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Monday, August 27, 2012

The Dismemberment Plan -- A People's History of the Dismemberment Plan


The Dismemberment Plan end their recording career with an album of fan-made remixes. Obviously, this is odd. Re-mix albums are usually chock-full of glitchy, repetitive versions of songs one would never choose to listen to over the originals. This one has a few of those. But overall, A People's History of the Dismemberment Plan is an enjoyable collection. Many of the remixes are original and fun enough to warrant repeat listens. Several incorporate new instrumental tracks into the songs altogether, creating music that is at once foreign and familiar. It's almost as if the future found The Dismemberment Plan's recorded works, could not comprehend them, and translated them into its own language. Better yet, it's kind of like a musical game of telephone. Sometimes the message (Duh, by "message," I mean "song." It's a metaphor...are metaphors just excuses for people who don't know how to talk clearly?...NOTE TO SELF: Figure this out) is almost unrecognizable, but contains just enough original detail to reveal it's lineage. Sometimes the message gets the point across, even if the words are completely different. For instance, Ev's new version of "The City" contains all of the urgency of the original, but with a completely new rhythmic identity and a burning trumpet solo to boot.

I wish The Dismemberment Plan could have left us one more album of original material, but as a document of what their music meant, one can't do much better than A People's History...


After announcing their breakup, The Dismemberment Plan had one more album up their sleeves. Disappointingly at first, this album turned out to be not new material, but a collection of remixes done by fans and others interested in the project. While A People's History of The Dismemberment Plan does fall victim to a few of the shortfalls common to remix albums, the entire picture it paints is pretty beautiful. I'm not sure why I just brought painting into this. Actually, maybe I meant painful, as in what this review is to read. Moving right along...
The weakest tracks on A People's History... simply chop up The Dismemberment Plan's work into a disposable mess. Most of the re-mixes are rock solid throughout, though, sometimes adding just enough bump and reworking to sound fresh, sometimes re-recording the majority of and transforming the songs altogether. I really love what Quruli and Noise McCartney do with a "A Life of Possibilities." It sounds like the world has ended and gone black, but whatever pieces that remain have suddenly come together to attempt to perform the song.

I will freely admit (why not just say "I admit?" Unless someone is putting a gun to your head, aren't you doing it freely anyway? Bah.) that I don't give this album as many spins as The Dismemberment Plan's original work, but for what it is, it is quite good. I enjoyed ending these Dismemberment Plan reviews by listening to it repeatedly, and now that I'm done with them, I will listen to it still. Freely, I guess.

 2003 DeSoto
1. The Face of the Earth (remixed by parae) 3:02
2. What Do You Want Me to Say? (remixed by Drop Dynasty) 4:12
3. Academy Award 4:34 (Cex)
4. Following Through (Cynyc) 4:18
5. The Other Side (Justin Norvell) 3:49
6. A Life of Possibilities (Quruli/Noise McCartney) 4:06
7. Pay for the Piano (Grandmaster Incongruous) 2:09
8. Time Bomb (ASCDI) 5:01
9. Automatic (Deadverse) 3:15
10. The City (Ev) 4:43
11. The Jitters (Ender) 4:09
12. Superpowers (Erik Gundel) 3:07

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