At some point — and it’s impossible to determine exactly when or where — indelibility became the enemy of contemporary music. Artists subject their songs to constant deconstruction and reinterpretation, and elements as essential as hooks and lyrics are rendered fungible. Mix, remix, repeat. Some are able to brace this new aesthetic and recreate something fresh and visionary, whether out of inspiration, collaboration or, better still, inspired collaboration. Others are content to belch out a quick cash-in to postpone cobbling together new ideas. The title of Junior Boys’ remix EP Dead Horse alludes to its nature as potential contractual-obligation filler, but the five do-overs on display here are quite lively indeed.
Jeremy Greenspan and Matt Didemus turned over four tracks off last year’s ruminative dance opus, So This Is Goodbye, and are well-compensated with five distinctive takes. Hot Chip keeps the dripping icicle synths of “In the Morning” but hastens the melting process by infusing the track with uncharacteristic warmth. Carl Craig goes in the opposite direction with his unnerving ten-minute minor-key take on “Like a Child,” which makes being childlike seem to be a most undesirable state. And Kode 9’s dub-drenched “Double Shadow” has a heightened sense of urgency. Dead Horse contains two remixes of “FM,” one that reaches for euphoria (Tensnake) and the other acting as the inevitable comedown (Marsen Jules).
As is the case with almost all remix albums/EPs, Dead Horse is unlikely to permanently unseat So This Is Goodbye, but it works as a solid, beat-heavy rediscovery of one of 2006’s better albums.