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From the Inside Out

Exploring More Exploratory Ensembles

By Published: November 21, 2008

Melodies for Uncertain Robots was financed, produced and released on CD by Paradigm; Ropeadope Records, strong carriers of the progressive hip-hop jazz torch, is handling its digital release.

Various Artists
Verve//Remixed4
Verve
2008

It's reasonable to wonder if this fourth installment in the series, in which contemporary hip-hop, trance and other electronic music producers remake/remodel classics from the Verve label group catalog, has finally returned one time too often to this same well. But em>Remixed4 keeps things interesting by venturing into tunes by other artists working outside the traditional jazz canon.

A dark and stormy remix reinforces the strongly acid, bitter taste of Dinah Washington's original vocal in "Cry Me A River." "Gimme Some" comes from the exactly opposite approach, punching up Nina Simone's cougar mating call with bright and bouncy, finger-snapping new rhythms. Meanwhile, the closing version of Ella Fitzgerald's "I Get a Kick Out of You" seems to radiate down from the heavens, or at least from outer space, transmitted through a time warp.

Kenny Dope strips down, then restructures James Brown's "There Was a Time" from nothing but the drumbeat, horns and vocals; though it first sounds scattershot, it ultimately reveals the profound relationship between the vocal and drum patters in the Godfather of Soul's best work. But another remix seems to spread Roy Ayers' "Everybody Loves the Sunshine" too thinly out into space, popping the rhythm out of joint or sometimes even dissipating it completely.

A great trilogy about halfway in showcases how effective this Remix concept can be: Astrud Gilberto's voice, naturally light as a feather, floats and bounces through the percolating "Bim Bom" like a butterfly wafted upon a swirling springtime breeze; Anita O'Day's "Tenderly" floats down more closely to earth like the thick and intoxicating scent of hothouse orchids; and Chris Shaw's remix polishes a sparkling dance floor for Sarah Vaughan's sassy saunter through "Tea for Two."

Remixed4 next shifts into Afro-Cuban mode, with electronics seeming to expand "Dilo Como Yo" (originally by Patato & Totico) in every direction at once, and ramping up Willie Bobo's original "Evil Ways" into an ecstatic double-timed Latin frenzy.



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