Bruce Haack wrote childrens songs several decades ago and released several albums on the Dimension 5 Records label. His songs dealt with everything to dealing with bullies to gravity and this various artists compilation finds a whole bunch of artists both performing covers and re-interpretations of his songs. The proceeds from the album benefit Autism Charities, so it's already got one mark in the positive column in terms of reasons for purchasing.
Kids songs have been covered by modern-day indie and electronic artists for some time now, with everything from Saturday Morning Cartoon songs to Schoolhouse Rocks getting makeovers. The Dimension Mix starts out on a high note with some of the more well-known artists on the release contributing great tracks. Beck opens the release with "Funky Little Song" and the goofy lyrics fit perfectly with his gurgling keyboards and strummy guitars and beat. If I hadn't heard it on this release, I would have thought it was a Beck original. Stereolab turns in the best track of the entire release with their seven-minute take on "Mudra" and they seem to revel in creating something that's not for one of their own releases as the track stretches out into a buzzy, noisy electro-jazz lounge freakout that sounds better than anything they've done in years.
The rest of the first half of the album is filled out with some other great contributions as Tipsy turns in fun, chopped-up version of "Popcorn" while The Apples In Stereo drop the spacy, bouncy indie pop of "Liza Jane." The second half of the release loses a bit of steam with fairly bland tracks by Irving, Blue-Eyed Son, and others. In some cases, it's not the fault of the artists themselves, just that they come later in the release that starts blurring together with track after track of buzzy synths and/or mid-tempo lounge influence. At over seventy minutes, it's a huge sampling of music for the money, but is definitely hit or miss in terms of overall quality (although it does end on a glorious note with the bizarre junk-orchestra rendition of "Nothing To Do" by the Danielson Famile. Some great music, some decent, and some fairly bland music, but it's all for a good cause.