What an Arcade Fire x James Murphy Collaboration Might Sound Like

arcade fire new album lp4

We’ve been teased with a potential life-affirming Arcade Fire x LCD Soundsystem collaboration ever since the two superbands went on tour together back in 2007. At LCD’s final concert, members of Arcade Fire appeared on stage for “North American Scum.” Later, James Murphy admitted that he missed out on the opportunity to collaborate with his Canadian friends because of LCD duties. And as if that wasn’t enough, we’ve even seen the two frontmen bro-ing down with some VIP area croquet. Luckily all the this teasing (imaginary and real) has an apex of potentially epic consequences: Arcade Fire recently announced their upcoming fourth album and James Murphy confirmed his participation in (at least part of) its creation.

Best. Sex. Ever.

So with this news naturally comes the thought, or the cranial orgasm, of what exactly an Arcade Fire x James Murphy collaboration might sound like. Of course we’ll never know until we hear it, but I thought it would be fun to try. I spent a few hours hunting down some remixes, covers and originals, some fantastic and some absurd, that might shed light on the upcoming album’s sound.

Arcade Fire – “No Cars Go” (Jason Forrest Remix)

Most of the Arcade Fire remixes I found followed a similar house music or vomit-inducing dubstep framework, so this one from Berlin producer Jason Forrest, which gives “No Cars Go” a darker, dancier tone, stood out immediately. It’s not a clear ringer for an LCDxAF but it does the remix thing differently enough to merit notice while still keeping the anthemic qualities of the song apparent. Plus, it’s an official Arcade-Fire-approved remix released by Merge, and Forrest runs a label called Cock Rock Disco, which just screams DFA Records to me.

Arcade Fire – “Ready To Start” (Damian Taylor Remix)

Another officially licensed remix, this time by Damian Taylor, who actually collaborated on the remix with the band itself. The result is a highly polished, extended cut that adds about three minutes of eighties industrial funk to the end of the track. It sounds more like Eno + Fripp got their hands dirty here, and considering Eno’s work with the Talking Heads and U2, the six-degrees-of-separation isn’t too hard to parse out. Hell of a remix, but still not quite nailing the potential knee-weakening Murphy collaboration.

LCD Soundsystem – “No Love Lost” (Joy Division Cover)

This one’s a stretch, really, but considering both Arcade Fire and LCD Soundsystem have covered Joy Division (Arcade Fire played “Love Will Tear Us Apart” with U2 at a Montreal gig in 2005), maybe there’s something to be gleaned from the cross pollination other than how fucking awesome LCD Soundsystem was.

U2 – “Where The Streets Have No Name” (High Contrast Remix)

God help us all if LP4 sounds anything like this. I’m losing the plot a little bit.

Bodywork – “Cruel Fascination”

Newcomer BODYWORK is a Leeds, UK duo who released their (fantastic) debut album The Grind for free earlier this year (download here). “Cruel Fascination” will be the weirdest choice on this list, but with ridiculously gifted experimental jazz musician Colin Stetson also appearing on Arcade Fire’s upcoming album, and rumblings of a jazzy theme on some tracks, and Arcade Fire’s tradition of peppering their albums with slower, more ethereal oddball tracks, it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility. Plus, it’s a really, really good song from a band you should all know about. Okay, losing the plot a bit more. But then-

Arcade Fire – “Sprawl II” (Soulwax Remix)

The clearest choice: Soulwax’s unstoppable remix of Arcade Fire’s most dance-punk-ish track to date. The end of “Sprawl II” always reminded me a bit of LCD Soundsystem, a funky, rhythmically gyrating outtro to one of their best songs to date. Soulwax (who previously remixed LCD Soundsystem’s “Get Innocuous”, in addition to two others) takes inspiration from the outtro and cuts the track wide open, splicing bone-shaking percussion, earthquaking bass and Win’s alternate vocal harmonies into not only the best Arcade Fire remix to date but also the clearest example of what an LCD Soundsystem x Arcade Fire collaboration might have sounded like.

Of course none of these sound exactly like what we’ll ultimately hear by October 29th, and even Murphy’s involvement was more to “suggest different approaches or ways of fine-tuning the material” (via Rolling Stone) rather than a full producer roll or a cross collaboration. But still, a guy can dream.

If you think I missed anything, or have your own ideas for a Murphy & Arcade Fire collaboration, let me know in the comments.

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