Yoko's thorny back catalog gets another set of radical remakes
Some artists are primarily about the work, others about the ideas. John Cage tilted famously towards latter, ditto his pal and co-conspirator Yoko Ono, whose recent career retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art was an impressive reminder. Among those ideas, the 2007 LP Yes I’m A Witch was a good one, with collaborators remixing and reimagining her thorny back catalog. This sequel takes a similar approach, to mixed effect.
On the downside: lead track “Walking On Thin Ice,” where DJ hero Danny Tenaglia replaces Ono’s best-ever club groove with overripe strings – odd, since he’s done bangin’ remixes of the song in the past. But there’s plenty of upside here, too. See Tune-Yards’ five-alarm “Warrior Woman,” which swaps the deep cut’s lite pop-rock for a barrage of samples and crashing beats; Miike Snow’s “Catman,” which giddily updates the original’s sexy-dada prog-rock; and Moby’s “Hell In Paradise,” a beautifully ambient abstraction of her mid-Eighties single. Even in the most radically-overhauled settings, Ono’s feminist, activist, avant-garde spirit is a beacon – the sound of a good witch still making radical ideas seem possible, and fun to boot.