Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Review: Elton vs Pnau

I was never brought up with Elton John’s music; my parents were rockers and had no time for Elton’s trip pop. The first time I was ever aware of the man was when Princess Diana’s funeral was televised and he sang Candle in the Wind. That was my beginning, and then I recognised him in the Simpsons and other various pop culture-focused shows.

I still am not an avid fan. If a song of his is on the radio, I’ll give it a whirl, I’ll sing along to it, but I have had no desire to buy an album. However, when I heard that he was a fan of Pnau after hearing the smash single Wild Strawberries in a store, I knew some magic would happen.

Elton John Vs Pnau is magic; it isn’t a lazy album comprised of cheap remixes. It is a work of art. It is something new and something old re-imagined into something completely original. Each song has elements of several of Elton John’s original songs, and even better, there aren’t any of the mega hits of Elton John’s to be found on this album.

Good Morning to the Night is a cruel impact on the senses. My ears are hearing a blasting summer tune; I can feel the beer on my lips and the lingering sunburn on my shoulders. I look outside to see only grey Sydney weather with a blanket on my knees. Needless to say, I cannot wait for summer so I can listen to this song without being completely conflicted.

Sad, Black Icy Stare, Foreign Fields and Telegraph to the Afterlife have some funky disco beats and a slow tempo that I could imagine myself in a former life slow dancing to at a school social in the 1970s. Unfortunately these songs could be relegated to background music in a hipster bar somewhere.

Phoenix grabs my attention. Laden with vocals and more of those disco beats with modern rework makes me want to get up and find me a Travolta and get boogying. The whole time this song plays, I have the biggest stupidest grin on my face.

Sixty is an excellent ending to the album, finishes it off nicely, with a delicate piano playing steadily getting faster and then just finishing. Perfect. I’m not sure whether having a broader awareness of Elton John’s music would enhance the experience of this album. Nevertheless, this is an amazing audio experience and one would not do to miss it. This is one Elton John album I am definitely buying for my vinyl collection.

- Music Feeds

Nick Littlemore, Pnau co-dude Peter Mayes, Elton and even fellow Ibiza123 player Fatboy Slim all told Radio 1 host Pete Tong about how the team-up went down.

“I am quite speechless, based on the whole spectacle,” Nick Littlemore began. “It’s a very humbling experience working with the great master. We had two iPods and listened to all the songs, trying to garner what we could bring to this material. And in the end we wanted to make it a dirty, young experience, and all those records are already there.”

Likewise, Elton was quick to gush about working with the Sydney duo – but not before talking-up Ibiza itself. “If I had been younger in my druggy, raving days, I probably would’ve been here non-stop. I probably would’ve lived out here. I’ve always loved electronic music. Kraftwerk were the first band I heard and loved as an electronic thing, but they weren’t really about dance, they were about getting stoned,” he began. “It’s gone now to Phoenix, Justice, Hot Chip, Metric – who I love. I’m all about electronic music. I love it. I said to Pnau, look, I’ve got no clue about what to do, but I love what you guys do. Take my master tapes away and do what you want to them, make them sound modern. I’m so happy with the results. I use dance music when I get up and shower.”

And as for Norman Cook’s thoughts on the whole thing? “I still maintain he [Elton] probably did come here in the ‘70s, he just doesn’t remember. I don’t know which is a weirder course – Sting into David Guetta or Elton John into me – they’re both fairly torturous journeys.”

- In the mix

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

To Music Feeds: try listening to entire EJ albums. Its the only way to understand any artist.
If Madman, Honky Chateau, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, and Captain Fantastic doesn't tickle your will never appreciate high end pop/rock music.