Category: remixes

If you’ve been been frequenting this site over the course of the last several years, you’d be extremely familiar with JOVM mainstay Rhythm Scholar. And over the years, the wildly prolific New York-based DJ, producer and remixer has developed a reputation for a continuing series of genre-mashing remixes packed with both obscure and recognizable samples in a way that’s reminiscent of Paul’s Boutique-era Beastie Boys. Last year, Rhythm Scholar released an incredible Girl Talk-like mashup of Herbie Hancocks “Rockit” and Michael Jacksons “Bad,” that the producer, DJ and remixer has dubbed “Bad Rockit” and sonically the mashup possessed a club-banging, retro-futuristic feel with a larger-than-life, I’m going to kick ass, take names and kick more ass-like swagger.

This year, Rhythm Scholar returns to his signature genre-mashing remixes — this time with a shimmering and dance floor-friendly remix of Tears For Fears‘ mega-hit “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” that also meshes “Mother’s Milk” “Memories Fade” and “Mad World” with an additional bit of funk from Locksmith while retaining elements of their beloved sound.

 

 

 

As I’ve frequently mentioned on this site, I’m often multitasking while listening to singles on Soundcloud and as a result I’ve often (and serendipitously) discovered new artists that have caught my attention — including this Phife Dawg/A Tribe Called Quest/Earth, Wind and Fire tribute track “Earth Wind and Phifer” by New York-based producer and remixer Jewbei that features Phife rhyming over a chopped up Earth Wind and Fire sample with boom bap beats — and it’s done in a such a warm, organic fashion that it channels J. Dilla‘s legendary and beloved production.

 

Last month, I wrote about the NYC-based electro funk/neo-disco production and artist duo Holy Ghost!. And with the release of their 2011 self-titled debut, 2013’s Dynamics through renowned indie dance label DFA Records and their 2015 self-released remix album, Work For Hire, the duo comprised of Alex Frankel and Nicholas Millhiser have seen a growing national and international profile, which has resulted in the duo remixing the work of Katy PerryLCD SoundsystemMoby and a lengthy list of others; made national TV appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The Late Show with David Letterman; toured with the legendary New Order; and played sets at some of this country’s and the world’s biggest festivals including CoachellaOutside LandsPrimavera Sound and Bonnaroo.

April 29, 2016 will mark the release of the Crime Cutz EP through DFA Records, and the EP’s first single and title track “Crime Cutz” further cements the duo’s reputation for crafting slickly produced  retro-futuristic electronic funk as the duo pairs shimmying synths, early 80s hip-hop break beats, undulating and swirling 8 bit electronics and a sinuous bass line paired with ethereal yet sensually cooed vocals and anthemic hooks. Sonically, the song seems to draws so much influence from Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit,” that it sounds as though it could easily back in 1983.

Recently, Eli Escobar remixed “Crime Cutz” and while his remix retains the retro-futuristic feel of the original, as well as its anthemic hooks, Escobar’s remix is much more propulsive and forceful — layers of shimmying and shimmering synths are paired with stuttering and skittering drum programming, a driving motorik groove, 8 bit bloops and bleeps and ethereal yet sensually cooed vocals that pushes the song in the direction of The Man Machine and Radioactivity-era Kraftwerk and classic house music; in other words, it’s an infectious and slickly produced club banger with an expansive groove.

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past 14 months or so, you may have come across a post or two on Luis Vasquez’s solo electronic music recording project, The Soft Moon. After the release of Zeroes, Vasquez’s sophomore Soft Moon album, Vasquez announced that it would be the last solo Soft Moon album. However, after relocating to Venice, Vasquez changed his mind. Living in almost complete solitude, as a strange in a foreign land, Vasquez retreated into his thoughts and his work. And the result was what was arguably the most visceral and emotional material Vasquez has ever written, his third full-length album, Deeper. 

Album single “Feel” consists of layers of staccato synths, wobbling low end, ominously swirling electronics, followed by buzzing synths and subtly industrial clang and clatter  paired with Vasquez’s aching vocals. Although the song possesses the sort of sound that could rock a huge club, it’s intimate as it delves into the psyche of a self-eviserating  narrator, who describes how empty, meaningless and superficial they feel. Recently a number of electronic artists have remixed Vasquez’s Deeper; in fact, Captured Tracks released Deeper Remixed Vol. 1 last year, and February will mark the release of Deeper Remixed Vol. 2. Ninos du Brasil remixed “Feel” and while their remix retains the some of the original percussion and synths as well as Vasquez’s vocals, their remix is a little bit warmer as squiggly guitars, and more propulsive percussion is added; in some way, it pushes the song gently towards the direction of scuzzy, industrial house.

