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Mylene Farmer
REMIXES
(Polydor France)
Stars graphics

As her fans wait for a long-overdue new studio CD ó her first since 1999 ó Mylene Farmer submits 12 of her songs, from five different CDs, to the remix work of house and techno DJs and production teams, some well-known (Paul Oakenfold, Felix da Housecat, Thunderpuss), others less so. Farmer has often licensed her songs to this sort of remixing, with uneven results. Here again, the simplifying rhythms of a club remix more often than not dilute the textural complexity of her music. Her vocals especially, with their quizzical lyrics, pensive softness, and verses full of digressions, afterthoughts, and double meanings, lose pertinence in a less-than-inspired remix. J.C.A.ís remix of "Sans contrefaçon," though as tasty as a Tenaglia riff, misreads as gothic techno a song about pretending to be the opposite sex; and itís sung not as gothic melodrama but as if it were a childís letís-play-dress-up game. Conversely, Thunderpussís "Désenchantée" reconstructs as a childís dress-up game the gothic pessimism of Farmerís 1991 hit. Equally disserving are Romain Tyranchant & Rawmanís soft electro-funk version of "Californie," Michael Gray & John Pearnís "LíÂme-Stram-Gram," and Junkie XLís re-working of "XXL."

Yet some of Farmerís chosen DJs read her well. The funky acerbity of Paul Oakenfoldís "Pourvu quíelles soient douces" captures the restless, bittersweet frustration of the 1988 original, and Junior Jackís "Optimistique-moi" has all the flighty needfulness of Farmerís version. Y-Frontís "Libertine," a 1986 track, updates the spacy disco of Farmerís very first hit without compromising its starry-eyed fatalism. Best of all is "Je tíaime mélancholie," in which Felix da Housecat brings Farmerís vocal way up front, enhances its inflections, adds echo to it, and surrounds it with noise effects dizzy, druggy, gloomy and groggy. His music feels as melancholy, yet affectless, as Farmerís vocal. She sounds, in this song, like Miss Kittin (a frequent Housecat collaborator) doing a Nico tune.

BY MICHAEL FREEDBERG


Issue Date: January 16 - 22, 2004
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