Documentary Evidence


Grinderman 2 RMX

Grinderman 'Grinderman 2 Remix' LP artwork

album // Grinderman 2 RMX

mute artists | 2xlp+cd/cd/i xstumm299 | 26/03/2012 | track listing

Somehow, the news that Nick Cave had disbanded his Grinderman project last year totally passed me by. The rough garage spin-off from The Bad Seeds saw Cave, Martyn P. Casey, Jim Sclavunos and Warren Ellis deliver a white-hot second and sadly final album in 2010, eclipsing the work they had produced on their first Grinderman album in 2007 with a stronger set of even angrier, more uncompromising and downright sleazier songs.

One surprising aspect of the Grinderman project, and something that was only tentatively explored with the first album, was inviting artists to remix songs. This came to full fruition on Grinderman 2, with various mixes and new interpretations being clustered around the limited iTunes album release and the five singles released to support the project. Nick Cave is not someone you immediately associate with the art of remixing, the closest he'd come previously being his re-version of Pulp's 'Disco 2000' on the Sheffield band's 'Bad Cover Version' single; that 're-interpretation' approach explains a number of the versions that are compiled on this remix album, wherein someone else effectively records a version of the Grinderman song in question as opposed to remixing the original. There are some genuine remixes here, but a good number are basically cover versions, while a few are somewhere in between.

If you bought all the releases supporting Grinderman 2, including the rare Record Store Day 12", you'll have all but two tracks included on Grinderman 2 RMX. It is a nice concept, the remix album companion to the main release, reminding you of the halcyon days of dub albums that accompanied reggae LPs, many of which were better than the actual LPs they were versioned from, particularly if King Tubby was at the controls. The project's roll call of collaborators – Queen Of The Stone Age's Joshua Homme, The National's Matt Berninger, King Crimson axeman Robert Fripp, Yeah Yeah Yeah's Nick Zinner, The Horrors spin-off Cat's Eyes, Factory Floor, A Place To Bury Strangers, Andy Weatherall, former Bad Seed Barry Adamson – is breathtaking, even if the results sometimes don't quite match the personnel. The most disappointing mix here is Factory Floor's mix of 'Evil' which drifts along on dark clouds of ambient noxiousness but never really goes anywhere in particular.

Elsewhere, you get Robert Fripp spilling hot prog wax all over a wandering extended version of Grinderman 2's lead single 'Heathen Child'; U.N.K.L.E. offering up a funky and danceable take on 'Worm Tamer' (imagine Mark Ronson producing The Cramps); Josh Homme taking 'Mickey Mouse And The Goodbye Man' and adding a frankly ridiculously in-your-face crisp new beat; Cat's Eyes and Luke Tristram turning 'When My Baby Comes' into a droning, Goth-friendly theme tune to a vampire flick; Adamson making 'Palaces Of Montezuma' into an even more glorious love song than the Grinderman original; Weatherall turning 'Heathen Child' into a bastard son of bass-heavy dub left over from his Balearic / Screamadelica days.

The Silver Alert version of 'Evil', where Jim Sclavunos and Peter Mavrogeorgis are joined by Matt Berninger, who delivers Cave's vocal with trademark strained, detached euphoria. The sonic backdrop is engaging, dark and cloying but the reliance on time-stretching segments of Cave's original vocal is a little much. Nick Zinner's rough rework of 'Bellringer Blues' (one of the two new tracks here) takes the original, adds some threatening bass noises, crunches up the beat and elevates the chiming percussion to the point where you can't tell if your tinnitus is worse than you first thought. The other new reinterpretation comes in the form of the SixToes version of 'When My Baby Comes' which is turned into a beautiful intersection between chamber orchestration and jazzy reference points.

The final track on this collection is a raw early version of 'Evil' achieved by Warren Ellis and Nick Cave, originally released on the rare-as-hen's-teeth Record Store Day 2011 12"; its angry noise bursts serves as the most fitting epitaph to the Grinderman project.

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1. Super Heathen Child
2. Worm Tamer (A Place To Bury Strangers Remix)
3. Bellringer Blues (Nick Zinner Remix)
4. Hyper Worm Tamer (U.N.K.L.E. Remix)
5. Mickey Bloody Mouse (Remixed by Joshua Homme)
6. When My Baby Comes (Cat's Eyes with Luke Tristram)
7. Palaces Of Montezuma (Barry Adamson Remix)
8. Evil (Silver Alert Remix featuring Matt Berninger)
9. When My Baby Comes (SixToes Remix)
10. Heathen Child (Andrew Weatherall Remix)
11. Evil (The Michael Cliffe House Remix)
12. First Evil

(c) 2012 MJA Smith / Documentary Evidence