The DFA Remixes: Chapter Two
he DFA production duo of James Murphy and Tim Goldsworthy have been one of the world’s hottest for the past few years. Everyone from Le Tigre to Britney Spears have lined up to have their knobs twiddled by the team, and between remixes, production work, the DFA label, and LCD Soundsystem, the racks have been positively jammed with records bearing their fingerprints. For the most part, the results have been stellar—engaging punk-funk-disco hybrids that appeal to indie rockers, club kids, hipsters, disenfranchised Chemical Brothers fans, and practically everyone in between.
Generally speaking, however, when output increases dramatically, quality decreases. While the DFA are still capable of pulling some fabulous work out of their hats, they are just as capable as phoning one in—or so it might seem from the results of The DFA Remixes Chapter Two.
The tracks here were released as far back as 2003, but they all bear those signature DFA production staples—live drums, bass, disco rhythms, cowbell, et al.—making it sound as if they could have been done last week or last decade. The mixes that are most interesting here, though, are the ones that break away from their somewhat predictable formula. Which isn’t to say that they’re also the most successful. For instance, the ten-minute version of Tiga’s “Far from Home” breaks the mold and ventures into spacier territory; on the other hand, their take on Nine Inch Nails’ “The Hand That Feeds” is nine minutes of aimlessness. For every inspired take (N.E.R.D., Hot Chip) there seem to be others that were created strictly on autopilot (Goldfrapp, Unkle, Junior Senior).
This collection actually betters the previous one in terms of diversity, but unfortunately it also gives you the sense that you’ve heard it all before, and in fact you have—not only earlier this year when the similar-sounding Chapter One came out, but when the original singles came out as well. When your sound is so distinctive and you choose tracks that sound more than a bit like each other, you have to question the wisdom of releasing two such compilations in a span of six months. Too much too soon also makes those similarities blend together to the point where even fans might start to question if those special sounds that drew them to the DFA in the first place might be getting a little tired. I don’t doubt for a second that Murphy and Goldsworthy still have that magic touch. But maybe if they were a little stingier with it, we’d all be a bit more impressed.