King Midas Sound – Without You review

After the woozy dread of the King Midas Sound album Waiting For You, Kode 9 has assembled a sterling cast of producers to take the uneasy tones of the original tracks and refigure them to their own design. Remix compilations tend to suffer from being somewhat unfocused as the assembled identities jostle to get their creative point across, but here the remixers in many cases adopt the strong characteristics of the source material.

There are exceptions, such as when Flying Lotus dismembers “Lost” into a manic three-minute cauldron of bleeps and avant-garde hip-hop swagger. Likewise Gang Gang Dance manage to conjure up a delightfully bonkers and bouncy romp with the ideas set out by “Earth A Kill Ya”. Nite Jewel’s own take on “Lost” manages to straddle this concept with mournful synths that come from a very different place to the original, yet still striking the same emotional chord that makes the King Midas Sound version so haunting.

There’s also some notable revoices to be enjoyed, especially from the ever-blossoming Cooly G. Tackling “Spin Me Around”, she revives the same weighted romance with her own honey-coated delivery over a sparse and subtle rhythm. dBridge does a similar turn on “Without You”, as his tantalisingly taut track of bleak synths and heart-broken croons threatens to break into a mean drop at any moment, and yet never quite does.

Nothing can prepare you for the visceral assault of Ras G’s interpretation of “Cool Out”, which drowns the raw elements in manic blasts of electric fuzz. It’s quite unsettling but addictive at the same time. More than anything though, the album feels like a celebration of the original rather than of the artists, so strongly does the vibe of Waiting For You permeate through these wide-reaching styles. It’s testament to the curation of both projects that such disparate elements can sit so well together.

Oli Warwick