Decent Works for Decent Pay: Selected Works Vol. 1

For all the time that I have spent listening to music (and lastfm tells me that’s an awful lot), I have always found myself very cautiously approaching remixes of songs with a bargepole. I might be being narrow-minded, but in my opinion making a remix is the equivalent of re-creating Frankenstein’s monster; it’s the slow and painful deformation of a song in all sorts of ways and shapes that its original artist would never have dreamed of doing. It’s like doing plastic surgery on someone who doesn’t need it, with the final result being something that’s weirder and less natural than before. There are beats where there shouldn’t be beats, fluctuations in rhythm that just don’t sound right, and all sorts of strange effects that only succeed in taking the song and slowly suffocating it to death.

Decent Work For Decent Pay, by Philadelphia-born DJ Wes Pentz, is an entire album of remixes. And it very much hurts me to admit that really, it’s not that bad. The record includes from artists such as Black Lips, CSS, Bloc Party and Hot Chip, and although there several moments throughout the album which are very inductive to winces – the songs sounding far inferior to what they were before – there are also some genuinely brilliant moments. The Spank Rock remix is a hyper-charged danceable explosion, whilst ‘Where is Home’ by Bloc Party, ordinarily a hideously bland song from an equally dreary album, is given a much-needed kick up the backside. Peter, Bjorn and John’s widely-known ‘Young Folks’ is also granted a burst of energy and a new lease of life, something very welcoming after its over-playing on the radio. In addition to this, the inclusion of songs from M.I.A., Kano and Bonde Do Role – not remixed but reproduced – gives the record a fresher and less repetitive feel.

It might not get your party started, but I’m sure that, if slipped on in the early hours of the morning, it would be received with just as much drunken-fuelled enthusiasm as anything else that gets played on the night.


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