Album Reviews: Versions by Thievery CorporationNo stranger to the art of the remix, Thievery Corporation have been reinterpreting the work of others since the outset of the duo's career in the mid-'90s. Blending a seasoned crate digger's obsession with rare groove, a vast knowledge of varied mid-tempo musical styles, and an artistic vision that seems to celebrate the idea that pop music reached its apex somewhere in the mid-'70s, Thievery Corporation's entire discography might be understood as a series of remixes of classic grooves. Versions, however, is the duo's second proper collection of remixes and bears all of the characteristic elements: slightly galloping beats, dub-informed ambiance, and hypnotizing repetition.
This collection is immediately striking in the variety of source material. While Thievery Corporation has long shown a knack for focusing on obscure artists, the duo proves here that it is equally adept at dealing with highly visible music. Sarah McLachlan, Herb Alpert, The Doors, Wax Poetic (featuring Norah Jones), and Astrud Gilberto all get dealt with here. Remixes of tracks by Ustad Sultan Khan, Anoushka Shankar, and Transglobal Underground all reflect Thievery Corporation's regular flirtations with eastern themes, and three TC originals even make the cut, including "Originality" featuring reggae icon Sister Nancy. The overall mix is impressively varied and uniformly compelling, a winning testament to this duo's increasingly sophisticated knack for reinterpretation. - Cory O'Malley
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