Basement Jaxx vs Metropole Orkest

Basement Jaxx, Metropole Orkest
Basement Jaxx vs Metropole Orkest
Atlantic Jaxx
Out now

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Recorded live at a recent Barbican gig, this disc offers a selection of dance outfit Basement Jaxx’s favourite records re-scored for 60-piece orchestra and choir by Jules Buckley (better known as conductor of the Heritage Orchestra) and Felix Buxton (one half of the Jaxx).

House music and the classical canon collide to great effect: Buckley’s inventive rendering turns Where’s Your Head At into an epic adventure with a chorus part that could have come straight from Orff’s Carmina Burana. Bingo Bango becomes a baroque-inspired minuet complete with harpsichord, and Hey U has a Romanian, gypsylike twist.

Although some pieces do feel a little like an augmented pop record (Do Your Thing, for example, simply expands on the big-band sound used in the original music), a lot of the rearrangements are genuinely creative. Red Alert is almost unrecognisable under Buckley’s instrumentation, and there are some delicious interludes – Mozart’s tea party and the violin solo that precedes If I Ever Recover.

Fusing genres inevitably provokes criticism and purists should steer well clear of this album. This project is probably best experienced live, but the recording will appeal to clubbers with a penchant for orchestral music and instrumentalists with a sense of fun.

Ultimately, if you can get over the fact that this is not high art – and nor is it trying to be – then these popular floor bangers reworked as symphonic entities are a fantastic treat, if only for the novelty factor.

Claire Jackson

This article first appeared in Muso issue 55 (October/November 2011). Purchase for your device via Pocketmags or iTunes, or in print


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