Record Label: XL Records
Release Date: October 10th, 2011
Not many bands would name their album something as catchy as TKOL RMX 1234567. But this is Radiohead, and this is a nineteen track double disk remix album of 2011’s polarisingly received The King of Limbs. Radiohead after releasing the original set of mostly electronic tracks into the world reached out to some of music’s top remixing talents and asked them to stamp their own signature sounds onto whatever track they wanted. Lead singer Thom Yorke stated “I was really curious to see how the people I was listening to so much would use what we gave them. I didn’t just want floor fillers and all that shit.” And floor fillers and all that shit is not what this album is about, it is instead a series of progressive musical mutations from the previous work. Progression, thankfully, is the main term here.
Some of the standout artists making an appearance on the record include the likes of Jamie xx, Caribou, Modeselektor, Four Tet, Illum Sphere, Jaques Green and Mark Pritchard; all of whom it can be argued are leaders in the resurgence of remixing culture in alternative music. Interestingly, Radiohead have taken eight albums to finally produce a remix album; so why exactly now? Drummer Phil Selway explains that "The King of Limbs, out of all our records lends itself best to the remix treatment". The band simply wanted to continue to work with the music after it was first released. Opener “Little By Little (Caribou RMX)” lays down the gauntlet with the introduction of aesthetic strings and percussion bongo stints. The track strays far from its guitar picking and drum-machine origins, and is identifiable as a best track. Mark Pritchard’s take on “Bloom” is perhaps the most techno of the remixes and places the track in a dirty sounding German club. It’s absolutely filthy.
The biggest disappointment on the album is Jamie xx’s rework of “Bloom”. The song is the shortest and least interesting thing to be found here. Jamie xx is arguably the most sought after remix artist/DJ at this point in 2011, but his recognisable beats come across as boring when other attempts at remixing “Bloom” are placed beside his. “Morning Mr. Magpie” which was frankly disappointing on The King of Limbs gets spiced up here finally with a few different takes; Modeselektors version has the most impact. The double disk album does clock in at over an hour and a half running time but this I feel is just to give the songs room to breathe. Remixing, as an art, can often become problematic on full albums of this nature, but on this record it is just that; an art.