FM Fantasma Mix

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Cornelius' FM EP lets the artists he remixed on the CM EP have a go at reworking songs from his wonderfully inventive Fantasma album. In fact, FM's main flaw -- if it can be called that -- is that the songs that Damon Albarn, the Pastels, U.N.K.L.E., and others try to reshape are so rich and unique in the first place that their remixes generally pale in comparison. Still, Money Mark's sparse, hip-hop transformation of "Mic Check," Buffalo Daughter's laid-back version of "New Music Machine," and Coldcut's drum'n'bass remix of "Typewrite Lesson" are original enough to please fans of both Cornelius and the other groups involved. The Pastels' delicate makeover of "Clash" is possibly the EP's best remix, stripping away the song's guitars and drums in favor of fluttering flutes, subtle harmonies, and understated electronic percussion, giving it a very different -- yet still recognizable -- sound. Likewise, U.N.K.L.E.'s "Free Fall" takes the song in a new but logical direction, mixing narration from Planet of the Apes with big beats, sweeping strings, and the original's thrashy guitars. However, while the High Llamas' merry-go-round-meets-jug-band remix of "The Micro Disneycal World Tour" is amusing, it doesn't veer far from Cornelius' version or improve upon it. On the other hand, Albarn's too-clever reworking of "Star Fruits Surf Rider" takes away too much of the original's spacy bossa-nova charm, replacing it with cheesy synths, guttural vocals, and computerized voices. Though it doesn't always show Cornelius or his remixers at their strongest, FM is a worthwhile collaboration between some of the most interesting artists of the '90s.

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