Ah Radiohead. Not content with letting The King of Limbs settle into its own Radiohead-discography niche, they’ve now released a remix album from the likes of Jamie xx and Four Tet less than eight months after the release of the original. TKOL RMX 1234567 (try to avoid mentioning the Kings of Leon when talking about it, the similarities exist in acronyms alone) is a thoroughly engrossing listen. In my general experience, remix albums can be a little hit and miss. Most of the time I don’t have a lot of patience for listening to bastardised versions of my favourite artists’ tracks, but occasionally they work. In TKOL RMX 1234567‘s case it doesn’t just work; it makes it sound as though The King of Limbs was just made to be remixed. After listening to Jaques Greene’s RMX version of Lotus Flower I’ve almost forgotten what the original sounded like. Thom Yorke’s dancing in the video, however, might take a little longer to erase from memory.
I think that the best thing about TKOL RMX is that none of the remixes are overdone. Nothing’s too heavy or in your face. There’s no dubstep in sight here, and as much as its one of my guilty pleasures, I’m thoroughly relieved. The selected tracks sit really well together and don’t depart too much from the feel of the original album. Overall it maintains a relaxed feel throughout and flows almost perfectly. I did wonder whether using five (yep, five) versions of Bloom would really be such a good idea, especially when most of them are positioned one after the other, but in all honesty, you never really notice. I don’t think there was ever a point when I listened to it and thought that it was getting a little repetitive.
The real beauty of the album though is in that it takes a little concentration to recognise that you’re actually listening to a remixed Radiohead album. I loved The King of Limbs, don’t get me wrong, but there’s something fantastic about the album in the way that none of the tracks scream Radiohead at you on first listen. The obvious elements are still there, but for someone just walking into the room as the album is playing, there’s no real Radiohead giveaways in there. Until you catch some of Yorke’s vocals, of course.
Some of the tracks aren’t really to my taste. I find Pearson Sound Scavenger’s version of Morning Mr Magpie a little irritating rather than anything else, for example. Overall, though, for remixes by 19 different artists, it works well as a whole piece of work and is a highly enjoyable listen. Whether you’re a fan of The King of Limbs or not, or whether you’re even a Radiohead fan or not, I strongly urge you to listen. Impressive stuff.