Diplo

    Decent Work For Decent Pay: Selected Works Volume 1

    6.5

    Decent Work for Decent Pay is a snapshot of what Diplo has been up to since his career-starter, 2004’s Florida. He has been frighteningly prolific, pumping out remixes, touring the world, and even producing a few tracks of his own. A compilation of Diplo’s mercurial output (or compensation, as "Work for Pay" implies) is de rigueur for such a prolific, genre-shifting artist. But Decent Work for Decent Pay, a slipshod mélange of long-overdue remixes, is not what we’re looking for.

     

    Unless you’ve been living in Kyrgyzstan without an Internet connection for the past few years, you likely wore out most of the tracks on Decent Work for Decent Pay long ago. Adding to the redundancy, the remixer here is prone to erratic self-indulgence. Do we really need another version of "Paper Planes" or an extended edit of Samim’s "Heater"? And, for as original and fun as Diplo’s work often is, some of these songs sounded better in their original form (CSS’s "Let’s Make Love," Peter Bjorn & John’s "Young Folks").

     

    Luckily, among the remixes are some gems that Diplo actually produced. On "Reload It" Diplo stitches together three different tempos. Half-time is his niche, as here the rhythm of the opening guitar riff is sliced by an enormous drum break that bounces over the top with Kano’s vocal.

     

    Another Diplo original, "Way More Brazil," sounds like a cut straight from 2005’s brilliant Favela Strikes Back. For my money, Diplo did his most bombastic beat matching on that obscure mix of Brazilian ghetto beats and street vocals. That’s why his production on Bonde Do Role’s "Solta O Frango," which shows up here, was great — back in 2006, when it first surfaced.

    Once an afterthought on an album’s track listing, the remix is now possibly the most widely circulated musical commodity. So, amid the insatiable maw of remixes and mash-ups, restraint should be the name of the game. Rapacious as we may be, we can handle only so many versions of "Paper Planes."

     

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