Casino Classics: the Remix Album Import
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This is evidenced here by the cutting edge remixers they commissioned for the numerous white labels and B-sides they released and some they didn't. Some of the best are gathered within these covers: The Chemical Brothers, Secret Knowledge (Kris Needs), The Aloof (Jagz Kooner), Andrew Weatherall, The Aphex Twin, David Holmes, Death In Vegas, Lionrock, Underworld and Broadcast, many of them still unknown names at the time.
The highly anthologised Weatherall "mix in two halves" of Neil Young's Only Love Can Break Your Heart is present and correct as is the mighty 14 minute version of Cool Kids Of Death remixed by Underworld and the famous Trouser Assassin mix of Pale Movie.
Disc 1 begins and ends with versions of Like A Motorway, while Disc 2 bookends versions of a new song called Angel and features several other new songs and mixes, including the best track of all, a Monkey Mafia reworking of a 1991 B-side called Filthy, featuring the vocals of Q-Tee and a sample of Tone-Loc's Wild Thing
The 10-minute opus "Pale Movie" remix by Kris Needs, however, is pure brilliance; a perfect amalgam of looping, soft violins, trancey electronic warbling, pounding beats, and Sarah Cracknell's vision of a "moody" boy and a "sunshine" girl, their bed, dreams like a movie, whispered in the sweet antithesis of the archetypal house diva. A random, tossed-in soap opera sample -- "There've been times in my life when I've been up, and I've been down" -- turns the whole mix into a veritable anthem for everything on God's good earth. Daaaaaamn.
This was the first St. Etienne album I heard, and honestly, after listening to the best of these tracks for a week, hearing the original LPs was quite a letdown. They're pretty and all, but my youthful thirst for continuous, fat beats brings me back to the "Classics". I don't mean to be disparaging towards the group at all, though -- there's clearly something about their music that inspires the clever artists showcased here to construct tracks that deeply, deeply outclass most of the dance music I get exposed to...
Like most listeners, I didn't really think much of the Like A Motorway remixes. My favorite tracks, though, were He's On The Phone (I hadn't heard the original of this one, so it was a great surprise), and the remix of Filthy. The Filthy remix is much different from anything else on the album - its roots are in big beat techno as opposed to Abba-type pop. It totally rocks! However, I guess the big beat style is at odds with many Saint Etienne's fans tastes. Oh well.
If you are a Saint Etienne fan, however, I'm sure you'll find at least half of the material is worthwhile. The remixes are well selected, and rarely induce listener boredom.