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LCD Soundsystem
45:33 Remixes Lee Arizuno , September 24th, 2009 11:01

"I've always complained about there being too many remixes," James Murphy told me a couple of years ago, explaining his decision to commission John Cale and Franz Ferdinand to cover 'All My Friends' instead of rolling out the usual slew of market-pleasing re-rubs. But since then his DFA label seems to have changed tack, diversifying to knock out numerous small-run, increasingly DJ-targeted 12"s and leaving the grand creative gestures and artist-development schemes on the back burner.

So the appearance of this set of remixes is not such a surprise. Neither, unfortunately, is the overall lack of surprise – of the anarchic play of ideas that's always distinguished Murphy and Tim Goldsworthy's own output – contained within. Where 45.33 itself was a tightly crafted disco odyssey ostensibly designed to match the pace of a session on the cross trainer from warm-up to final endorphin shower, 45.33 Remixes is nothing so ambitious. The collection doesn't, as some publicity claims, present re-imagined versions of the original's stages in order – its elements are actually jumbled up throughout, with a couple of remixers exercising their privilege to dispose with the original almost entirely. And while the DFA team's own, monumental remixes of other artists have provided some of their strongest, strangest moments – turning nice-enough source material from Blues Explosion, Junior Senior and Gorillaz into nimbly brash dancefloor manifestos crammed with bold, unorthodox ideas – remixes of the pair's output as LCD Soundsystem have tended to reverse the process, smoothing off the awkward edges to leave something more generic. (Only Lindstrøm has successfully played them at their own game, doing his best to transform 'Tribulations' into the heir of Donna Summer's 'I Feel Love'.) You sense that Murphy's solid rhythms and Goldsworthy's meandering, transformative programming had already been worked so hard that there was little room for manouevre in either direction.

Still, there are honourable exceptions. Trus'me segues from a muscular, Detroit-informed mutation of 45.33's 'outer space' section into its deep soul intro passage, infused here with dreamy disco vibes; it's pure gold. In contrast, while it's a real coup to have that old master at a similar game, Theo Parrish, on board for a remix that boasts that unfathomable low-end few others can master, the stabby, shabby keyboard top-end throughout falls the wrong side of 'fannying about'. Shame. Still, Prince Language offers an insouciant counterpart to Murphy/Goldsworthy's more declarative long-form track transformations, airing out the 45.33 intro section and letting it build subtly and steadily toward a clubbier insistence.

Knowing what you're getting isn't always a bad thing, of course: Prins Thomas playing to his strengths - his 'Diskomiks' is a pleasure - and Riley Reinhold's minimal pulse pleasant enough. Pilooski, on the other hand, comes a cropper, aiming for perky house but falling flaccid. Similarly, Padded Cell's attempt to pull the track back in the direction of DFA's early death disco days strands them in a no man's land between groove and abrasiveness; the alchemical mix of the two proves elusive here. And Runaway's gently trancey take, once heard, will never be remembered. Nevertheless, reports that the LCD massive holed up in an LA mansion this year, dressed in uniform white, to work on album number three suggest that grander gestures will follow before long.