Hearing the legendary Australian/UK drum n bass entity Pendulum were officially reuniting and performing shows together was easily one of the best news of the year. With their upcoming Australian tour taking effect very soon, this can mean two different things; this a definite comeback and that new music is in the works. Now that the Perth-based electronic group have things set in place, to keep everyone busy, Pendulum have released their first ever remix album under the moniker “The Reworks” featuring remixes by renowned music producers Skrillex, Noisia, Moby, Knife Party, and even prog metal legend Devin Townsend.
Remix albums aren’t necessarily the biggest hit with everyone on the market. However, you will find a handful of surprises in particular tracks when you listen back to them. Here with “The Reworks”, a lot of Pendulum’s songs have gone from being pure drum n bass to becoming some very diverse approaches. These styles include dubstep, progressive and ambient house. Some are hitters, some are misses. However, the styles executed by the remixers may land a lot better with those that regularly associate with their music.
Noisia’s rendition of the title track from “Hold Your Colour” has a number of sections that work together quite well, and some that didn’t play out too well. Most particularly with the buzzing vocals towards the choral drop. Meanwhile, Knife Party’s direction on Blood Sugar was rather underwhelming. Despite a nice introduction, the synths involved for an EDM remix such as this were rather unbearable and almost unmelodic.
However, “The Reworks” takes a much bigger step, with Dutch house producer Eelke Kleijn’s take on 9,000 Miles, which is a well done audible scenario where he’s turned the 174 tempo stunner into an atmospheric house piece at 128bpm. Kleijn’s advancement on this track also gives a bit of a late night, city life sensation similar to that of Deadmau5’s ambient works on “Random Album Title”. Grabbitz remixes another “In Silico” favourite Propane Nightmares, which features a bit of a soft start on the acoustic guitar, and builds up seconds later with a lot of distortion on the synths and guitars, along with these very thrashy jungle-like drum beats.
Probably the biggest surprise here was Devin Townsend’s work on Crush, which is one of the real highlights on “The Reworks”. Here, Townsend applies his virtuoso on the guitars, and even throws in some powerful, yet mellow-Strapping Young Lad-era vocals in separate sections on Crush. While the Pendulum’s recording of the song on “Immersion” is a real beauty from start to finish, Townsend has managed to make his very own remix outdone the original. England-based band Icarus gives Tarantula a bit of an old school British house personality from the mid-nineties that’s rather comparable to the likes of Leftfield and Groove Armada. With perpetuating grooves and contagious drum rhythms, Icarus makes this prominent “Hold Your Colour” tune insanely catchy and captivating to the ears.
While not many drastic changes were made to the originals, Pegboard Nerds and Matrix & Futurebound provide some new elements to two of Pendulum’s most illustrious songs Witchcraft and Watercolour. Both of these tracks are putting more additional elements and switching up the synths and bass, rather than the entirety of the spectrum. DJ Seinfeld dives into a world akin to Eelke Kleijn on Still Grey, releasing a wave of distinctive aesthetics in his own bravura of progressive house and gives the “Hold Your Colour” track a whole new life that feels somewhat calmer and fluid outside of the drum n bass world. Hearing Moby make a move on the heavier continuum of electronic music in Vault was unexpected of him, but also quite stimulating to hear him step outside of his own boundaries. And finally, Canadian name and favourite to Deadmau5, ATTLAS keeps Streamline within its signature tempo, but reimagines it with some wonky wubs, slurring synths and fast-paced arpeggios fading in and out in the background.
All in all, this was a rather decent compilation as someone who’s not the fondest of them. Remix albums aren’t ever destined to be perfect or fitting to anyone’s needs. However, if one is open-minded with their choices in music, they’ll be able to find a plethora of stunning revisions of classic pieces that they once loved. This may not be a proper Pendulum album, but it’s sure to keep you busy until the next record that they assemble in a matter of time.
GET YOUR COPY OF ‘THE REWORKS’ HERE!