Luna Kafé e-zine  Luna Kafé record review
coverpic flag Mare Smythii - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 41 - 02/19/00

Various Artists
The Electronic Tribute to Pink Floyd
Radiant Decay: a Tribute to Nine Inch Nails

Vitamin Records

Two closely related tribute compilations in a two-in-one review:

Tribute compilations were a big trend just a few years ago. This trend has faded out a bit lately, but there are still some of them coming out every now and then. The whole idea started around the end of the eighties with many popular artists paying tribute to long forgotten songwriters who were long forgotten in the public eye but had influenced modern pop and rock music. The concept was exceptionally successful, just because it multiplied the potential customers by drawing audiences from each artist on the compilation as well as the original songwriter who was paid tribute to. The record companies also realized that the inclusion of new and unknown acts on these compilations was a great tool to attract the established audiences of older stuff to their newcomers. And all this without worrying too much about songwriting because the songs were already there.

The inevitable trend followed in the 90s ... every well known artist got their own tribute album, sometimes even several of them. The final stage of this development is when we have a tribute to a very well known band with nothing but almost unknown artists on them.

coverpic But let's look at the albums themselves. The Electronic Tribute to Pink Floyd compiles 13 cover versions mostly from Pink Floyd's most popular albums Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, The Wall and A Momentary Lapse of Reason. All these tracks were played in a modern sound which isn't too bad since the Pink Floyd originals sound all a little bit dated now. In some cases some of the subtleties of the originals were lost, for instance when Alex Xenophon puts the ballad-like Comfortably Numb to a indifferent dance beat (even twice, called Bassland Dub Mix and Acid Mix).

Like it or not, it's refreshing to see new life put into these old tune, and probably this release can live up to the purpose of such a tribute album to serve as a door for the fans of 70s music to the new sounds of today with electronic bleeps, obscure samples, breakbeats and stuff like that. Recommended tracks would include Welcome to the Machine by Vinny Fazzari and Learning to Fly (if only for the bass heavy sound of it) by CSM 101.

In comparison the tribute to Nine Inch Nails falls flat on the face. I think the main problem is that Nine Inch Nails are a project of the 90s which is alive and kicking, and their sound is still fresh enough and doesn't need any updating. The result is that many bands on this tribute stay too close to the sound of the original, trying to mimic the originals. And if they stray away from the originals, they often suddenly lose the appeal of the original. Like Transient, when they replace the whispered parts in the bridge by flat standard singing in their version of Closer.

Notable exceptions are Broke Box who show a little bit of creativity in their version of the hard-rocking Wish, T.H.C. with their Mr. Self Destruct (Diesel Mix) were they not only update the sound and change the general feel of the song but add a nice bridge in the middle as well. Suck (The Electrolux Mix) is quite nice, too. But sorry, the idea of Tin Electric to make a heavy rock song out of the ballad Hurt might have been good at one point, but the result simply doesn't do it to me.

Final conclusion ... if you are a fan of either Pink Floyd or Nine Inch Nails who is aching for more then consider checking out these tribute albums. Otherwise, don't bother.

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