CD Review

Skinny Puppy - "ReMix Dys Temper"

By Dan Century

ReMix Dys TemperOk, here's the deal: Skinny Puppy is dead, and they have been since Last Rights, which was supposed to be their last album ever - that was way back in '92. Somewhere along the line everyone changed their minds, sobered up, or ran out of money and the band tried to barf out another album called the Process (based on a goofy religion that reveres both "God" and "Satan," thought up by ex-Scientologists and practiced by Charley Manson and Funkadelic). Between Last Rights and the Process, Puppy keyboardist Dwayne Goettle passed away, leaving Ogre and cEvin Key to piece together a real mess of an album. The Process went out of print when Rick Rubin's American label abandoned it during a corporate restructuring.

Skinny Puppy, however, was Nettwerk's bread and butter band. Puppy brought home the cash, keeping the Canadian industrial label alive. Since they lost Puppy in 1992, they have released a decent live album called Ain't It Dead Yet and two albums of obscurities, Back and Forth: Series Two and Brap. These albums were appreciated by die hard fans, but by no means did they approach the greatness of Puppy's previous studio albums or cEvin and Dwayne's work outside Puppy in Cyberactif, Doubting Thomas and Download.

Six years in the grave and along comes ReMix Dys Temper, an album of remixes and one re-recording by many of today's hottest industrial and alternative stars. For the most part this album is a tragedy. Many of the original music is replaced or smothered, rather than remixed in a classic case of DJ ego over ride. More maggots getting fat on the corpse. On the other paw (heh heh), it's a good listen and will please most club DJs.

So let's dig up the old rotten dog, string him up snapped cassette tape and twigs, and dance him around like a sad, pathetic marionette one more time...

Ken "hiwatt" Marshall's remix of Rodent is the best track on the album. Why? Ken has worked as Skinny Puppy before...he has the respect and skill necessary to produce a great remix. This track will sound equally awesome through headphones or in a club. Great pounding beats and awesome production.

The Gunter Schultz remix of Addiction is a travesty. Why? He makes Skinny Puppy sound like KMFDM if the only equipment they had was a 303 emulator and a cracked version of Cakewalk. Although it's nice to see Gunter do something other than play cheesy Slayer riffs, maybe he should remix RuPaul or Right Said Fred and avoid Skinny Puppy. It's highly listenable and club DJs will play it, but it's far too sticky-sweet for a dead Puppy.

The Ogre and Mark Walk (WELT*) re-recording of Smothered Hope is unnecessary. The live Ministry version is far superior, although that version sounds like a Judas Priest cover band in a basement in New Jersey. "Life shifts up and down, everybody knows it's wrong." You know what's wrong Ogre? Mark Walk tossing out cEvin's original music and replacing it with his own. Mark's original music isn't bad, in fact it's very catchy in a sick pop music kind of way, but it doesn't touch the original.

The Autechre remix of Killing Game is a total piece of crap. You can make the same remix yourself by holding down the fast forward button on your CD player while your Mom vacuums your bedroom floor. Experimental, sure, but there's a big difference between good experiments and bad experiments.

The Love In Vein remix by Neotropic...wait a second, who the hell is Neotropic? Forgettable, like Meat Beat Manifesto's worst song remixed by your Mom. Yes, again, your Mom.

If you see Rhys Fulber, tell him he sucks and then tell him his remix of Worlock sucks. He took a great song and totally shit on it, adding Bon Jovi guitars and hip-hop beats. What the fuck?

Deftones remixing Skinny Puppy? Hip-hop Spasmolytic? Why? This sounds like some horrible Judgement Night soundtrack Faith No More / Boo-Ya tribe collaboration. Was Snot or Clutch unavailable?

Adrian Sherwood is a real pro - he's previously worked with pop and dub reggae artists, but he's done his best work producing/mixing artists like Ministry, NIN and KMFDM. For Remix Dys Temper he remixes Tim Omen, and mixes it into a REVCO-esque dance track. Good job. Another track DJs will like.

I'm not a fan of God Lives Underwater - once I bought one of their album's on a suggestion of a friend, and I returned it for a refund the same day - so surprisingly, their remix of Testure isn't half bad. They leave a lot of the original music, add a tinny, clunky break beat and clean up Ogre's vocals. Not fantastic. But not bad, and the best thing GLU has ever done.

Mark Walk's remix of Dig is surprisingly interesting. About half the vocals are computer synthesized and the song is littered with Mark's trade mark distorted drum beats. However like the re-build of Smothered Hope found on this album, he adds a lot of his own music rather than remixing the original. Still engaging and not disappointing.

Chris Vrenna remix of Assimilate displays the most respect and reverence for Skinny Puppy. Of all the remixers he stays closest to the original. Great. Skinny Puppy purists shouldn't be alarmed that a Nine Inch Nailer is messing with their Puppy. Just for the record, Chris is a better remixer than Trent.

The Guru remix of Censor is kinda cool, but at the same time it's still just mediocre hip-hop. I have to admit I get a kick out of the samples which sound like something gleaned from a 1970's cop show.

House DJ Josh Wink totally strips out the original music to Chainsaw, but I still like the results. Clean Ogre vocals over a very minimalist house beat - the compilation's most intriguing track.

Let the feasting off the Puppy corpse end with this 5.125" tombstone. Even maggots turn to flies and eventually move on...still if you're a DJ or a big time Puppy fan, you should grab this disk.

* WELT (when WE all Learn the Truth, or something like that) was originally a collaboration between Jersey Shore Aggro-industrialists Abstinence and one of the guys from Killing Joke. The guy from Killing Joke and Ogre worked together on some Pigface albums/tours and somehow Ogre claimed the WELT as his own. Shortly after that WELT became Ogre and Alain Jourgensen's project. If you find a picture of Jourgensen from the pre Psalm 69 era you'll see a tattoo on one of his arms that reads WELT (since then he's had it covered up). As none of these people can tolerate each other for more than a year the WELT project died for some time only to be exhumed recently by Ogre and re-mixer Mark Walk.

For More Information:
Nettwerk Records
8730 Wilshire Blvd
Suite 330
Beverly Hills CA 10012

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