Thursday 22 November 2012

Bjork - Bastards

It's fitting that this remix album is released the same week as Bjork's birthday (celebrated yesterday) and just over a year since the original release of her 'Biophilia' album.  'Bastards' is yet another component of the multi-faceted project.  The thirteen remixes have been specially selected by Bjork herself for inclusion on 'Bastards', reflecting a hotchpotch of global talent and styles.  As she sings on Virus, these remixes are dependant on her own original creations, but the artists featured here bring plenty of originality to Bjork's ode to the earth.

Some tracks twist the music in unexpected and novel directions.  The remix of Mutual Core from These New Puritans is a total re-imagining: Bjork's vocal, coupled with the chanting choir, is like a call to Mother Nature herself, the minimalist production opposing Bjork's maximal vision.  Solstice is remixed by Current Value into a wobbling sub-bass infused piece of dub-step, contrasting with the gentle nature of the original.

Other remixes remain faithful to their source and retain the character of Bjork's work.  The Hudson Mohawke Peaches and Guacamol remix of Virus retains a sense of delicacy, whilst adding rattling percussion and injections of brass.  The 16-bit remix of Hollow remains as frightening as ever.  And Matthew Herbert's remix of Mutual Core keeps the tectonic structure of Bjork's track, whilst its bloops and whirrs adds a technological slant.

The album is bookended by two remixes of Crystalline that exemplify these contrasting approaches - the album opener, from Omar Souleyman, manifests as a futuristic slice of Bollywood with bhangra beats and ethnic melodies; the closing track, from Matthew Herbert, is all wonky rhythms and much closer to the original.

What all the remixes retain is Bjork's idiosyncrasies.  For all the novel ideas, this remains Bjork at heart.  It's as if 'Biophilia' provided a musical sandbox for musicians to play in.  The result is far more than simply techno remixes - it's an album of experimentation and creativity that, like Bjork's original, is a unique listen.


Gizzle's Choice:
* Virus (Hudson Mohawke Peaches and Guacamol Remix)
* Mutual Core (These New Puritans Remix feat. Solomon is. Song)
* Crystalline (Matthew Herbert Remix)

Listen: 'Bastards' is available now.