Releasing an entire album of remixes from a previously well-received full-length can be an unnecessary addition to an artist’s catalog. A remix album can solidify unfinished ideas and add unity to an existing album, but it can also go awry. Electronic artist Pantha Du Prince‘ s XI Versions of Black Noise falls somewhere in the middle.
XI Versions of Black Noise consists of 11 remixes of five original tracks from the previously released Black Noise . The main problem with a remix album of this nature is that first-time or casual listeners have no need to seek this release out. Fans of the artists chosen to remix the tracks are more likely to enjoy this release.
The album begins with back-to-back remixes of “Welt Am Draht”, including a version by techno producer Mortiz Van Oswald and another by Die Vogel. The original Pantha ambient track is soft, filled with distorted vocals and bells. Mortiz intensifies the original track by enhancing the bass and reducing the distorted vocals. Die Vogel’s eccentric take sports loud repetitive horns and flutes. Animal Collective’s version features their own vocals, turning it into something reminiscent of one of their albums.
Four Tet’s intense rework of “Stick to My Side” is a track fit for the dance floor. Four Tet borrows the original bells, rearranging them to form a funky beat. Another danceable track is “A Nomad’s Retreat” by The Sight Below. It features a bouncing house beat that intensifies over the course of eight minutes.
Pantha could have benefited from including more than five singles to be remixed, but the album does flow well together, despite the repetition. It’s an added complement to the previously released Black Noise, with each track taking on a life of its own. Remix albums can sometimes fail to really serve a mass audience. XI Versions is good, but a casual fan might take the title literally – and mute it out entirely.