Khruangbin followed their 2018 breakthrough Con Todo el Mundo with a full-on dub reworking of the album, titled Hasta el Cielo, and while it was certainly a nice idea, the final result ended up being a bit monochromatic. After the release of Mordechai, the band's most vocal-heavy album to date, Khruangbin released a series of limited-edition singles featuring remixes by several producers and artists. Compiled as a full-length, the tracks are sequenced in a way so that the listening experience gradually simmers and heats up, rather than just mirroring the original album track list. Kadhja Bonet starts it off by adding gentle layered vocals, a sparse drum machine beat, distant strings, and a synth bassline to the guitar riff of "Father Bird, Mother Sun." Ginger Root turns the spoken conversation of "Connaissais de Face" into boom-bap funk fit for being blasted from a bulky cassette stereo, and Knxwledge contributes a stunning, slinky lo-fi synth-funk version of "Dearest Alfred." The remainder of the mixes are more club-friendly, and demonstrate how easily the band's songs can be converted into deep house floor-fillers. A few producers take the smooth, low-key route, with Natasha Diggs adding flashes of perky trumpet and clapping beats to "First Class" and Harvey Sutherland doing a spacious dub of "One to Remember" with a huge, elastic bassline. Others pump up the energy level and toughen the beats up a bit, but still retain a celebratory, feel-good vibe. Soul Clap tap into the disco classiness of "If There Is No Question," and Quantic is a natural choice to take on the dubby Latin groove of "Pelota." Felix Dickinson essentially produces an extended cosmic disco edit of "Time (You and I)," taking his time to draw out the song's touching lyrics. Ron Trent translates the drifting, swept-away groove of "Shida" into breezy, percussion-heavy deep house. Mang Dynasty's version of "So We Won't Forget" is pleasant and tropical, but it doesn't significantly differ from the original. Khruangbin have always drawn from a wide range of influences and shaped them into an easily recognizable sound, and so their music seems open to reinterpretation in myriad ways. Mordechai Remixes ends up maybe a little heavier on house music than one might expect going in, but it certainly doesn't clash with the band's style, and most of its tracks would be welcome in any house or funk DJ's crates.
(CD - Dead Oceans #8057178)
Review by Paul Simpson