Don't Start A Band N° 2

Remixes ought to serve a purpose of utility. When an artist requests another artist to remix his or her song, he or she is hoping for -- ideally -- a reinterpretation of his or her work that adds a fresh spin to the tune. A Swedish pop single might be freshened up or dumbed down for dance floor grittiness; an industrial rock anthem might be funked up for a highfalutin vinyl crowd; a hardcore electronic jam might be softened for easy iPod indulgence. Again, this is the ideal and rarely the reality ... in fact, good remixers have been few and far between since the art's modern dawn in the late-1960s. (Early remixes tended to be of Jamaican ska, rocksteady, and reggae tracks.)

It's obvious to all that a good remix -- one that is appealing in that it either (a) adds a new layer of enjoyment to the original song or it (b) adds a new level of functionality to the cut -- is unusual, but unfortunately, the Internet age has made such an edit even more unordinary. BBBD's personal thought is that it's simply too easy to pump a remix out. Remixes can be too offhandedly constructed sans stems and knowhow today, and that's not necessarily a good thing. A pair of drunken teens thinks it'll be cool to drop a "banger" on the Web, so they break into their parents' liquor cabinet, take a few swigs of Beefeater, and get to it on their pirated copy of Ableton; a couple of turntablists looking for credibility knuckle one out in their basement "studio" and blast their massive list of blog contacts with a "Please Post" pity request the next morning.

Have we forgotten what a remix ought to be? They're not intentioned to be publicists' cheap-and-easy way of further promoting their mediocre unsigned act and they're certainly not the only way one can make the leap from Adult Contemporary radio to the JBL's of dance clubs (we're looking at you, Feist). BBBD will be bold and say that remixes ought to only be made upon request by either the artist or the remixer and approved before leaking to online journalists.

Want to hear some terrible remixes and edits? Go here and attempt to sit through the homepage's MP3s without puking. Or maybe go to this respected Web taste-maker and sift through their finds without being befuddled as to why so many (a) choose to spell their names with "z"'s in lieu of "s"'s, (b) think that the longer the moniker they select, the better, and (c) believe neon hues to be the only way to grab a reader's attention. Originality, folks -- you can do it if you put your mind to it! (Or maybe, as Ice Cube would advise, if you put your back into it.)

Below are a few spectacular remixes (no, the art's not completely gone down the toilet, and yes, BBBD loves some boss remixes here and there). These tracks are lasting in that they pose themselves to be authentic and original songs, not half-assed attempts at 2008's crummy version of drum and bass. First and foremost, they seek out and successfully find character unto themselves ... they don't sound like a trashy mess of bass and low-res sequenced drum beats or a confused jumble of guitar warbles, synth ditties, and vocodered half-baked sonic experiments. Learn from them.

Want to tell us differently? Go for it! We beg you -- try and explain to us why we're so, so wrong. We've resolved to stop downloading every remix we get and/or see in our RSS reader, though, that is for sure.

Ladyhawke - Paris Is Burning (Alex Gopher Remix)

Justice - Phantom Pt. 2 (Soulwax Remix)

Cobra Dukes - Airtight (Aeroplane Remix)

HEALTH - Triceratops (CFCF Remix)

Arrow!!! - Does (Breakbot Remix)

Yukari Fresh - Lost and Found (Hideki Kaji Remix)

Shout Out Louds - Impossible (Possible Version by Studio)

the Concretes - Keep Yours (Pacific! Remix)

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Blogger Haldan / Boody B said...

you forgot to mention us! ;)

Anonymous cosmos said...

Ranting about remixes, well... There sure is a LOT of crap out there, but at the same time if there wasn't soooo many of them, we wouldn't have the good ones either. I guess it's just our job to sort through them. :)

Blogger JJS III said...

While I agree that I've been hesitant to download every remix that appears in my RSS feed and that there is a whole lot of crap out there (a better example than calling out two blogs that are ON YOUR BLOGROLL would be to just link to the hollertronix forum), I can't agree with you that remixes "ought to only be made upon request by either the artist or the remixer and approved before leaking to online journalists."

Some great remixes emerge from someone tracking down an acappella from an artist who otherwise wouldn't give them the time of the day.

Also, some of my best friends are bad remixes!

Anonymous Beats™ said...

Oh man, is that Justice remix new or?


Blogger Dave said...

I feel like this is the manifesto Tom Cruise wrote for his ad agency in Jerry Maguire and everyone will start to hate on you but I'm going to be Renee Zelwegger and follow you into a remix-less land. After I listen to the new Justice remix of Electric Feel. Woops.

Anonymous Tony said...

Yes it is true there us a ton of cheasy pish out there but it's always been that way. Whether on CD or MP3 your always gonna have to seive out the quality tracks from the tons of nonsense. I guess the benefit of music blogs is that you find the ones that fit your taste and dingy the rest.

Also I'm rocking the phat (yes PHAT) 80's synths on that CFCF remix. Bangin!


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