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The Eraser Remixes
Artist: Thom Yorke
Label: XL Recordings
Time: 9 tracks/53:28 minutes

In 2006 Thom Yorke of Radiohead fame released his first solo record, The Eraser, a disjointed and dystopian electronica record reminiscent of the more experimental tunes on Radiohead's Kid A and Amnesiac albums. In late 2007 Yorke announced the release of three online only EPs, each containing three remixes of tracks from his album. They were largely ignored, as people were still excited over the release of Radiohead's In Rainbows. Later these EPs were released on vinyl, and in 2008 on CD, but only in Japan. Finally the CD saw North American release on January 30th 2009 under the title The Eraser Remixes.

The album is housed in a gold foil reproduction of the original sleeve complete with Japanese OBI, and including a lyric book in both Japanese and English. It is certainly an impressive package. But after all the delays in the North American release is the music itself worth it?

Thom handpicked the artists who got to remix his songs, and his list reads like a who's who of underground British electronica: Burial, Surgeon, The Bug, Modeselektor, FourTet, and The Field all get one track each and Cristian Vogel hands in two remixes of "Black Swan."  Surprisingly no one chose to remix the title track, which is a shame as it was one of the best tunes on the original LP.

The remixes all range in quality from excellent to merely listenable. The best of the lot are Burial's claustrophobic version of "And It Rained All Night" featuring pounding bass hits and rain sound effects, and FourTet's warm rendition of "Atoms for Peace," which adds delicate drum roles filling out the song in a way that improves upon the original. The worst remixes are The Field's "Cymbal Rush," which removes all the vocals and drones on for eight minutes, and Vogel's extended "Bonus Beat" version of "Black Swan." Long remixes can be very interesting but in both of these cases they are far too simplified, focusing on one or two elements from the original song to the point of monotony. 

The other remixes offer interesting takes on the original tunes, but are only essential listening for hardcore Yorke fans. For those of you who couldn't get enough of Thom's paranoid lyrics and mathematical electronica these remixes will be a great listen and counterpart to the original album. Also fans of the contributing remixers should take note, but casual fans won't miss a whole lot if they pass this up. But then again, does Thom Yorke have _any_ casual fans?

Noah Salo


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