Top 100 Albums of the Decade: #75 The Free Design - The Now Sound Redesigned

Top 100 Albums of the Decade list will be posted over the course of 100 days. On September 23rd, we will post one album and continue every day until December 31st, when we will unveil our #1 album of the decade!

Please read our introduction to learn about our nominating and ordering process.

#75 The Free Design - The Now Sound Redesigned

The Now Sound Redesigned assembled some of the best production talent of our era to reinterpret the sounds of The Free Design. In the process they created an album that is fresh, living, and an important resuscitation of a 1960s musical phenomena that impacted many influential artists of our time.

The Free Design were a "brother and sister act" (5 members of the Dedrick family). The Free Design shaped their music in the Baroque pop style of the time and mixed it with more sunny pop sounds also popular in the late 60s. This sound would inform the music of Stereolab probably more than any artist. Cornelius, Pizzicato Five, Beck, also consider them a significant influence. Despite this legacy, the band was largely forgotten in the noise of more commercially lauded groups of the time. The Japanese artist Cornelius would bring attention to them in the 1990s, re-releasing their catalog on his imprint label, Trattoria. (This and other interest inspired the band to reunite in the 00s to record their first new album since disbanding in the early 70s.)

Some of the material on Redesigned has been completely re-envisioned, enveloping bits and pieces of the original Free Design tracks and tossing them into something totally new. "To A Black Boy" (Danger Mouse & Murs Mix), for example, blends Free Design samples with a Murs rap to build an original track. Other tracks have been updated more subtly and maintain the feel and structure of the originals. "An Elegy" (Kid Koala & Dynomite D. Mix) is a particularly well-done and stirring track.

The list of contributors to this Cherry Red project include a pantheon of the world's most exciting production and artistic talent: including Madlib, Danger Mouse, The Murs, Peanut Butter Wolf, Caribou, Stereolab, Styrofoam, Nobody, Super Furry Animals, Koushik, and Kid Koala.

[ play ] | [ download mp3 ] The Free Design - An Elegy (Kid Koala & Dynomite D. Remix)

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