You Remixed

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When it first appeared in 1975, the last volume of the Radio Gnome trilogy also appeared to be the weakest. You had neither the joy nor the songs of the first two albums -- a possible reflection of the dissension that was going on in the group -- and it seemed to be only the sheer force of leader Daevid Allen's personality that finished the record. But perhaps the very fact that the space rocker's songs weren't so strong or cohesive here has helped make it prime fodder for the remixers; they're not cutting up things that were already a perfect whole. Gong could certainly be a proto-ambient band, and a piece like "A Sprinkling of Clouds" now seems tailor-made for reworking, which it is here, twice, once by producer Youth, who takes it on a slightly psychedelic journey, and also by System 7 -- essentially former Gong guitarist Steve Hillage -- whose interpretation carries obvious authority and a great deal of beauty. While pride of place on this collection has to go to the Orb, who do brilliant sonic trickery to "A P.H.P.'s Advice," the relatively unknown Orlando takes You's centerpiece chant, "You Are I and I Am You," and hurtles it out to space, lapping and pulsing. Given that there are 16 cuts here -- and none of them short -- it's inevitable that this is a double CD. But because of the individuality of the remixes (and no one seems to have phoned in their contribution, although the unknown Glo seems a little lacking in inspiration), it never palls or drags. Probably best heard on headphones, You becomes an even better ambient experience in its new incarnation.

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