 

 

 

Over the past two years or so, Vancouver, BC-based producer, electronic music artist, Pat Lok has quickly built an international profile. Lok’s 2013 remixes of Cashmere Cat and Justin Timberlake, along with his own original single “Remember” received BBC Radio One airplay – and an AlunaGeorge bootleg, which was praised by the renowned electronic act received over 300,000 plays. Original singles like “Move Slow” and “Same Hearts” were released to critical praise from the likes of Vice’s THUMP and iTunes — and at at one point, the Canadian electronic music artist received over 1 million Soundcloud plays. Adding to a growing international profile, Lok has played clubs across Canada, Western Europe, Mexico, Columbia and the US.

Lok has been rather prolific this year, releasing a number of high profile singles that have captured the attention of this site and other blogs — and he ends the year with the release of “Your Lips” feat. Dirty Radio, a single that has seen airplay from BBC Radio 1Xtra, as well as spins by a number of renowned DJs including Tensnake, Moon Boots, Goldroom, Just Kiddin, Nick Catchdubs and others. And when you hear the song, you’ll see why it’s received such attention early on as the song pairs layers of cascading synths and skittering drum programming with Dirty Radio’s sultry vocals to create a song that possesses a seductive and dance-floor ready groove — while nodding to synth pop and R&B. Sonically, the song reminds me a little bit of a house music-version of Michael Jackson‘s “I Can’t Let Her Get Away.

The Vancouver, BC-based producer and electronic music artist recently announced the release of the “Your Lips” remix package, which features remixes from Dutch producer Tony Tritone, Leeds, UK-based artist Crvvcks and renowned Chicago-based duo Christian Rich.  The Tony Tritone remix (below) retains the soulful vocals but pairs them with hard hitting drum and bass and atmospheric synths to give the song an airy and  funky soul-leaning feel that makes the song sound as though it were drawing from Dam-Funk and 80s synth R&B — all while remaining dance-floor friendly.

 

 

Adelaide, Australia-born and Palm Springs, CA-based singer/songwriter Sia has had quite a career, as she can trace her career’s origins to when she was the vocalist in Adelaide-based acid jazz act Crisp in the mid 1990s. After the band’s breakup in 1997, Sia released her debut effort, OnlySee through Flavoured Records and relocated to London, where she provided vocals for British duo Zero 7.

After the release of Healing Is Difficult, an album inspired and informed by the death of her-then boyfriend Dan Pontifex and Colour the Small One, the Australian-born singer/songwriter, who was deeply displeased with the fact that her work was struggling to connect with a mainstream audience, relocated to NYC and began touring the US. During a two year break in which she “retired” as a pop performer and focused on being a pop songwriter, Sia developed a reputation as go-to co-songwriter and songwriter as she’s credited with writing or co-writing songs for and by an incredibly diverse and impressive list of mega-hit artists. A short list of her writing credits include Ne-Yo‘s “Let Me Love You (Until You Learn to Love Yourself),Rihanna‘s “Diamonds,” Kylie Minogue‘s “Sexercize,”  Beyonce‘s “Standing On The Sun,” Katy Perry‘s “Double Rainbow,” Britney Spears‘ “Perfume,” Beyonce’s “Pretty Hurts,” Christina Aguilera‘s “You Lost Me,” Lea Michele‘s “Cannonball,” Pitbull, Jennifer Lopez and Claudia Leitte‘s “We Are One (Ole Ola),” and countless others. (This shouldn’t be terribly surprising as Sia’s sound and aesthetic draws from hip-hop, funk, soul and pop while managing to sound unlike any of her contemporaries.)

Interestingly, Sia’s first taste of international stardom came in a rather unexpected fashion. She initially wrote “Titanium,” for Alicia Keys but the song wound up being sent to EDM superstar David Guetta, who included Sia’s demo vocals on the song and released it as single in 2011. The song was a massive commercial success as it peaked on the top of record charts across the US, Australia and Europe. But it was “Chandelier,” the breakout hit off her sixth, full-length effort, 1000 Forms of Fear was a commercial and critical success. The single was nominated for four Grammys last year — Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Pop Solo Performance and Best Music Video; and she nabbed several ARIA Awards and MTV Music Awards, which established the Australian-born singer/songwriter as an internationally-recognized star, in the same lines of the artists she had written for during her “retirement.”

