Radiohead – TKOL RMX2 Radiohead – TKOL RMX2

Radiohead - TKOL RMX2

The reason I give Radiohead so much attention does not lie in blind devotion to every single imprint offered. Well. Maybe just a little. Recently, I reviewed the first offering in a proposed series of remixes from the King Of Limbs album. TKOL RMX1 gave the audience remixes by Caribou and Jacques Green which was a spectacular look a project helmed by producers in the electronic music world. The second series does nothing more than establish this project as an interesting stroll into a Radiohead universe — one where King Of Limbs is expanded into sprawling cityscapes.

Stepping up to bat are two producers under three monikers ( I will get to that later). The first is Nathan Fake, an English IDM producer who has had moderate success with the the release of 2006’s Drowning in a Sea of Love. It seems fitting that Fake takes “Morning Mr. Magpie” as the original was disjointed only held together by magic glue. Fake’s remix retains that complication but with a more focused IDM groove. The song begins unraveling with flares of psychedelic synth and found percussion. Fake’s low end does not make its appearance until later with the ever growing hint of a full trance breakout. For all of its possibilities, Fake’s remix neither compliments the song nor adds to it. “Morning Mr. Magpie” is an incredibly difficult song to remix and Fake’s dedication to the source material is passable if unnoticeable.

Rounding out the bottom half of the release is Mark Pritchard. Under two stage names, Pritchard embraces the opening track “Bloom” and takes it in two different directions. Pritchard, under multiple aliases, has been making forward thinking electronic music for two decades. In the mid 90’s, Pritchard was involved in Global Communication, an ambient group who is still referenced today for the release of the genre defining 76:14. 14 years later, Pritchard, under the alias Harmonic 313, released When Machines Exceed Human Intelligence which was a dazzling mediation on dark electronic created with hip hop beats. It is odd to discuss Pritchard’s past because his work as “Mark Pritchard” and “Harmonic 313” gives little indication of the work which soon follows.

Harmonic 313’s remix of “Bloom” recalls Pritchard’s earlier work with Global Communication as his version opens an ambient world crawling with strange yet docile creatures. When compared to Fake’s remix, Harmonic 313’s work with “Bloom” erases most of the source material leaving only traces and echoes to fill the space. The new “Bloom” is an eerie journey through lands once inhabited by Radiohead. The use of the moog like alien voices give the track a haunting yet versatile quality which goes above and beyond the qualifications of a remix.

Pritchard returns as himself with the second remix of “Bloom,” which is by far the weirdest and best entry on the release. Radiohead’s influences are vast but have been linked to the nebulous world of Krautrock. Krautrock, for anyone interested, was a style of electronic and experimental music made in Germany during the early 70’s. The style was incredibly diverse leading to venerable acts such as Kraftwerk, Can, Neu! And Faust. Pritchard’s last remix is nothing more than a complete surrender and tribute to the whacked out electronic music which stalked the German country side 40 years ago. Pritchard retains the structure of the song only in an attempt to bring it to push it into the cosmos. There is a constant and repetitive motion in Pritchard’s “Bloom” which allows Radiohead’s latent influences to fully manifest. Pritchard’s work with “Bloom” transforms the song into the idealistic goal of a remix — a reinterpretation of an existing song which in essence becomes its own vision. Like the great writers of contemporary comic books, reestablishment of great characters and scenarios are given the right to be heralded and praised.

These series of remixes are perhaps not for everyone as some people could care less about electronic interpretations of songs they already know. For those interested in the world of electronic music, the Radiohead remixes are a social gathering for high end producers you may have not have been familiar with. The breadth and extent Radiohead goes to pull odd yet creative artists to reinterpret songs only adds to their character. And while these remixes are only secondary to King of Limbs and will perhaps only occupy a second disc on a potential re-release, for now at least it has my interest and perhaps the interest of other like minded individuals.

Morning Mr Magpie (Nathan Fake RMX)
Bloom (Harmonic 313 RMX)
Bloom (Mark Pritchard RMX)

Radiohead - TKOL RMX2, reviewed by Kaptain Carbon on 2011-07-19T10:36:49-07:00 rating 3.5 out of 5

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