ZEN RMX Highlights

Among the many high points of ZEN RMX, the recent Ninjatune remix compilation:

Mr. Scruff’s version of Manitoba’s “Sweetsmoke”, which sounds like Kruder & Dorfmeister scoring Heart Of Darkness.

Luke Vibert’s version of “Turtle Soup”, which couples a quirky stringy melody — and a lush summery interlude — to the classic (and curiously unbalanced) bass-and-strings loop of the original.

Cornelius’ everything-especially-the-kitchen-sink rendition of “Atomic Moog”.

The Herbaliser’s campy Bossa mix of the already-plenty-campy “Something Wicked” (is that a lift from Jimi Tenor’s “Outta Space” at the end?).

But the real highlight is Fourtet’s calamitous remix of Bonobo’s “Pick Up”, a great reminder of the strengths of 1999’s Dialogue, namely a taste for measured cacophony that Fourtet’s last two releases have sidestepped somewhat.

The first two minutes accumulate around a wonderful rounded bass tone: bits of clipped horns, brittle percussion, reversed radio interference, a shimmering guitar chord. Then there’s two minutes of free range breakbeat mayhem, while Bonobo’s synth and flute riffs are smuggled in underneath. And finally the original’s strident bass line enters to hammer home the fact that we’ve been listening to it all along. It’s a trick that Keith Jarrett specializes in: tricking you into listening to a familiar melody in an unfamiliar way, and then suddenly — quietly — restoring the original context. Except here there’s amps and breakbeats. Glorious.

There’s a stream available here, for the curious. And plenty more Ninja samples via this flyer.