By this point in their career, Radiohead are more familiar with the rinse than the inventor of the twin tub, but their latest is a hefty (double-disc) and extensive (19 tracks) project even by their standards. Here, ten tunes from The King of Limbs are remixed by various electronic producers currently getting the thumbs-up from the band. Over the summer, one new 12-inch rework was released every fortnight; this LP gathers those tracks together. ‘I was really curious to see how the people I was listening to so much would use what we gave them,’ Thom Yorke recently explained.
‘I wanted to see how the songs could really branch out and mutate.’ And mutate they have. Some to an extreme and thrillingly monstrous degree, now so warped as to be barely recognisable from the original. To compare each remix with its source is to miss the point; all are box-fresh, stand-alone creations – even if the band’s DNA can sometimes be detected – and ear-tweaking contemporaneity springs from every groove. Given the leftfield talent involved, that’s no great surprise – Radiohead were hardly likely to invite Calvin Harris on board.
Broadly speaking, the sharper, brighter tunes are sorted from the moodier, more opaque tracks, creating one ‘daytime’ disc and one ‘late-night’ disc. Which means a shift from avant electronica producers like Mark Pritchard (whose terrific take on ‘Bloom’ is one of five takes on the track) and Four Tet to ‘gutter house’/postdubstep artists such as Blawan (his dystopian ‘Bloom’ is a killer) and Anstam, whose ‘Separator’ lays snatches of Yorke’s vocal on a soundbed of symphonic crackle. Respect due to both Radiohead for their ever-elastic creativity and these remixers for their bright-eyed adventurism. Long may they all tinker.