The members of Ratatat have apparently figured out what makes so many of the remix albums out there bad: lack of purpose. Generally, remixes are unnecessary if they fail to improve upon — or at least explore some previously unthought-of aspect of — the original. But the same attention to detail that made the duo’s eponymous debut so thrilling is given to the source tracks of Remixes Vol. II. The real surprise, however, is the songs they’ve chosen to reinvent. Whereas the first volume allowed the underground to rub elbows with the mainstream, the second volume is all glitz, and the results are glamorous.
Ratatat’s signature baroque-synth-and-guitar style meshes with the likes of Young Buck, Kanye West and Devin the Dude without forcing itself onto those tracks awkwardly. Notorious B.I.G.’s classic “Party & Bullshit” trades in aggression for ultra-aggression via an abrasive guitar lead and violent break-beat, and Memphis Bleek’s “Alright” is transformed into the best breathy synth-track that Pharrell had nothing to do with. Considering everybody that you’ve ever met has remixed The Black Album, it’s amazing that the real highpoint is the reinvention of Jay-Z’s “Allure.” The original’s blunted chorus is stripped away, and a new verse by Biggie is added, laced over a tortured guitar motif.
Remixes Vol. II is being released in limited quantities, which seems strange, because it could be the demo tape that gets Ratatat producing major-label tracks for all the heavy-hitters.
Notorious B.I.G. “Party & Bullshit” remix MP3: http://ratatatmusic.com/mp3/02%20Party%20and%20Bullshit%20(Ratatat%20remix).mp3
Jay-Z & Notorious B.I.G. “Allure” remix MP3:
Z-Ro, Devin the Dude & Juvenile “The Mule” remix MP3: