If you happen to be a Spiritualized überfan like me — or even just someone who has any sort of cursory familiarity with Jason Pierce and his oeuvre — you might have been rather taken aback to find that Australian electro plodders Cut Copy somehow convinced him to do a remix of their song “Free Your Mind.” The remix, it must be said, is a pretty fine piece of work, and it got us thinking about other unlikely remixes from over the years that have somehow worked a treat. We’ve put together a playlist of such unexpected gems — click through and check out our choices (and, y’know, feel free to add to the list if so inclined).
Cut Copy — “Free Your Mind” (Spiritualized remix)
I’ll be honest — I like this because it sounds like a Spiritualized song. So it goes.
Le Tigre — “Deceptacon” (DFA remix)
James Murphy has been responsible for some fantastic remixes over the years — M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes,” in particular, along with tracks by Gorillaz, Hot Chip, Fischerspooner, and various others — but this is surely his finest moment. It takes the nightmarish vocal from Le Tigre’s enduringly awesome “Deceptacon” and sets it over a bouncing beat and decidedly jaunty bassline. It shouldn’t work. But it does.
Nas/Godspeed You! Black Emperor — “It Ain’t Hard to Tell” (Four Tet remix)
Kieran Hebden mixes the closing track from the immortal Illmatic with an excerpt from the second disc of Levez Vos Skinny Fists Comme Antennas to Heaven. Genre-destroying awesomeness ensues.
Suzanne Vega — “Blood Makes Noise” (Clivilles and Coles remix)
Vega purists will probably recoil in horror at the way this track has been broken down and reassembled as a pretty banging house track — although, in fairness, the original was uncharacteristically dance-floor friendly, too, especially for a song that appears to be about panic attacks. But anyway, if you take the remix on its own merits, well, it’s pretty ace, no?
The B-52’s — “Tell It Like It T-I-Is” (MK dub)
Also on the unexpected dance-floor remix front: a generally unheralded B-52’s track gets reinvented as a thumping house anthem by Detroit maestro Marc “MK” Kinchen. Kinchen’s been responsible for a heap of unlikely house mixes over the years — this is one of the best.
Stone Roses — “Made of Stone” (808 State remix)
The two great strands of late-’80s/early-’90s English counterculture are united in one belting remix, with Roland-lovin’ acid house pioneers 808 State reworking one of the Stone Roses’ best tracks as a breakbeat-driven indie dance-floor anthem.
Phoenix — “Entertainment” (Dinosaur Jr. remix)
Almost a cover version, really, given how little resemblance it bears to the original. But it’s billed as a remix, and it’s a pretty impressive demonstration of how a song can be reinvented in a completely different form, and yet still work beautifully.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs — “Zero” (Animal Collective remix)
See also: the way Animal Collective completely disassemble the best track on It’s Blitz and then reinvent it as a sort of psychedelic latter-day dubplate. You’re not gonna dance to it, but if you’ve got a handy stash of psychoactive drugs, then it might just make your night.
Midlake — “Roscoe” (Beyond the Wizard’s Sleeve remix)
Erol Alkan’s remixes are always quality, and his remix of the one really good Midlake song works a treat, sampling the song’s distinctive synth intro and using it as the basis for a long, spaced-out, and largely instrumental track.
Eminem — “Lose Yourself” (Punjabi MC remix)
And finally, um… Eminem goes bhangra? Sure, why not?
Eric B & Rakim — “Paid In Full” (Coldcut remix)
A classic. Just because.