Album Review: Rework: Philip Glass Remixed by Various Artists
Great, Based on 5 Critics
Rolling Stone - 100 Based on rating 5/5
Co-curated by Beck, this two-CD set gathers genre outliers (Tyondai Braxton, Dan Deacon, Amon Tobin) to mutate music by Philip Glass, the composer who has probably impacted rock and pop more than Bach. The highlight is "NYC: 73-78," Beck's own 20-minute mastermix-cum-suite, which moves from piano meditation to synth-pop to Beach Boys-style chorale and back. Listen to "NYC: 73-78": .
The disappearance of Beck Hansen must look, on the face of it, a typical case of the trendsetter who lost his cultural capital. Beck was the quintessential postmodern 90s pop star, who transitioned nicely into the noughties with more confessional albums such as 2002's Sea Change. But since his last official release in 2008, Modern Guilt, it seemed as though Beck had graciously absented himself from the chart fray, his time as a frontline artist up.
With over four decades’ worth of recordings under his belt, the prolific minimalist composer Philip Glass has a vast, fascinating body of work ripe for examination and consideration, and a conversation between Beck and Glass sparked just such a project. The two-disc Rework offers remixes from a dozen artists; with the strongest efforts well worth revisiting, the set never serves less than to pique curiosity in the original compositions. .
When you approach a remix album, you really shouldn’t be on the lookout for cohesion. Philip Glass’s compositions go way back to the ‘60s and were recorded by a variety of ensembles, so that’s a lot of ground to cover. When you take the roster of remixers into account, that will throw things for an even bigger loop. The common threads between the works of a minimalist composer like Glass can assure us that a sense of unity probably won’t be by accident, but the who’s who of this double album is a noodle scratcher.
There are two basic reasons why composers like Philip Glass end up getting remixed: rhythm and repetition. Glass' most identifiable music is simple, or so it seems: Play a chord, break it down into its constituent notes, and repeat the notes in hypnotic succession. If there's another instrument playing, they're probably playing the same notes in a different order.