The phrase “last night a DJ saved my life” belies an ethos and expectation in dance music that the genre will provide the soundtrack to the transcendence of mundane day-to-day existence. It connotes a proclivity to be epic, apocalyptic and grand—a proclivity that the Copenhagen-based producer Anders Trentemoller indulged in his latest release, Reworked/Remixed. The album, a collection of his remixes of other artists from throughout his career and selected remixes of tracks from his 2010 album Into The Great Yonder, is two hours long and winds through yawning stretches of ambience and dense buildups of crowded blacklight IDM. It is a sweeping, immense ensemble of long, emotive tracks that seeks to span Trentemoller’s career so far, cultivating a sense of all-encompassing grandeur that manifests in the album’s overall intensity. Modeselektor‘s remix of “Tide,” for instance, is identified in the title as the artist’s “last remix ever,” a small indication of Reworked/Remixed‘s sense of end-of-the-world Romanticism.
In many ways, Trentemoller’s work is striking—especially when it comes to the tidiness of his dance music. Beats are crisp and instruments are perfectly mixed, mastered and balanced, fitting together like pieces in a very exact glass puzzle: Smooth, sharp, precise. His sound, while often psychedelic, is never loose or muddled or disorganized; “Silver Surfer, Ghost Rider Go !!!” creates a fog of sounds that come and go, echo and reverberate and clang around between the volleys of a smokey bass guitar and a densely elastic, steady beat. Such is Trentemoller’s precision and care that every sound is choreographed and coaxed into the right position as if the producer were a monk arranging block stencils to hand-print a page of the Bible.
Also striking is the intensity of his dance music. Trentemoller makes serious dance music, and his acute ear for composition indicates an intellectual involvement in his songs that seeks to attract audiences not only interested in raving but also interested in things like “art” and “melody” and probably “literature,” or other smart people hobbies. Much of the time, Reworked/Remixed resembles Radiohead in its emotive, psychedelic, dramatic and mysterious sonic depth. The beat in his remix of “Raincoats” would be at home on In Rainbows, similar to that of “Bodysnatchers”—and not to mention that the lead singer of Efterklang, the creator of the original track, sounds a lot like Thom Yorke when he’s not crooning. It comes as no surprise, then, to see Yorke’s name and vocals crop up on Trentemoller’s remix of Modeselektor’s “The White Flash,” a glitchy and groaning minimalist rendering of Modeselektor’s work that builds into some kind of pulsing digital house.
Through all its fluctuating beats and moods and inspirations and artists, the particles of Reworked/Remixed settle in Trentemoller’s instrumental rework of “Neverglade.” After nearly two hours of IDM-krautrock-glam-rock-hair-metal-minimalist-ambient-house from the artists as far-flung as Franz Ferdinand, the Do, Modeselektor and Depeche Mode, the closing track retreats from beats to follow the sad-hippie meanderings of an acoustic guitar. Its overtly krautrock-ish tendencies smack of after-the-factness, of endings: It’s not the light “You’re My Best Friend” psychedelia of the ’60s, but the heavy and spiritual psychedelia of the ’70s, after idealistic communes had rotted from the expired fumes of idealism and Jefferson Airplane had devolved into a Starship. It’s perfect for the last song of Trentemoller’s two-hour IDM rave marathon, the worn-out 5 a.m. exhaustion at the end of a weekend night, the winding-down breath of escapism from a DJ desperate to save the greying masses from their bland weekday lives.