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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Sally Shapiro
Remix Romance Vol. 1 & 2

Rating: 8.6/10 ?

May 26, 2008
Swedish pop sensation Sally Shapiro - a collaborative project between an unnamed female vocalist and producer Johan Agebjörn - created quite a buzz last year with the release of Disco Romance, the duo's first full-length release. As a matter of fact, the buzz generated was so ear-splitting that not one, but two remix albums are being released in the album's wake.

Producer, composer and songwriter Agebjörn and singer "Sally Shapiro" (who doesn't perform live or give interviews) released a call for producers and bands to remix the songs on their freshman effort, and the response was overwhelming. What was scheduled to be a single CD release resulted in two discs, packed to the brim with remixes by a very diverse set of artists.

Volume one of Remix Romance features reimaginings by heavy hitters like Juan MacLean, Junior Boys, and Skatebård among others, and the results are as varied as the artists. You'll find everything from more down-tempo pieces to pumping techno on Vol. 1, rendering it perhaps not as solid as the original release, but nonetheless a very interesting listen and on par with the quality of the current remix revolution.

One of the beauties of the recent surge in remix albums is the merging of generally divergent approaches to music and songwriting, which can result in the focus of the original artist being totally scrapped in favor of a structure that's almost an entirely original piece of art in itself. While there are some highly creative moments, a process of complete reconstruction is not the name of the game in the case of the Remix Romance collection, where the invited artists stay fairly true to Disco Romance's original, highly-danceable formula. However, there is one track that does manage stand completely on its own as a new construction, buried deep inside the track list of Vol. 2.

The track "I'll Be By Your Side" was one of the strongest cuts on the Sally Shapiro debut, so it is not altogether surprising that it gets the strongest artistic treatment on Remix Romance. The remix comes courtesy of The Russian Futurists, who deliver an up-tempo indie-pop gem that is more a beast of its own design than a simple reworking of the original song; where Agebjörn makes a comparatively soft approach to songwriting, with retro synth sounds and cute lady vocals, the Russian Futurists' version is pronounced by its hard edges, fast beat, and gender-opposite vocals.

Along with the superb interpretation of "I'll Be By Your Side," Vol. 2 also features remixes by Dntel, Alexander Robotnik, Solvent, and a half-dozen others, and is just as good as Vol. 2. It's hard to pick a favorite between the two releases (which are released separately, always a big plus in my book), but both represent a competent take on the remix concept and are full of interesting artists, good songs, and the occasional pleasant surprise.

Sally Shapiro gets my vote for this years "Tastemaker of the Year Award."

Reviewed by Daniel Svanberg
A contributing writer for LAS, Daniel Svanberg now lives in Boston, far far away from Sweden, where he once lived, although the weather is the same.

See other reviews by Daniel Svanberg



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