On the surface, it sounds like a neat idea – you ask a celebrity DJ or remixer to assemble a bunch of their formative favorites, those singles that got them interested in the business, and put their own spin on them, literally. That’s the idea behind the Back To Mine series, which has thus far cranked out a couple dozen of these compilations. They’re basically mixtapes on CD, assembled by the likes of Danny Tenaglia, Orbital, an so on. When a Back To Mine CD was announced, with a playlist personally picked out by those Norwegian masters of the downtempo genre, Royksopp, I thought I’d give it a try.
On the one hand, it’s interesting to hear the tunes that make Royksopp tick. With a playlist that goes from Talking Heads to Mike Oldfield Art Of Noise to Funkadelic, and stuff in between that I either haven’t heard in decades or have never heard of at all, there seems to be the promise of quite a fun ride. The other promise, though – that Royksopp will be giving you that guided tour and putting their own spin on things – is only partly fulfilled. I was eager to hear Art Of Noise a la Royksopp, simply because the collision of two of my favorite acts is a nearly irresistible proposition. Imagine my disappoint when Art Of Noise a la Royksopp turns out to be a short, exceedingly simple edit, sped up so it’s in the right key to dovetail with the tracks before and after it.
Some of these songs really do get the Royksopp treatment, such as Sphinx, which is transformed in much the same way that an obscure cover of Bacharach’s “Blue On Blue” was transformed into “So Easy” on Melody A.M.. I was amused to see a track by Emmanuel Splice slipped into the running order, that act being Royksopp itself under a pseudonym, effectively meaning that the track in question is Royksopp remixing Royksopp. But for the most part, it really does come across as a mixtape, with both the favorable and unfavorable things associated with that. You get to hear a lot of music and, like the weather, if you don’t like it, wait two minutes and it’ll change. But when the name “Royksopp” is what’s drawing people to this CD, and there isn’t that much Royksopp in evidence, it smacks of a cheaply licensed throwaway compilation.
The selection of material is fine, but the scarcity of actual Royksopp remixing on what’s touted as an album of tunes remixed by Royksopp counts off some major, major points. Do yourself a favor, pass on this one, and wait for the group’s next original studio effort instead.
- Born Under Punches (The Heat Goes On) performed by Talking Heads (3:34)
- Sphinx performed by Harry Thumann (2:33)
- One More Round performed by Kasso (2:35)
- Ma Quale Idea performed by Pino D’Angino (3:54)
- Above And Beyond performed by Edgar Winter (1:38)
- Off Side performed by Ray Mang & Nathan D’Troit (1:37)
- Take A Chance performed by Mr. Flagio (4:22)
- Platinum (Part 3: Charleston) performed by Mike Oldfield (1:20)
- Meatball performed by Emmanuel Splice (2:53)
- That’s Hot performed by Jesse G (4:25)
- Legs performed by Art Of Noise (2:52)
- 3:00am (12″ version) performed by I-Level (1:49)
- Dirty Talk performed by Klein & MBO (3:08)
- It Ain’t Easy performed by Supermax (4:03)
- Could Be Heaven Like This performed by Idris Muhammad (8:26)
- Night People (New York Club Mix) performed by Guy Dalton (4:07)
- Get Closer (Vocal) performed by Valerie Dore (4:55)
- Can’t Be Serious performed by Ginny (5:12)
- I’m Never Gonna Tell It performed by Funkadelic (3:24)
- It’s Been A Long Time performed by The New Birth (5:40)
Released by: DMC Records
Release date: 2007
Total running time: 72:27