Diplo: Decent Work For Decent Pay: Selected Works Volume 1
Big Dada

Much of Diplo's (real name Wes Pentz) reputation has been built not just from production and DJ work but from remixes so the appearance of Decent Work For Decent Pay: Selected Works Volume 1 doesn't come as a total surprise. The hour-long collection includes material Pentz refashioned for the likes of Claude VonStroke (“The Whistlerz”), Spank Rock (“Put That Pussy On Me”), Black Lips (“Veni Vidi Vici”), and M.I.A. (“Paper Planes”), but also works in a healthy smattering of Diplo originals too, such as the pulsating opener “Newsflash” (featuring Sandra Melody's fiery vocal), the cyborg electro-funk fireball “200,” and (one of the album's strongest cuts) “Way More Brazil.”

Highlights? “Reload It” underlays Kano's rapid-fire delivery with a frenetic funk beat and a see-sawing electric piano melody; the makeover of Bloc Party's “Where Is Home?” bolsters the song's haunting vocal melodies with robust acid and electro interventions; CSS's “Lets Make Love and Listen To Death From Above” is turned into an exercise in electro-funk seduction; and Hot Chip's “Shake A Fist” becomes a pulsating electro-funk burner with vocals treated as delirious, football-style chants. Baile funk gets some time in the spotlight too, in both remix (Bonde Do Role's “Solta O Frango”) and original form (Diplo's slamming “Way More Brazil”). Of course the oft-cited argument against the remix is that some originals are so definitive, they render remixes unnecessary. The rule applies in some cases here, with Diplo's overhauls of “Heater” and “Young Folks” inferior to the Samim and Peter, Bjorn, And John originals. While both cuts are pretty much bullet-proof, the relentless propulsion of the former and breeziness of the latter end up being diminished by Diplo's alterations. No matter: subtle it ain't but Decent Work For Decent Pay: Selected Works Volume 1 is a party album by design, not something to be analyzed to death but simply enjoyed for the unpretentious and hyper-amped mix it is. On those terms, it's hard to argue too strenuously against it.

March 2009