I’m going to do something that bugs the crap out of me in music writing and break one of my own unwritten rules. I’m going to talk about myself. I hope by the time you get to the end of the review you’ll see why.
I fucking hate remix albums. Can’t be fucking arsed, and I’ve only properly ever bothered with three of them, of which two I actually like (go figure) – Linkin Park’s ‘Reanimation’ and Die Krupps’ II – The Final Remixes, though the third, Remanufacture can bog right off. I don’t particularly “do” or care for dancey or electronic music, and I don’t really have the frame of references, so I’m not going to patronise you, or myself, by guessing or pretending to have more than a superficial understanding of the styles of music these tunes have been adapted to.
OK, stepping back behind the fourth wall and sitting back down… One of the (other) unwritten rules some smart arses love to pedal is that it truly shows that a song is a genuinely good one if you can rip it from its original trappings and endowments and present it in a different, usually barer format and it still stand true. So, all that bollocks said, and it comes down to this; The Mindsweep: Hospitalised don’t ‘alf prove them smart arses right. While The Mindsweep¸ a cracking album, is the better version, the new presentations, for the most part stripping the vitriol of the origin and refracting the tunes, do showcase the quality songwriters Enter Shikarihave developed into.
Following the original tracklist, first track ‘The Appeal and The Mindsweep I’ (Metrik), with guitars replaced, and with beats tricky, works superbly to ease the mind into accepting the styles incoming. Other highlights include, ‘The Anaesthetist’, the original albums’ tribute to The Prodigy, is spread out by Reso, now running through treacle, and becomes a warped spiral of a jogging on a treadmill tinnitus breakout, ‘Never Let Go Of The Microscope’ (Etherwood) grimes and judders and Hugh Hardie’s remix of ‘Torn Apart’ plays with the pop-epica of the original, nodding its way through to the end with an understated smile. ‘The Bank of England’ (Lynx) and ‘There’s A Price On Your Head’ (Danny Byrd) casually saunter, teaming up with a subtle ‘Dear Future Historians’ (London Elektricity) as a reflective, effective trio late on in the album, though perhaps the Erised remix of ‘Interlude’ is the best reinterpretation, bringing in a cool female vocal and working the basics into a whole new song.
The Mindsweep: Hospitalised sees artists from Shikari’s label, Hospital Records, rework their newest album, and while the quality and allure vary, it is actually a probing and stimulating release that further enhances the reputation of its originators as a group that has grown into a set of songwriters par excellence, and sees this curio as a valid sister release to the original.
So… guess that makes it three I can be bothered with, then.