Bigger. Messier.

Danny Elfman

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Bigger. Messier. Review

by Paul Simpson

Surrounding the release of Big Mess, Danny Elfman's first solo rock full-length in 37 years, several remixes and reworks of the album's tracks were digitally issued, with contributors including Squarepusher, Xiu Xiu, and Death Grips' Zach Hill. 2022 collection Bigger. Messier. entirely lives up to its title, blowing up the contents of the original and reassembling it into a different sort of hulking monstrosity. Since two members of Nine Inch Nails played on the original album, it seems only natural that fellow rocker-turned-film composer Trent Reznor would be present, and his two appearances are more or less faithful to the originals ("True" essentially sounded like a NIN song to begin with). Blixa Bargeld similarly seems to complete "In Time," while Iggy Pop takes the pompous snark of the celebrity-baiting punk romp "Kick Me" to a new level. Boy Harsher's upbeat synth pop take on "Happy" works like a charm, and HEALTH are a natural fit as well -- their atmospheric synths vastly improve "In Time." Several other tracks on Bigger. Messier. are much riskier and often more obliterative of the source material, which seems to be more to the point of the release. On two versions of "Happy," mysterious Brainfeeder-signed producer Little Snake manages to incorporate some of Elfman's pizzicato strings and creepy vocals into his mutated trap-scapes; the "Lunar Climax Edition" is particularly mind-bending. Neo-breakcore act Machine Girl pummel the life out of "Insects," and Ghostemane thrillingly adds gargantuan bass and jungle breakbeats to the Reznor version of "Native Intelligence." The digital edition of Bigger. Messier. includes an astounding Scientist dub which could pass for a lost Adrian Sherwood/Oingo Boingo soundclash. Elsewhere, Boris turn "Everybody Loves You" into sludgy orchestral pop, Squarepusher uneasily grafts Elfman's brooding vocals onto manic acid breaks, and Kid606 and the Locust emerge from hiding for their respective mixes of "Sorry" and "Cruel Compensation." Overstuffed remix collections like this are hit and miss by nature, but Bigger. Messier. acknowledges this with its very title, and its impressive cast takes the original songs in some fascinating directions, making the whole thing worthwhile for fans of any of the artists involved.

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