Yoko Ono

Open Your Box

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A scant two months after her brilliant collaborative project Yes, I'm a Witch, comes Open Your Box. Yoko Ono is one hip septuagenarian. This collection of remixes takes Ono's vocal tracks from her (in)famous recorded catalog right to the dancefloor. The result is as close to spectacular as it gets. Some of the contributors here include Basement Jaxx, the Pet Shop Boys, DJ Dan, Felix da Housecat, Orange Factory, and Superchumbo, just to name-drop a few. That said, there are no less than three remixes of "Walking on Thin Ice," by Felix, Danny Tenaglia, and the Pet Shop Boys. It's the first one that evokes the true nature of the tune as a grief-stricken paean to the assassinated John Lennon. Ono's voice barely sails above the synth bass and double-time chunka chunka guitar samples. Washes of taut keyboards and percussion loops are layered in, offering a sense of tension and dislocation. Orange Factory's version of the title cut takes its moment of sexual innuendo ("...open your pants....open your legs...open your thighs...") and spreads it out into a furious acid house track pushing the beat envelope even as it strips away nearly everything but percussion in the verse. It's oppressive, suffocating and an anthem. Not all of these remixes work, though. Tenaglia's straight four-on-the-floor "Walking on Thin Ice" is boring, as is the reggae drenched "Everyman Everywoman" by Basement Jaxx. Mostly of this is entertaining at least, worth more than a listen, and a few of these cuts really expand Ono's conceptual art persona as a recording artist into new terrains.

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