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Out May 12th
After the success of Silent Alarm Remixed I think Bloc Party (pretty clearly) wrote Intimacy’s songs with the back-of-the-head idea that they were also gonna get the remix treatment. I mean, listen to the original “Mercury.” It’s full of loops, sequencer beats, and vocal cuts. It’s a pretty good idea, although the source material still needs to be strong for it to actually succeed.
The album opens right with “Ares (Villains Remix).” It’s night & day from its prickly sister song off of the original, and I like it loads more. The Villains remove some of the sharpness, and replace it with tone and bass highlighting “Ares’” strengths. There was a lot of texture in the original, in fact, I think there was far too much. The remix, while not taking away any of the excitement of the original, gives it some needed consistency and smoothness (although, I do miss the echo chants).
[audio=http://pmatunes.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/01-ares-villains-remix.mp3,_Bloc Party - Ares (Villains Remix),download]
“Signs (Armand Van Helden Remix),” to me, is far and away THE track on this album. I don’t necessarily like this version better than the original, but I love the creativity employed here and the direction AVH took it. From EQ dead zones to naked snares, it’s an absolute success. The introduction of a driven backbeat to such a depressing subject is stylistically and musically solid.
[audio=http://pmatunes.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/06-signs-armand-van-helden-remix.mp3,_Bloc Party - Signs (Armand Van Helden Remix),download]
If you wanna talk about frenetic change of album pace, take a listen to “Trojan Horse (John B Remix).” This is what it sounds like in the delivery room when euro-disco and Bloc Party have a lovechild. It’s a great beat, and it seems to fit the mood of the lyrics. One of the highlights of the song is the bridge about 1.30 in that introspectively slows things down (without killing tempo a bit), before ratcheting things back to the breakneck emotional world that the song actually lives in. One thing I love about this album, is that it’s full of songs that are ready to get you pumped up. “Trojan Horse” would be a great song to throw on before heading out for the night.
Bloc Party makes pretty dancey songs, but the remix album gives the new artist a second chance to refine the rocky parts that found their way into the original. It’s always cool to see the subtle enhancements of an already good song. “Talons (Phones R.I.P. Mix)” is a perfect example. With synthesizers-a-plenty, the song loses a few of its sharp edges, but gains an awful lot of danceability with the change. I like the fading synths and the uneven voice manipulation that the Phones use. Unfortunately, besides Talons, the back side of the album is definitely weaker than the front half and I found myself moving through these songs much more quickly than I did “Trojan Horse” or “Ares.” Don’t know if it’s album bias on my part or not (the idea that the best songs are always front loaded), but I think the record certainly begins to decrescendo after “Signs.”
[audio=http://pmatunes.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/09-talons-phones-rip-mix.mp3,_Bloc Party - Talons (Phones R.I.P. Mix),download]
I actually like Intimacy Remixed more than (the good) source Intimacy but less than either of the great Silent Alarm albums. I applaud Bloc Party for the continued desire to push the music (fans love this sorta thing) and for making their music available to be remixed, but the album ultimately feels a bit shallow when listening all the way through. The first half is full of highlights, but towards the end the songs begin to feel tedious with too much euro filler. I know DJ’s like the long lead times (it gives them a lot to work with), so you can’t really blame anyone for mixing it that way (and to be fair, almost any of these songs would play well in a club). Still, if you’re listening at work, in the car, or at home I think you’ll eventually find the disc spinning a bit tired by the time you reach the end.
To enter to win a copy of Bloc Party’s Intimacy Remixed, leave a comment with your thoughts on the album. Make sure you leave your name/email address in the provided fields! Entries will be accepted until May 24th