Remix albums are always a dicey proposition. It is very, very, very rare that a remix of a track eclipses the original, and stretching out a full album of remixes can be a taxing exercise (When was the last time you made it through the entirety of the Cure’s Mixed Up, for instance?). Luckily, such is not the case with hip hopper Exile’s new album of remixes, AM / FM, which reimagines tracks from last year’s Radio. That was an instrumental affair, and this transforms them with both R&B and rap vocals over most of the record’s 21 songs. The cuts here bleed into one another with radio static and commercial samples, and the interspersed beats range from fast and furious to trippy and dubby. It’s the type of album that’s the perfect soundtrack to driving on a city’s freeways late at night, because one can get lost in the ambience of this disc.
AM / FM could use a bit of pruning. It pretty much throws in everything but the kitchen sink. Do we really need four different takes on “Population Control”? Although hip hop may be a little over-represented, any album that samples Burt Bacharach and ever so briefly conjures up the aural sensation of ‘60s girl groups fading in and out of the static is pretty good. Especially considering this is a remix album, and remix albums are supposed to be dross.