Review Summary: Cyberpony 2021
So far this has been a polarizing release and I’ve seen a lot of let-down fans of the album express their disappointment with the remixes.
Ultimately I could do without Clams Casino’s short intro-like beat treatment of ‘Feiticeira’, Mike Shinoda’s EDM take on ‘Passenger’s chorus, and DJ Shadow’s self-sabatoge of the hype around his involvement on the remix album on ‘Digital Bath’ (dude, why those vocal samples?).
Everyone else did a solid job. This is an assortment of artists with the honor of reinterpretating a record currently on its 20th anniversary of release that had long since reached ‘classic’ status, acclaim, and adornment beyond what the metamorphosising nu-metal band had imagined, and is definitely more a reflection of the band’s taste than letting some fans down only cuz they aren’t familiar with the remixing artists’ material or genres. Beside the veteran artists such as Robert Smith and Mike Shinoda, there are some names that would not normally be on Deftones fans’ radars.
I’m not sure what some fans had expected. Considering that Deftones have clearly been involved in different bands, projects, and genres outside of the band, and had always introduced new elements and sounds to their music, nothing here for me is surprising since White Pony is was their move away from imposed expectations for them. They couldn’t stay nu-metal when it started to be a fad. They had their music influenced by hip-hop, reggae, trip-hop, dream pop, shoegaze, synthwave, etc.
This is why I can forgive if a small part of me also expected more out of a remix from Clams or Blanck Mass. Remixes are not something you can predict as easy as a cover done by let’s say Deftones covering Duran Duran.
Although he awkwardly pomped up Maynard James Keenan in that chorus, Mike Shinoda did his own successful remix album with his nu-metal band 19 years ago and produced a well-done single out of ‘Passenger’ to attract Linkin Park/EDM fans to maybe check out the originals. It was also nice to hear Chi’s bassline stick out.
Clams did his thing taking some of the whispered vocals of ‘Feiticeira’ and turning into a bass-heavy, hazy, old-school ASAP Rocky type hip hop beat with buried guitar distortion. DJ Shadow cooked ‘Digital Bath’ into some club style track with some corny-ass vocal samples, cool fluttery turntablism, and a main reason why fans are mad about the record. Blanck Mass made ‘Elite’ into Metroid boss battle on amphetamines, Phantogram and Purity Ring steer ‘Street Carp’’ and ‘Knife Prty’ towards a SNW-like trap-dream pop while keeping the dramatic moments of the songs, and Trevor Jackson transformed ‘Korea’ into a trip-hop/techno track that would not be out of place in a cyberpunk/dystopic film soundtrack.
I love Salva’s take of ‘RX Queen’ cuz of the emphasis of the original drum break from the song, malfunctioning into sick glitchy breakbeats. Tourist makes one of the most fun tracks on here flipping Change into a uptempo, distorted dub-heavy house track, that *** makes me want to 2-step.
Not surprisingly Robert Smith made ‘Teenager’ a more beautiful track and not outdated anymore by subtracting Delgado’s breaks.
The cream of the damn crop has to be the finale ‘Pink Maggit’. Squarepusher made his best remix that I’ve heard. This one sounds more true to the songs than the other remixes sans Robert Smith’s. It gets straight to the point and never stops delivering. The drums sound like they were played live until everything starts to glitch into metal-IDM.
I wasn’t in love with “White Pony” when it came out, I was too young to understand its standing on the genre or scene or whatever importance people projected back then. I always enjoyed “Around the Fur” and the self-titled more because of the consistency of the aggression and mood those albums had. Plus the ‘90s captured me with all of those interesting electronic genres flourishing and slowly being brought into the mainstream. Just as Deftones were interested in DJ Shadow’s groundbreaking work and approaching him to touch on their work, Linkin Park did the same thing 19 years ago, approaching rapper, DJs, fellow scene musicians, and other collaborators to remix their material. I probably wouldn’t had found mysef enjoying the glitchy, dubby, electronic elements I love 20 years later had I not been exposed to from Linkin Park’s own remix album by chance at an early age (It was the gundam artwork that got me). Difference between “Reanimation” and “Black Stallion” is that Deftones curated more abstract versions of WP. 20 years is also a long time for an album such as WP to settle into fans and with age one could be less receptive to a reimagining if it’s not close to a style they like.
To hell with that, I found myself enjoying the remixes of Street Carp and Pink Maggit more than the originals after all this time.
I’d recommend at least checking out some of the remixing artists’ material such as Tourist and Trevor Jackson before trashing this cuz some of y’all clearly can’t handle metal songs turning into glitch-trip-trap-hip-hop versions.