alt-j reduxer review
03 10

alt-J Reduxer BMG

And lo, Britain’s whitest band wades into hip-hop. A reworking of last year’s Relaxer LP, Reduxer finds alt-J enlisting a who’s-who of trendy modern rappers throughout. As such, it veers far too close to a ‘fellow kids’ meme on multiple occasions; a jarring, Little Simz-featuring opening rework of 3WW makes for a stumbling start. It’s a trend that defines the record, the crowbarring-in of rapper after rapper coming off like a snatch at true innovation, from a group whose identity revolves on weirdness for weirdness’ sake.

Amongst the multiple mishaps, though, there’s occasional flashes of greatness. Twin Shadow and Pusha T’s take on In Cold Blood manages to tart up a turd that literally uses binary code as lyrics, while Danny Brown continues his trend of turning everything he touches to gold, his jackrabbit vocal and penchant for moulding his flow onto ever-stranger beats making him the perfect bedfellow for alt-J’s weirdo-pop. On his version of Hit Me Like That Snare, meanwhile, Jimi Charles Moody (the blues rock moniker of Harley Sylvester from Rizzle Kicks) manages the unthinkable, adding a sultry soul to the missionary sexuality of the original.

alt-J’s penchant for hip-hop is long storied, but Reduxer is far from essential for all but the most die-hard fans. With international hip-hop at an all-time artistic high, it feels more like an exercise in coattail-riding than a necessary creative endeavour.