mrs. Magpie” is perhaps the closest thing this project has come to dance ready single (although is still miles away from standard floor banging hit). We have progressed past the idea of a dancefloor.

Following Modeselektor’s achievements is difficult, unless you are TJ Hertz. Also based in Berlin, Objekt does not have a deep relationship with Radiohead (at least that I do not know). Objekt impressed the fuck out of everyone earlier this year with his white label release of  The Object 1 EP which includes the massive “Tinderbox” as well as the adequate “The goose that got Away. ” If listeners were hoping for a deep minimal dub step interpretation of Radiohead, I am afraid you will have to look elsewhere. Objekt’s interpretation on “Bloom” still fits with the projects propensity for the funky and garage varieties yet the sheer heaviness of the song more than makes up for the visit.

TKOL RMX 6 again scores on the higher end due to its attention to heavy bass and rhythm. While I enjoy the abstract dissolution of previous entries, attaining the middle ground between the emotional and intellectual is a difficult feat. At this point, I do not care who else is in the theater with me. I have been diligent in my reports on Radiohead remixes and this will stay true until the end. The final volume is being released in a couple of weeks and the Pinpoint readers can be sure I am throwing a party which will only have one person in attendance. Fuck everyone else. This shit is real.


TKOL RMX 5 (4/5)

The deadline for Radiohead’s King Of Limbs remix compilation TKOL RMX 1234567 is fast approaching. I would have just thrown my hands in the air surrendering to a nice concise collection if it were not for this release. TKOL RMX 5 showcases some extraordinary talent and perhaps outshines itself by having the projects best remixes in the 5th volume.
First we have the Lithuanian producer Brokenchord. Lithuania, surprisingly is experiencing a small renaissance in terms of electronic music leading to some dazzling and even frightening innovations. This fact adds to the slight humor in the fact that most people couldn’t find Lithuania on a map. Brokenchord lives up to the underground hype as his remix of “Bloom” literally pulses and beats with sticky residue. There is a deep undercurrent of dark back beats as well as an odd sample of ping pong balls which makes this remix not only unnerving but entirely enjoyable.
Altrice is an Arizona based producer who recently was brought into the spotlight as the winner of a Caribou remix contest.  Altrice briefly turns his focus to Radiohead and unlike his counterparts does not settle on one song. From what I can gather Altrice’s “TKOL” is a medley, mélange and mashup of various King Of Limbs highlights. The “Codex” piano lines zigs and zags through various fractured garage melodies leaving a haunted rendition which is not as immediately gratifying as it is intelligently nutritious. 
Altrice’s  abstract reservations contrasts the records final track by up and coming UK producer Blawan. Blawan has already been receiving showers of praise for his 2011 Bolha EP as well as his single “Getting Me Down.” Blawan has already shown himself as an artist to be reckoned with but his command of “Bloom” is downright menacing. For starters, York’s voice is slowed to a robotic crawl only to be flooded with a loud and sinister rave backbeat.
Blawan’s remix combined with the rest of the record has set a new expectation for these remixes. If past release dates are any indication then the next two installments will fall on either the 4th, 15th or 29th of August capped off by the compilation release in October. Every release gets us closer to the end of this series. I just hope everyone else is as excited and intrigued as I am right now. 


Radiohead - TKOL RMX 5 - 8, reviewed by Kaptain Carbon on 2011-12-02T07:27:00-08:00 rating 3.7 out of 5

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