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[In My Room; 11/07/2011]
Don’t count on Trentemøller to be fashionable. The Danish techno-ician (sorry) pushed all the right critical buttons with 2006’s The Last Resort while going Danish platinum (30,000+ copies), without exactly being the kind of thing you can feel cool for listening to. Five years later, here’s a roundup of remixes by and for Trentemøller, with the expected dicey results. Trentemøller’s “forest floor” techno defies belonging to any particular scene, much like Modeselektor (who both give and receive remixes on this compilation), but in pushing away the current moment, he opens himself up to choices that don’t always pay off.
Which is not to fault a remix compilation for being uneven—they are as a rule. Even ones that play like artist albums (Ada’s Adaptations Mixtape #1 comes to mind) can’t break free from their disparate origins. And the only skippable track on Reworked/Remixed is a late-model Depeche Mode remix for “Wrong.” Not that Trentemøller doesn’t give it the old college try, building it up it with organic and chemical synth sounds. But the overeager stomp and insistent singing make it into an aggro exercise that calls to mind a bar you don’t want to spend time in.
Source material aside, Trentemøller and his remixers hit the mark most of the time. His remix of Kasper Bjørke’s “Does Not Matter” takes the club out of the original, setting the vocals against a warm electric guitar pattern and spectral percussion that suits the song’s narrative of letting go and heartbreak better than the anxious space of the original. His work on Chimes & Bells’ downer “The Mole” lends a floor to the song’s floating melancholy, turning it into a kind of choral.
On the other side of the spectrum, his take on Modeselektor and Thom Yorke’s “The White Flash” doesn’t trump the crushing understatement of the original, but teases those vibes out for nearly ten minutes of mid-DJ-set thickness. Pop songs from Mew and Efterklang get similar B+ treatment—even when the vocals are cloying, there’s so much going on around them that it sort of balances out.
Strangely, the remixes of his own material are the forgettable ones. Efterklang’s take on “Tide” is perfectly nice, but it sort of falls in the dead zone between the functional tracks and the experimental ones.
It’s probably redundant to say at this point, but here goes: this is bound to appeal to Trentemøller fans. For those of us who recognize the mastery of The Last Resort but don’t go in for every stylistic peccadillo, it’s more of a curiosity.