Gifted with one of the richest, most distinctive voices of her generation, Beth Orton has managed to tap audiences across continents and musical genres. Hers is a refined yet striking blend of folk-rock songwriting and electronic studio wizardry, and her latest release, The Other Side of Daybreak (a companion piece to last year’s Daybreaker), takes the mixing of these elements to a literal level. The disc presents electronic remixes of Daybreaker tunes side-by-side with folky studio outtakes (like a somber, heart-wrenching rendition of “Ooh Child”) as well as an alternate version of the “Concrete Sky” video. Orton explores the woody lower register of her voice on the string-filled “Bobby Gentry,” a new track that ranks among her best. The more electronic fare is largely hit or miss: the previously unreleased “Beautiful World” is a rather drab slice of trip-hop, while the International Peoples Gang remix of “Thinking About Tomorrow” is dub chill-out worthy of William Orbit, who co-produced the original mix. Meanwhile, two serviceable reinterpretations of the flawless “Daybreaker”—originally co-produced by the Chemical Brothers—prove that sometimes there’s really no need to mess with perfection.
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