This year’s The King Of Limbs, a return to the shivery electronics of Radiohead’s Kid A/Amnesiac era, felt slight almost to the point of incompleteness. For fans conditioned to expect grand statements from the group, the idea of a minor Radiohead album was tough to reconcile. Some registered their disappointment immediately; others clung to rumors that the release was just the first of a two-part epic, citing as evidence a wishful misreading of the album’s final track, “Separator,” and Thom Yorke’s parting tease “if you think this is over, then you’re wrong.” A two-disc compilation of Limbs remixes first released over a series of 12-inches, TKOL RMX 1234567 may not be the missing second record those fans were hoping for, but at nearly three times the length of the proper album, it expands The King Of Limbs into a monolith on a scale with Radiohead’s most sweeping works.
The best of these remixes excite and innovate in ways their counterparts didn’t. Caribou’s “Little By Little” trades the original’s rhythmic cyclone for a barren pulse and a lonesome harp. Four Tet’s hypnotic “Separator” is a downy haze of loops and chimes. Some tracks tread into abstractness—Shed distils “Little By Little” to a desolate, glitchy chug, and Blawan’s tense “Bloom” is straight out of a horror film— but most audacious are the ones that repurpose Radiohead for the dance floor. Jacques Greene brings “Lotus Flower” to a climax of acid-house synths, while Lone’s “Feral” contrasts a posh house beat with fits of brusque percussion. TKOL RMX is, if anything, excessively thorough. Every crevice of The King Of Limbs gets exhaustively dissected, repurposed, and re-imagined, with “Bloom” alone receiving five remixes. That may feel like overkill, but this time when the album ends, there’s closure.