Alt-J goes hip-hop with “Reduxer”


courtesy of NME

Kaley Barnhill, Staff Intern

Alt-J returned with “Reduxer,” a remix of their 2017 album “Relaxer,” on Friday, Sept. 28.

Unlike most other remixes,  “Reduxer” features new vocals and rappers on every track.

As Alt-J is considered alternative or experimental rock, the inclusion of rappers like Pusha T made for a more interesting and dynamic choice. The album features rappers from all over the world, including German rapper Kontra K who raps in German and Puerto Rican rapper PJ Sin Suela, who raps in Spanish.

When Alt-J introduced “Reduxor” on their Facebook page, they explained that they are heavily influenced by hip-hop and that this concept had been a dream of theirs for a long time. The album begins with the track “3WW,” featuring Little Simz. Her straightforward rapping and repetition of numbers accompanied by the ethereal vocals and music of the original song make for an impactful remix.

One of the most impactful lines is when Little Simz raps, “Too much of anything be bad for you, need balance. The yin and yang is never bad for you, the good and the bad, men and women, they unite.” The song is also chock full of references to things like pop culture and climate change, which engage listeners.

“Pleader” is an interesting song, as it is another song that features repetition throughout the lines, and also tells PJ Sin Suela’s story of moving to New York from his “Green valley” home. This song is especially interesting and fun to listen to as he switches between English and Spanish. There is also a part of the song that sounds like chanting, about the green valley he is from, making the song especially unique.

One of the stand-out songs of the album is “House of the Rising Sun,” featuring Tuka. It is incredibly moving, telling the story of the narrator’s dying father, difficult childhood and his mother’s poor relationship choices. The chorus, still sung by Alt-J, is sad and beautiful as it states, “There is a house in New Orleans/They call the Rising Sun/And it’s been the ruin of many a poor soul/And, Lord, my father’s one.” The music, although now electronic, has a similar feel to the original version of the song which works in Alt-J’s favor.

The last song on the album, “Hit Me Like That Snare” featuring Rejjie Snow, is an upbeat, fun way to end the album. The song has great rhythm and the lyrics, “I’m so crazy in love with you, I like all the things you do,” make the song catchy.

An interesting aspect of the album is the music. Alt-J made much of the music sound faster paced and more electronic than their usual style. However, they did it well enough that they were able to retain much of their experimental, sometimes dreamlike, sound. The incorporation of different styles that matched both the rappers’ additions to the songs, as well as the original song make it an interesting listen, especially for fans of “Relaxer.”

Overall, the album is a great addition to Alt-J’s music and makes for a fun, quick album.

I rate it at 4 out of 5.