Alt-J: Reduxer – Hip-hoppers reimagine ‘Relaxer’ album, with mixed results
Hip-hop may not be the most obvious influence on Alt-J’s music, but the English trio claim that it has been a long-held dream of theirs to work with artists from that genre. Instead of a straightforward collaboration, however, this is their 2017 album Relaxer “reimagined” by a host of hip-hop MCs and producers. Unfortunately, few of these tracks work well. Alt-J’s post-apocalyptic indie weirdness is arguably their biggest selling point, and by contorting these songs to fit another genre, they lose their USP. Little Simz and French rapper Lomepal separately tackle 3WW, the former’s version bearing little similarity to the original. Pusha T and Twin Shadow’s vocoder-heavy interpretation of In Cold Blood loses the dynamism of the song, although rapper Danny Brown fares better on the forthright Deadcrush. Adeline is a highlight, the string-laden delicacy of the original pushed aside for a darker, almost dubstep-like vibe that retains Joe Newman’s vocals, while Dublin’s own Rejjie Snow transforms Hit Me with that Snare into an enjoyable slinky r’n’b number. Overall, though, it’s more likely to send fans scarpering back to the original than offering any sort of refreshing perspective on these songs.