Random Access Memories
For a superstar of his illustrious standing, Elton John still takes a remarkable interest in new music.
Elton has famously adopted many musical protégés over the years and the latest artists to feel the benefit of his patronage are Pnau, the Australian electronic-music duo of Peter Mayes and Empire Of The Sun front man Nick Littlemore.
This curious project saw Elton hand the duo the master tapes of his chart-strafing early 1970s albums with the instruction to do whatever they wanted with them. Pnau responded by breaking the songs down into their tiniest fragments then reassembling them into fresh songs.
The resulting mash-up sounds surprisingly natural and organic. The album's opening, title track – which has also been selected as a London 2012 Olympics anthem – boasts samples of no less than eight Elton originals, yet sounds as sleek and streamlined as the Pet Shop Boys attempting a rave-pop anthem.
The disco-fied Sad sighs with a heartfelt sweet melancholy; the piquant Foreign Fields hangs around a spectral hook from 1973 album track High Flying Bird. Strangest by far is Telegraph To The Afterlife, which veers into the kind of cosmic psychedelic terrain favoured by early Pink Floyd.
Few superstar artists would OK such a bizarre, leftfield project. Hearing this slick album, Elton John can be delighted that he did.