Take a quick look at the Bloody Beetroots’ official catalogue and you may be mystified as to why they’ve released an 18-track best-of collection. After just one full-length and a handful of EPs? What unparalleled audacity! But Bob Rifo and Tommy Tea, the masked Italian DJs that form the Beetroots, have never been, nor will they ever be, an album band. Their true platform is the blunt force trauma of their live show, and all of their work to date has precipitated expressly for the purpose of bowling over crowds of twentysomething Italo-house addicts in dance tents. To promote their live show, the Bloody Beetroots have preferred the viral route. If you’ve been plugged into the teaming mass of blogs and hype sites that have been pushing the Bloody Beetroots’ trademark combination of stomach-collapsing bass pulsations and 8-bit power chords since 2006, most especially on an overwhelming wealth of artist-endorsed remixes (60-plus floating around the web as of this writing), then the release of Best Of… Remixes is not in the least bit surprising. In fact, it’s perhaps necessary in order to accurately profile the Beetroots.
Despite the ridiculous bounty of song reworkings the duo has produced in five years, the sound of a Bloody Beetroots remix has always remained consistent. A strength for the Beetroots is that they’ve never been outshined by their source material: Rifo and Tea really do reconstruct nearly every song they’ve built on, using the original track for working parts and odds and ends like audio mechanics before chopping and screwing the song until the beats are schizophrenic and the vocals sound like chipmunks put behind a Darth Vader vocoder. Best Of… Remixes is more of a box of tools for aspiring DJs than it is a cohesive artistic statement, and listening to this record, it’s clear that these remixes were made to be encountered individually rather than as a cohesive collected work. The flow from one track to the next is often bumpy and obviously cut and pasted together.
Rather than looking at this collection as an album, perhaps it’s more suitable to regard it as if it were a DJ crate of 12-inches in a digital format. You’ll shuffle through these tracks, and some will astound you, while some will sound extraneous and repetitve. Reworkings of Goose’s “Black Gloves,” Proxy’s “Who Are You?,” and MSTRKRFT’s “Bounce” all showcase the Beetroots at their jittery, ear-splitting best, but the hulking kaiju monster of these proceedings is the remix of U-God’s “Stomp Da Roach.” Under three minutes long, “Stomp Da Roach” is flat out evil, resurrecting a Zeppelin “Kashmir”-esque swagger and blowing it up into a big flickering LED laser show guided by the indomitable tao of the Wu.
There’s a lot more cues from Jimmy Page on Best Of… Remixes than one would typically expect from an Italian dance act, but that cover shot of a man on stage bowing to his guitar is no coincidence. Like Zeppelin, the Bloody Beetroots have a provocative, hulking sound that aspires for arenas, and this collection’s best tracks earn their stripes as stadium anthems. Half of these cuts are keepers, half will get lost in your iPod shuffle, but the sound is damned impressive. They might not speak the language of nuanced, full-length artistic statements, but the Bloody vikings that come from the land of Italian ice and snow just want to rape and pillage anyway.