If you think re-mix albums are a passe vestige of the 1990s, you are not alone. I think back to an earlier time when the lines between early club DJ’s, Factory-era bliss, and the birth of real industrial heavy music bled into a Bermuda Triangle of thrills. Sometimes the results were tepid, sometimes they were amazing; and once the music industry knew there was an audience for them; re-mix albums became a commodity. Fast-forward to Maynard James Keenan‘s troupe Puscifer, and along with his many cohorts evolved things to back to where it came from. Within just a handful of releases, Puscifer has made the remix part of the lexicon of the band, as much their standard form albums.
All Remixed Up (Puscifer Entertainment) flies in the face of convention, reinterpreting the entire Conditions of My Parole album from 2011, with much of the writing and performing cast returning, as well as some surprising guests. Keenan is joined by his usual composing partners of Mat Mitchell, Josh Eustis, Allain Johannes (Eleven, QOTSA), Carina Round, and Rani Sharon (Stolen Babies). Some of the songs are cleverly re-worked with some variations on the original theme. Others are in stark contrast, with just trace elements of musical DNA remaining. ‘Telling Ghosts (Giorgia O’Queef mix)’ as re-mixed by Round, is a true revelation. Round is the secret weapon of the band, using her powerhouse voice to trade verses with Keenan. Keenan will often match his own vocal lines off of hers, which has to be quite the compliment to her. This track exemplifies the approach of the band, where everyone has a chance to shine, where they can make the difference for the better of the song.
Remixing is not always about radically changing the make up of a song, but more like creating a new presentation, like a chef would. ‘The Green Valley (Verde River Maestro 507 mix)’ remixed by Sharone, ‘Man Overboard (11AD remix)’ by Johannes, and ‘Oceans (Green Mussel Mix)’ by Zac Rae all have an ethereal quality that stays with you long after listening to them. Kudos also go to standout mixes by Sir-Mix-A-Lot, and Aaron Harris of PALMS/ISIS. All the while, the music never takes itself too seriously, keeping the undercurrent of intellect, and tongue in cheek humor ever-present in the band. In typical Keenan fashion, he never fails to surprise, be it is his production choices, or quality of collaborators. He has re-mixed the concept of the re-mix album; as way to deepen the listeners’ relationship to the artist, and each album.
Keith (Keefy) Chachkes