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Though Leslie Feist declares in the liner notes to Open Season that initially she "didn't really understand what remixes were," she obviously was quickly acquainted with them and the potential they could hold by the time she started putting her album together. Open Season, a collection of remixes of some songs from Let It Die as well as collaborations with others, provides an interesting look into the possibilities of Feist's music. With help from artists like K-Os, the Postal Service, Mocky, and songwriting partner Gonzales, Feist's songs are reconstructed using new drumbeats, added instrumentation, and vocal effects, with each producer choosing certain aspects and emotions of the original to emphasize. Sometimes, like in Julian Brown's "Apostle of Hustle Unmix" of "Inside and Out," the results are sparse and haunting, while other times what is produced — the Postal Service's version of "Mushaboom," complete with a Ben Gibbard vocal track — is much more intricate and intense than the sweet daydreams of the Let It Die version. Usually these reworkings turn out quite nicely, exploiting the different facets of the songs for what they're worth. Only toward the end of Open Season, when production team VV (Gonzales and Renaud Letang, who also worked on Let It Die) take over and add dancey, almost house-like elements to "One Evening," "When I Was a Young Girl," and "Mushaboom," do things begin to sound a little cheesy and unnecessary, over-produced in that campy way, which is unfortunate, because most of the record is really quite good, including her performances with other artists. Her duet with Jane Birkin, for example, "The Simple Story" (which is also found on Birkin's 2004 album, Rendez-Vous), is lovely with its lush strings and chorus, and sounds very much like something Birkin would have sung in the 1970s. But more than its individual parts, Open Season as an album shows the versatility of Feist's music and voice, how it can move from near trip-hop to French cabaret and all those delicate spaces in between, and almost always sound just right.
Feist's diverse musical talents have taken her on many paths, from band member (Broken Social Scene, By Divine Right) to guest performer (Peaches, Jane Birken) to respected solo artist. Whatever the project, there has never been a question that the Toronto musician is heavily respected by her peers. When the call went out to remix Feist's work, her respected contemporaries were quick to come on board. Such is the basis of Open Season, a collection of remixes and rarities from Feist's heavily-acclaimed 2004 release Let It Die. Curiously, more than a third of this music comes from remixes of just two songs from that disc, specifically four different versions of "Mushaboom" and two takes of "Gatekeeper." Some of the re-workings arguably exceed the original cuts, most notably The Postal Service who turns "Mushaboom" into a synth-driven track with Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie) offering joyful harmonies throughout. K-OS' strong take on the same tune follows a hip hop feel, complete with his MC skills front and center. The CD's sweetest spot, however, comes in the form of an emotive acoustic offering of "Inside + Out," captured during a BBC performance. Also worth noting is Feist's softened cover of "Lovertits" a track originally recorded by her famous former roommate Peaches. For casual Feist fans, this may not be the best introduction to her talents. For Feist aficionados, however, it certainly shows the level of respect that other musicians have for the singer, and will provide some great audio candy until her next full-length release. --Denise Sheppard , amazon
Album: Open Season - Remixes & Collabs
Date Of Release: April 25, 2006
Bitrate: CBR 256 kbps