For those unaware, the new compilation is called "Information Society - Pure Energy - The Very Best Of." More info on these websites:
Tower Records - cover art viewable here
Amazon - short audio samples here
I'll skip the tracks that appear exactly as on other albums, and focus on the new stuff...
Track 1 - It's entitled simply "What's On Your Mind (Pure Energy)" like the track we've always seen, but this is not it. Someone took the vocal track Kurt laid down for "InSoc Recombinant," and set it to a bar-by-bar remake of WOYM's original instrumental track.
It's not a remix, it's a cover of the original tune. It seems that they wanted to get as close to the Tommy Boy version of the tune as they could without getting sued. The instrumental samples are almost the originals-but not quite.
It's actually not a bad cover - think really good MIDI or MOD covers from the early 90s. There are some interesting effects added to the famous synthesized guitar solos, as well. It has the tweaks Kurt added in Recombinant, such as "I wanna know" becoming "I want TO know."
BUT - and it's a big BUT - the "Star Trek" speech samples were all replaced with some bored-sounding guy saying the words.
It's not so bad with "Pure Energy," but it is wince-inducing to hear him say "Des-truct-tionnnnnnnn" (not a manipulated clip like the original, the guy is actually saying it that way.) And the less said about his "auuggghhh!!!!" which immediately follows it, the better.
I actually like this mix, but I can see a few reasons why people might not. On that note, it's downright misleading to fans of the original - nowhere on the CD case or liner notes does it label this as a cover, remix, or whatever it's classifiable as. Those unfamiliar with the switch from T-Boy to Cleo might buy this expecting the original.
2-6 - You've heard these before.
7 - "What's On Your Mind (Pure Energy) - Effcee mix
The only really "new" mix on this disc, this is really enjoyable. It's a bit more synthpop/electronica and less goth/industrial than the Recombinant mixes, without reaching the dance-hall pop levels of the Tommy Boy remixes of a few years ago. No piano samples to be found here, but plenty of bolts and drum machines.
8 - "Are Friends Electric?" Feat. Gary Numan
This is Kurts's cover of the Gary Numan track from DBA, but with a new twist - they took Gary's vocal track laid down for his Cleopatra remix album, and added that to this track, effectively turning it into a duet between Gary and Kurt. It works very well, bringing forth a nice image of what it might actually be like in the increasingly unlikely event we ever get those two together on stage...
The backwards message at the end has been removed.
9-13 - You've heard these before.
Er... what? Somebody has been playing too much "Vice City." A cel-shaded car, motorcycle, and helicopter adorn some comic-book-style panels, while someone who looks sort of like 1980s Kurt holds a gun and looks sneaky. It doesn't fit anything at all on the disc.
The most interesting feature of this is the first lines of the inside pages...
"InSoc is Kurt Harland.
Produced by Kurt Harland * Illustrations by Ben Nunez."
So, Kurt produced this. I guess that would make this the most "official" out of the many InSoc compilations. If this is so, then he went through this whole thing without mentioning it on the Internet, which is a bit unlike him...
Also... no mention of http://insoc.org at all. No Insoc logo. No InSoc border tiles. Make of all that what you will...
And there you have it. If these are worth the price of a discount CD to you, pick it up.