Various Artists

Six Degrees Collection: Christmas Remixed-Holiday

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There will probably not be a better new Christmas album this year than this one -- and there may not be a better one for many years. Just when you thought that nothing new or interesting could be done with the hoary old chestnuts that your parents played over and over on the hi-fi every Christmas season throughout your childhood, the ever-intrepid Six Degrees label has come up with this brilliant idea: take classic recordings of Christmas songs by Andy Williams, Johnny Mercer, Bing Crosby, and Louis Armstrong and hand them over to a motley crew of DJs, turntablists, and producers with carte blanche to fold, spindle, and mutilate as they see fit. The result, as you might expect, is a complete blast. Highlights include Dan the Automator's wheels-of-steel deconstruction of Dean Martin's recording of "Jingle Bells," an acid jazz take on Kay Starr's "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm" by Stuhr, and Mocean Worker's lustrous, joyful setting of the Cathedral Brass' performance of "Joy to the World." That last track, in fact, is a perfect example of what makes this album more than just cute or funny: everyone involved treats the source material with respect and affection, making it both joyfully funky and funkily joyful. This is very highly recommended.

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