After leaving 2007's A Weekend in the City firmly intact, angular rock quartet Bloc Party revisit the concept of the remix album, enlisting another set of highly acclaimed musicians, DJs, and producers to work their dancefloor magic on the group's third LP, 2009's Intimacy. While Bloc Party have always been indie-disco favorites, the original Paul Epworth/Jacknife Lee-produced breakup album pushed them even further into electro territory, particularly on the likes of the twinkling Hot Chip-esque "Signs" and the haunting choral drum'n'bass of "Zephyrus." Intimacy Remixed therefore isn't quite as radical as the similar treatment afforded to 2005 debut Silent Alarm, but for those slightly deterred by the chaotic nature of the likes of the discordant brass-fused robotics of "Mercury," these 13 remixes provide a slightly more accessible spin on the original's envelope-pushing sound. U.S. electronic duo Villains strip away the Chemical Brothers-style breakbeats and thrashing guitars of war anthem "Ares" in favor of chunky dirty synth riffs and electro-house rhythms to produce a similarly turbocharged but less aggressive floor-filler; the We Have Band Dub remix of "Halo" turns the angsty art rock original into a pulsating slice of ambient electronica, full of video game synths, throbbing basslines, and snatches of Okereke's tortured vocals, while John B. eschews the former prog-punk leanings of the frenetic "Trojan Horse," instead serving up an atmospheric blend of euphoric Chicane-inspired dream-trance, dub reggae, and skittering drum'n'bass. Elsewhere, Intimacy producer Epworth, under the guise of Phones R.I.P., samples Carl Hall's "You Don't Know Nothing About Love" on his old-skool Italo-house reworking of "Talons"; Scottish post-rockers Mogwai, the only act included who also contributed to Silent Alarm Remixed, produce a subtle and surprisingly faithful instrumental retooling of "Biko"; and Armand Van Helden and Filthy Dukes both provide Ibiza-friendly warped bass interpretations of "Signs" and "One Month Off," respectively. The album's free-form experimental nature doesn't always quite work so convincingly, particularly on noise pop duo No Age's avant-garde feedback-drenched arrangement of "Better Than Heaven," which feels hopelessly out of place among the more club-friendly material, and Banjo or Freakout's eerily hymnal production of "Ion Square," which bears little if any resemblance at all to the original album's uplifting finale. But while some of its remixes will amount to sacrilege for Bloc Party's fervently dedicated fan base, Intimacy Remixed is a brave and inspired companion that avoids the generic four-to-the-floor treatment of similar releases, and successfully continues the band's fascination with blurring the boundaries between dance and indie music.
Intimacy Remixed Review
by Jon O'Brien