By: Chris Clark
It's a little past due but we finally got around to the newest remix compilation from Sound Tribe Sector 9. As was the case with their previous studio LP, Artifact and the ensuing Artifact: Perspectives, the five-piece jamband-meets-live-electronica act returns with Peaceblaster's aptly titled Peaceblaster: The New Orleans Make It Right Remixes. Centered upon STS9's resume of recent charity work, the colossal collection features 30 DJs, bands and producers placing their own touches, thumps, samples and stickiness into the STS9 story, with 100-percent of the proceeds going towards the much beloved city of New Orleans and its revival. From their humble Georgian roots to their newfound success, STS9 has always been about a culture of community, and the Make It Right Remixes capably showcases the group's bountiful contributions to Rock Against Cancer, The Make It Right Foundation, Conscious Alliance and several others charitable foundations.
With an eclectically explosive cast of characters turning an album of jam rock meets pop electronics into certifiable bangers (with some passer-outers mixed in), Make It Right comes correct yet still manages to lack overall depth. You like glitch-hop? Try The Glitch Mob or longtime STS9 collaborator Prefuse 73's versions. How about that dirty get low? Try San Francisco's Lazer Sword or Pretty Lights' contributions. If it's hot outside you need that cool down, summer-at-the-pool remix vibes of Nosaj Thing, Welder or the smooth bass-driven soundscapes of Alex B. Highlights abound as STS9's latest starts off with a flurry but fizzles towards the end.
Lazer Sword's album-commencing remix of "Hidden Hand, Hidden Fist" is enough to make Make It Right, well, right. In three short minutes, LZ's thick-thumper rendition drops it like it's hot. SF's turbo chargers do it right and surely this is why they were selected to open an album featuring several of the freshest beat makers around the ever-burgeoning jam kid turned electronic-maniac scene. Eskmo's remix of "Shock Doctrine" takes the new STS9 staple into decidedly darker, more Daft Punk-ish territory, igniting the sonic palate as Boulder-based Big Gigantic brings "Empires" deep into Dominic Lalli's creative bag of sensual seductions. The STS9 vs. Prefuse 73 "Megaloid" remix lacked anything exciting and was followed by the Calmer reworking of "First Rays of the New Soma Sunrise" that could've been dubbed "Snooze."
Anchored by samples of Hunter Brown's distortion-laden guitar riff, The Glitch Mob's ultra L.A. take on "Beyond Right Now" takes a decent rocktronic tune and turns it on its head with enough blaps and gadgetry to make all the club kids say uh. Remix albums are about reworking content and making it flow, and here we find a seamless transition into one of the album's highlights, Welder's "Shock Doctrine." Starting off a meandering, melancholic mosaic, Welder quickly dives into a brief collage of driving funk with shades of the original's midsection - one of the true great musical moments on Peaceblaster.
A portion of the way through Make It Right the feeling surfaces that this is the music STS9 would like to make. Bluetech makes a subtle appearance, offering his delicate style of body-swayers right before Alex B of the Pnuma Trio takes "Metameme," one of the quality songs off Peaceblaster, and thrusts it into a hip hop head space. You know, that bob your head back and forth to the beat, moving as if you just can't control it thing? This definitely one of the album's defining moments.
After gliding, frankly bored, through the next four tracks, thinking, "Maybe I'll turn this off (with a yawn or two)," Nosaj Thing takes his turn at "Empires," offering his trademark melodious mood mix before Pretty Lights turned the lights out with "Beyond Right Now." Something about that doo doo in your drawers bass he's getting so acclimated to these days is enough to take any mediocre song and turn it into something more. Another S.F. artist, The Flying Skulls, bring Abstract Rude to the party, while Count Bass D's slick cut of "Late for Work" enjoys a big smile and hello, coupled with some high hat and a sliver of casting couch funk. It's in the last half of Make It Right that my ears began to bore and I started to tire from the more-than-mellow monotony. At this point I was wondering, "Where's the dub step?" Ah, there it is in Bass Science's remix of "The New Soma," a far departure from the STS9 original, illuminated with a healthy dose of big bass and a few blaps, glitches and fuzziness. The Pnuma Trio closes out Make It Right with the smooth sounds of "Late for Work," and I'm left feeling that I enjoyed this album much more than the original.
That's the thing with remix albums, you may find something more in the band that's remixed, or you may find that what they do is just try to be something else. This time I'm left feeling somewhere in between.
JamBase | Tweaked
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