Various Artists

What Is Hip?: Remix Project, Vol. 1

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If you want to make it onto the next volume of Warner's What Is Hip?: Remix Project (the cover here says "Volume One," so let's assume), here is the not-so-secret formula. Start with a trippy and serene intro that you'll put under the main tune later, then drop in the original song's intro so everyone goes, "oh, it's that song!" then lightly dust your radio staple with electronic beats and bleeps. You can use a line from the song's chorus and echo it over your hypnotic breakdown if you like, but whatever you do, don't mess with the original too much. With nearly everyone playing it so safe, What Is Hip? is the sound of AM-radio electronica with just a smidgeon of camp -- a smidgeon that disappears on the second run-through of this bland exercise in updating. Three exceptions to the rule are Philip Steir and Ramin Sakurai's reggae-lite treatment of Devo's "Whip It," Halou's impression of what cheeky disco man Mousse T would have done with Rod Stewart's "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy?," and Mocean Worker's skeletal and twitchy rework of Charles Wright's "Express Yourself." Holding out hope that the revered Nightmares on Wax or Meat Beat Manifesto might come up with something exciting proves fruitless, and What Is Hip? ends up not being so much bad as totally forgettable and unnecessary.

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