Album: Orb

Auntie Aubrey's Excursions beyond the Call of Duty Part 2, Deviant
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The Independent Culture

Most remixers approach their task with the sensibilities of an army barber, ready to cut away the whiskery bits to leave a track neatly trimmed and presentable for parade duty in chart or club. Few dare to bring less commercial inclinations to bear. In the hands of The Orb, however, the remix can be thought of as the song relaxing with a cup of tea, a packet of Hobnobs and a spliff, and unspooling its elements into new and often unrecognisable shapes, alongside whatever sonic detritus Alex Paterson & Co have dredged up recently. Sometimes, the original artist is so hidden in the mix that the track is effectively a completely new construction. Take the version of The KLF's "3am Eternal" which opens this compilation of their remix work: there are four minutes of backward vocals, croaking frogs, chirping birds, jungle noises and a hefty chunk of "The Blue Danube" before anything recognisably KLF appears. Ironically, they're often at their best on the least obvious material: where their reworkings of the likes of Mike Oldfield, Primal Scream and System 7 follow predictable paths, their mix of Lisa Stansfield's "Time To Make You Mine" pleasingly reduces the singer's presence to a ghostly whisper in the machine groove, while the heavy dub tread of Penguin Café Orchestra's "Music For A Found Harmonium" gives it an entirely new slant. It's not always the case; as with the perfunctory treatment of Robbie Williams' "I Started A Joke"; then again, it would take more than a remix to make that palatable.