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Ninja Tune Remix Retrospective
"Zen RMX"
by: Zero Sharp

Over the last ten years, Ninja Tune has been enough of a backbone to the electronic music scene that they even basically have a genre named after them. Along with the cool tour down memory lane that was recently released, Ninja Tune released a two CD collection of remixes of some of their tracks across the years. The crew of remixers includes Coldcut and DJ Food themselves, as would be expected, however, they pulled in many big guns for this one. Squarepusher is here, as is Four Tet, Manitoba, and Sixtoo. Wagon Christ and his alter ego Luke Vibert also both show up as remixers. I was only familiar with some of the songs so I don't know how altered the results are, however, many of the tracks here are strong.

The first of the two discs starts with a Cornelius remix of Atomic Moog originally by Coldcut. The track comes out sounding like praise of the Moog in a neat hip-hop style. DJ Food's "Scratch yer Head" gets the Squarepusher drill and bass treatment, leaving the track very precise with that measured insanity that Squarepusher brings so well. I almost prefer the original, however, Squarepusher's style and complex while simple beat sense never ceases to dazzle. He then shows his versatility by masterfully creating some down home electronic hip-hop on the next track. Fourtet also shows his mastery of beats creating an almost chaotic weave out of the drums on Bonobo's "Pick Up". The now famous Jamie Hodge remix of the DJ Vadim classic "USSR Reconstruction" is here, as is Luke Vibert's remix of "Turtle Soup." The Cinematic Orchestra also gets its tracks reconstructed, with special note to the laid-back, soundscapes giving way to free jazz interpretation of "Evolution II" appearing on the second CD. Manitoba breaks the mold putting out an almost house remix of Mr. Scruff's "Sweetsmoke," and Coldcut gives a superb remix of Fog's "Pneumonia," working IDM into hip-hop singing. In all, this CD set's more than worth it, as are the other two offerings by Ninja Tune in this anniversary set of releases. The filler is few and far between in this incredible compilation, and although it's too early to say, this is a solid contender for compilation of the year.



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