Decca 'Reworks' Review

JImmy Coultas gets to grips with the fusion of classical and rave.

Jimmy Coultas

Last updated: 8th Jul 2016

Image: Kate Simko

Classical compositions and dance music have a strange alliance. The past year has seen it coming in full force through a surge of clubnights colliding with orchestras (read this reviewer's experience of Cream's classical showcase), but its always had a natural fit within the music.

On one side of the spectrum there's Clean Bandit's shiny disposable string led pop, with the likes of Nils Frahm's astute piano genius much further down the other side. Now Decca have commissioned reworks aplenty of their classical backpack for a compilation that is, for the most, rooted in the latter, featuring ambient electronic takes and straighter dancefloor focused workouts of a number of timeless pieces.

Kate Simko tickets.

Some of the music is a little too brooding and abstract to these ears, but when it works it's very good. Thomas Gandey takes Gustav Holst's 'Neptune', one of the more serene compositions from the composer's iconic Planets Suite, and turns it into a lovely shuffling deep house groove - one that owes as much to Laurent Garnier as it does the whimsical original.

Steve Reich's 'Drumming' seems an obvious choice for a techno remake - what with it's spellbinding intricate percussion - so whilst Patrice Baumel loses some of the subtlety on his version, he manages to craft a brilliant high octane banger. Mr Scruff also gets to work on the same composer's 'Six Pianos', a compellingly electronic but charming rework which takes the startling original in a different direction.

There's also Francesco Tristano rescuing Sakamoto's 'Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence' from it's earlier incarnation as a euro-trance outing as Watergate's Heart of Asia, but the real star of the show falls to arguably the most worthy of current artists fusing the two musical worlds; Kate Simko.

Few have managed to marry the sophistication of classical music with electronic music as well as her, and the way the strings perfectly entwine with the beats on her remix of Franz Schubert's 'Schwanengesang' is joyous - no wonder it's already found support on BBC Radio One from Pete Tong.

It's the standout on an overall collection which is an interesting exploration of how well these two seemingly disparate worlds can collide.

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Hacienda Classical comes to Made Birmingham in July.