Teeth now straightened and threads finally befitting (thanks to a nicotine-replacing antidote of cheese and biscuits), the prospect of ‘The Remix’ continues to rest unsteadily. Throughout all my adult life it's been drummed home, like some sort of God-fearing Calvinistic maxim, that plagiarism is unacceptable, unforgivable even, so for someone to have free reign over another’s work and *gasp* profit from it is beyond contempt. And aye, I’m full of contradictions - my love of The Avalanches’ ‘Since I Left You’ bears testament to this - but for all the sticky-fingered sample swindling that goes on in my iPod you’ll be hard pushed to find a remix record amidst the clutter of overplayed MP3 and podcasts.
That is until now.
Chopped, grated, toasted and garnished by “new, exciting DJs and producers and established dance heavyweights” (thanks, the press blurb), truth be told, this is a record no discerning listener should really give a shit about – least of all me. But, y’see, Sample And Hold’s a perplexing swine.
On one hand, it’s a diluted etch-a-sketch of the screwball beat-makery that made Attack Decay Sustain Release such an entrancing proposition, with The Invisible Conga People’s Balearic-infused rehash of ‘I Got This Down’ and Danton Eeprom’s pitifully limp take on ‘Wooden’ eking out the last remnants of joy from their floor-spitting blueprints. Yet, in ‘Sleep Deprivation’ (Simon Baker Remix) lies a smattering of hope that leaves limbs loosened and senses perked to the tune of escalating synth wobbles and alien chimes. And the drug-hound breaks of ‘It’s The Beat’ (Shit Robot Remix) has pristinely buffed sneakers cutting rug like Jesus on overtime to the Casio-toned odyssey of B-Boy chants and ulcer-stinging afro-rhythm.
As enjoyable and fresh as these reappraisals are, it’s difficult to resist reaching for the original to excavate each hidden crevice yourself. And with cursory remix tokens spread thickly – many tracks predictably over-stretch in aid of deluded bedroom beat-matchers while others merely annihilate the already atrocious (Pinch’s schmooze-infused take on the originally jaded ‘I Believe’ is particularly grating) – those glances towards Attack Decay Sustain Release's grassy-pitched sleeve become all the more frequent.
But in Joakim’s mix of ‘The Hustler’ rests a sliver of ingenuity that's brought to the forecourt as a tirade of brutal beats resonating around the track's deep, galactical bassline. Climaxing with a clunk of android disco-filth, it's the only true, pocket-burning moment on an album that drizzles attention-spans with infrequent showers rather than engulfing them in a waterfall-like continuum. Yet while Sample And Hold’s not quite a vehement affirmation of The Remix’s merits, it’s enticing enough to have you wondering what life would have been like without all those Suede records.