Moloko : All Back To The Mine

Sheffield's Ibiza dance stars remixed

In 1982, Sheffield’s The Human League released the first ever remix album, a new version of their classic LP ‘Dare’. Credited to The League Unlimited Orchestra (a homage to Barry White’s backing band, the Love Unlimited Orchestra), it was titled ‘Love And Dancing’. Twenty years on, everything else in Sheffield may have changed, but love and dancing still remain the prime preoccupations

of the city’s bands, judging by Moloko’s, erm, humourously titled remix album ‘All Back To The Mine’.

A luxury-length, two-CD, 21 track epic, ‘All Back To The Mine’ collects remixes from the various stages of Moloko’s chequered career by dance producers ranging from Mousse T (he of ‘Horny’ fame) to arch bedroom experimentalist Luke Vibert (aka Wagon Christ). One listen reveals why Moloko arguably owe their careers to a remix (Boris Dlugosch’s reworking of ‘Sing It Back’ perversely not included here), as almost everyone on ‘All Back To The Mine’ has improved the original material. The three mixes of ‘Pure Pleasure Seeker’ all ditch the annoying, parping saxophone which dominated the single in favour of eerie vocal samples (on the Todd Edwards Pleasure For Life UK Vocal Mix), dark and sexy New York house (on Oscar G’s Cuba Libre Dub) and pizzicato strings (on the, ahem, Pizzicato Mix). Other triumphs include a dramatic version of 1998’s ‘Knee Deepen’, a Chic-style reworking of the neglected ‘Day For Night’ and an All Seeing I remix of last year’s ‘Indigo’ which transforms eccentric, romping music hall into a dead ringer for lairy disco anthem ‘Knock On Wood’.

Not everything is such a success – François Kervorkian’s remix of ‘The Time Is Now’ is tasteful and dull, while ‘Where Is The What’ ambles about as aimlessly as its title suggests. But generally speaking, the remixers’ need to make Moloko dance gives the tunes a sense of purpose absent from the original versions, while the more minimal arrangements expertly showcase Roisin Murphy’s fabulous voice. Purists might call it exploitation, but Mark Brydon earned his dance music stripes years ago as part of pioneering British house act Krush, while Murphy has long bigged up club nights like New York’s legendary Body & Soul. ‘All Back To The Mine’ allows them to go back to their roots without lifting a finger; a bit of a result all round, really.

Alex Needham