Thursday, 25 March 2010

2002 Elvis vs JXL: A Little Less Conversation

Prescient indeed that a genuine 'pop idol' should follow a media generated one, albeit an idol who had been dead over twenty five years. Indeed, it's been as long again since Mr Presley last troubled these charts and what odds would you have been given back then that his next number one would have been an obscure song from the soundtrack of an even obscurer (even by his standards)1968 film?* Ok, 'A Little Less Conversation' isn't a straight reissue and instead comes re-tooled via a Junkie XL (aka Tom Holkenborg) Big Beat remix (the first artist officially authorised by the Presley estate to do so), but instead of taking the lazy route of simply laying Presley's vocal over a brand new dance track, Holkenborg instead injects each of the song's original components with a shot of adrenalin with a result that's more celebration than sacrilege.

The original 'A Little Less Conversation' was already an almost funk, busy flux of moving parts back in 1968, albeit one kept in polite order by virtue of its inoffensive context. In contrast, Holkenborg's mix oils the joints and loosens the chains until they clatter and bang like stones in a saucepan, with Presley's own vocal boom stirring the mix with a kinetic force. Actually, it's fascinating to hear just how at home Elvis sounds amongst the whirl and it's tempting to speculate that this is the sort of effortlessly cool, bang up to date '2002 Comeback Special' single he might have launched had he not died in 1977, if only to show Tom Jones (who has tried much the same with much less effect) exactly how it should be done. Will someone be doing the same to an obscure Will Young album track in 2027? The odds on that one would be even longer.

* 1968's 'Live a Little, Love a Little'

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