26 Mixes For Cash (Warp Records)
By: Cam Lindsay
What is there to say about Aphex Twin? He's truly an original and a pioneer in what he does. There's never been anyone like him, ever, and it can be seen and heard with his new remix collection. Gathering 26 mixes he has done in the past, this aptly-named double album is exactly what one would expect from the man who has notoriously done things his own way, which includes threatening to quit making records, and then release a double album a couple of months later, and submitting a remix for the Lemonheads, without actually remixing the real song (apparently, he grabbed the first DAT tape he could find sitting on his shelf, even though he had no idea what was on it).
26 Mixes For Cash unfortunately, doesn't include the Lemonheads remix, but it does contain songs dating back to 1990, showing how the madness has transpired over the past 13 years. The oldest track here, "We Have Arrived" by Mescalinum United, is actually the heaviest track on this comp. Pounding away like a nasty migraine, the song sounds like a million steelworkers banging at once. Following that, comes Curve's "Falling Free", a dark and scary piece of ambient din. Very reminiscent of his Selected Ambient Works, it's possibly his most straight piece of remixing work to date.
There are lots of exclusive tracks here that make this release essential. Two new songs, a remix of the second track off Selected Ambient Works Vol. II, and a new version of "Windowlicker" are easily worth the price of admission. A gliding take on Phillip Glass' version of Bowie's "Heroes" is the most interesting rendition present. Mad strings along with Bowie screaming the words doesn't make for easy listening, but it is amazing to hear. As well as these, the songs of Saint Etienne, Nine Inch Nails and DMX Krew all make for some good listening.
After getting through the first disc and then the second, it's hard to actually find a weakness in his madness. His choices in remixing doesn't always seem very kosher, with the likes of pisstakers Mike Flowers Pops (remember the lounge version of "Wonderwall"?), Jesus Jones and himself three times, causing questionable head scratches. However, that's the beauty of this compilation.
What becomes apparent after listening to all 26 tracks, is that Richard D. James doesn't care about what the original song sounds like. And he cares less about pleasing the creator of it with his take on it. His idea of the remix is not to provide a slightly different version of it, it's to beat the shit out of it, make it unrecognisable and call it his own. It's a perfect example of a man who would only agree to remix Madonna if she would squeal like a pig on the record. A+
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