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Hear & Now

This week on the music beat

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ELVIS, FRESHLY Ever wonder what the King would sound like if he were recorded in a modern studio? To mark the 25th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death, RCA will release Elvis 30 #1 Hits, a collection of his hit songs, recalling the Beatles’ 1, which topped the charts last year. But unlike the Fab Four set — and any reissue in history — 30 features reconfigured versions of the originals. The producers dissected the tracks and mixed them anew to create richer and more refined cuts. ”The goal is to turn people on to Elvis Presley again and not let the sonics or the tinniness turn them off,” says producer David Bendeth. He prefers not to call his finished products ”remixes” because ”’remix’ kinda conjures up the idea that we put drums on them.” But the compilation, due Sept. 24, will also include Dutch DJ JXL’s version of ”A Little Less Conversation” — with drums, samples, and everything — which has hit No. 1 by making the kids gyrate just like the Pelvis once did.

COLOUR SCHEME The band that once declared ”Elvis Is Dead” is also planning a comeback. Buoyed by the success of recent live shows, Living Colour will return to the studio this fall to record a new album due next year. ”We went to a rehearsal space and said, ‘Why don’t we just try to remember these songs,”’ says bassist Doug Wimbish, who is backing Busta Rhymes on this summer’s Area 2 tour. ”We just blazed through the stuff. The band sounds better now than ever before.” Since Colour’s breakup (after 1993’s Stain), frontman Corey Glover and guitarist Vernon Reid have released solo CDs, while Wimbish and drummer Will Calhoun have collaborated on various projects, including Mos Def’s Black Jack Johnson. ”Everybody’s lives have been filled up over eight years,” says Wimbish, who expects friends like Mos Def and Talib Kweli to guest on the disc. ”Now, we’re all better musicians and better at dealing with everything.” On Sept. 3, Epic Legacy will reissue 1988’s Vivid, featuring ”Cult of Personality.” Considered the band’s finest work, it introduced Colour’s signature mix of punk, metal, and politics, since duplicated by legions of angry young men. ”We’ve touched a lot of people’s souls,” says Wimbish. ”I can hear it in the music, from Rage Against the Machine and Limp Bizkit on down.” Well, we’ll forgive them for Limp Bizkit.