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Zen master music producer Rick Rubin has played Yoda to countless musicians over the last decades. So he’s the perfect guy to executive produce an album of Star Wars-themed EDM. The possibilities for such a project are pretty limitless, and the best tracks here approach the beloved source material with a sense of humor: Miami duo GTA’s trap-step jape “Help Me!” is a frenetic, screw-ball mash-up of triumphal storm trooper-stomp horn flares, Princess Leia distress calls and Darth Vader heavy breathing. Other artists go for evocative beauty (see avant-hip hop visionary Flying Lotus’ “R2 Where Are U,” an adorably bleepy microhouse glide). Rubin himself teams up with producer A-Trak for a spacily slamming remix of “Jabba Flow,” a reggae-tinged track written by director JJ Abrams and Hamilton genius Lin-Manuel Miranda that appeared in The Force Awakens.
It would’ve been nice, however, if more contributors had taken chances. Claude VonStroke’s “R2 Knows” is so-so techno with goofy planet-rock rapping that recapitulates plot points from the movies, and artists like “Harlem Shake” auteur Baauer’s “Cantina Boys” or Royksopp’s “Bounty Hunters” seem content to throw a snatch of Vader or 3PO or Boba Fett over a pro forma hunk of electro-throb and and call it a day. For the Star Wars generation, it can be hard to get beyond timid fanboy reverence.