Good news, everyone! The series that marked the start of the blankTON.abo back in 2002 with its very first installment is back! And just for statistics, this is #5, not counting the Verve Remixed Xmas album and the L.A.Noir EP. This time it’s all about the ladies, hence the subtitle “The First Ladies” and great heroines of jazz get a makeover by various hot (and not) new artists. And to mention this right away – sometimes the exercise goes well, but sometimes not. Especially the often and rightfully bashed stars of US-EDM like Bassnectar and Kaskade showcase quite impressive that, with them, it’s not so much about artistic integrity or subtly – their mixes are a flashy show-off of effects and cheap trickery, like watching Star Wars and skipping all scenes with dialogue. This is especially painful with a track like Astrud Gilbertos version of “Fly Me To The Moon” in Kaskades problematic remix-treatment with her vocals being degraded to only fill in some blanks of the preset-laden sound-massacre made straight for some Las Vegas night club of the rich and tasteless. BUT as mentioned, there are good news, too. Skip those two or three horribly failed mixes and you will get great reworks from blankTON-favourites like TORO Y MOI (outstanding), MAYA JANE COLES (great), RAC (solid), MIIKE SNOW (inventive), AZARI & III (also solid) and more. But the consistency and constant high level approach – as a mixture of respect for the original and innovation in the remix – of the great Verve Remixed-compilations 1-4 unfortunately is gone. Especially the last track, and one all my personal all-time-favourites, “I Got You Under My Skin” in Dinah Washingtons interpretation gets ruthlessly butchered by a cheap soundcarpet that leaves the listener speechless for it’s lack of direction, structure and musicality. Anyway, the part of the album that’s well done prevails, otherwise we wouldn’t have included the album in the blankTON.abo.
But maybe this little enterprise of an album also shows quite accurately that dance music is in the middle of a crisis. Maybe all pop music? Besides the lack of new and innovative trends and the exuberant and ubiquitous retro-style, productions seem to get sloppier, lack love, dedication and detail. It’s very difficult even for the best crystal ball to predict what may happen next. Or if anything will happen? But just for the sake of optimism, i would like to quote Kraftwerk on the matter and hope that they are right: “Es wird immer weiter gehen/Musik als Träger von Ideen”