Do you feel that, hanging in the air? As chilly autumn winds start blowing in, so does the specter of year-end lists. Tofubeat’s first full-length album Lost Decade is a lock to land somewhere on Make Believe Melodies’ top albums list, and if you haven’t bought a copy yet, get on that. Maltine Records, who have been upping the Kobe producer for a while now, have assembled a crew of Japanese artists to remix songs from that album, and it is a tight collection all its own.
The reworks here take Tofubeat’s original ideas and take them…in most cases…into radically different directions. Producer Osamu Ansai stretches out the formerly party-ready “All I Wanna Do” into a hazy dream-pop number, turning the TGIF-worthy original into a surprisingly longing affair when surrounded by waves of synths. Though it doesn’t best the original mix (it’s my favorite track from Lost Decade, Okadada’s sped-up take on “Synthesizer” takes it to a more immediate place that will probably make many DJs across the country happy. Same goes for PARKGOLF’s synth-happy interpretation of the already-jittery “I Don’t Care.” Ventla takes the short, squiggly “Touch A” and…extends it into a 12-minute talk show that features, uhhhhhh maybe nothing from the original song, just a guy (Ventla?) talking the whole time. Oh, and Avec Avec flexes his pure-pop muscles on his remix of “No. 1.”
The best moments, though, come from totally off the wall musical reworks. The band OK?NO!!cover the peppy, straight-ahead pop of “So What!” and turn it into a jaunty indie-pop exercise that is a total sonic shift that manages to retain the original’s blissful vibe. Charlot creates a mega-mix of the album, stuffing every song into one ten-minute exercise that is surprisingly coherent for something so gimmicky. And then there is Picnic Women, who teams up with, errr, Justin Bieber for his remix (or just some vocal samples of the dashing Canadian). It sounds less like his usual footwork workouts and more like…jock jams, specifically this. Get the album here.