Sia’s seventh, full-length album This Is Acting is slated for a January 29, 2016 release, and in an interview with NME, she has mentioned that the forthcoming album is much more pop-orientated than its predecessor. And interestingly enough, the album’s third and latest single “Alive” was co-written by Adele and was intended to be on Adele’s latest album 25. When you hear the song, you can actually hear Adele’s influence on the song — the piano-led introduction and the song’s soaringly anthemic hooks; however, as gorgeous as Adele’s voice is, the song just feels and sounds as though it just had to be Sia’s. Not to say that Adele hasn’t had profound experiences at a young age but lyrically, the song conveys a sense of wisdom, pride and triumph over life’s fucked up circumstances — deprivation (financial and emotional), heartache, despair, loneliness and worse. And when you hear Sia’s voice crack ever so slightly when she sings  “I’m still breathing/I’m still breathing/I’m alive,” during the song’s anthemic hook, it feels like a punch right in the ribs or in the solar plexus. Of course similarly to Gloria Gaynor‘s “I Will Survive,” the song possess an infectious “you can and will get through anything/you go-girl” optimism. It’s honestly the sort of song that the women of your life will lustily yell along to while driving to or from the club.

Recently Sia announced a remix package of “Alive” that features remixes and reworks from Maya Jane Coles, AFSHeeN, Boehm, Cahill and fellow Australian, Plastic Plates. In a recent interview with The Fader, the Australian producer was asked how the “Alive” remix came about, and as he explained to the publication, “Sia and I first met in Sydney 2001. Sam Dixon and I shared an apartment in Bondi and Sia crashed at our place. Until 2010, I played drums on Sia’s albums and toured around the world in her band. This is my 3rd remix for Sia, “Cloud” in 2010, “Chandelier” in 2014 and now “Alive.”Given our musical history, reinterpreting Sia’s vocals is effortless and pure joy for me.”

Plastic Plates’ rework turns the torch burning pop song into a slickly produced synth-based club-banger  as his production includes stuttering drum programming, cascading synths, wobbling and tumbling low-end, sirens and other assorted bleeps and bloops while retaining the song’s anthemic hooks and Sia’s achingly heartfelt vocals.

 

Over the course of this site’s history, the profile, New York-based DJ, producer and remixer Rhythm Scholar has become a JOVM mainstay artist for a series of wildly inventive remixes, which featured his signature, genre-mashing, psychedelic-leaning sound packed with a number of obscure and recognizable samples throughout.  His latest work is a Girl Talk-like mashup that mashes two 80s mega-hits — Herbie Hancock‘s “Rockit” and Michael Jackson‘s “Bad,” that the producer, DJ and remixer has dubbed “Bad Rockit” which interestingly enough possesses a retro-futuristic and club banging feel and a larger-than-life, kick ass and name-taking swagger.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the past year Moonbabies, a Malmö, Sweden-based indie electro pop act comprised of husband and wife duo Ola Frick and Carina Johansson Frick have become something of a mainstay act on JOVM, as I’ve written about several singles off their impressive Wizards on The Beach, which was released earlier this year and have interviewed Ola Frick as part of the site’s ongoing Q&A series.

Although the Fricks have known each other since they were both high schoolers, they started writing and recording together in 1997. And with the release of their debut effort, the Malmo, Sweden-based duo had quickly developed a reputation for crafting an intricate shoegazer rock-based sound. However, by the time the duo had written, recorded and released their critically and commercially successful sophomore effort, The Orange Billboard the duo’s sound expanded and had become refined; in fact, many critics across Europe had compared the album’s sound favorably to Wilco‘s critically acclaimed effort, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. And as a result of the critical attention the album received, the duo embarked on an extensive European tour to support it. War on SoundThe Orange Billboard‘s follow-up effort was a critical and commercial success in Sweden and the album’s title track “War on Sound” won them greater international attention as the song was featured on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy

As the story goes, the Fricks were busily working on what would be their highly-awaited, third full-length effort, the couple had begun to feel an increasing pressure to create and deliver songs that were commercially viable — to the point that that they had begun to feel as though they were drifting away from their initial creative vision and spirit. Recognizing that they were in a creative rut, the duo forced themselves out of the their comfort zone, relocating to Berlin, Germany. While in Berlin, they quickly felt in love with the city’s globally renowned EDM and house music scenes; in fact, as a result, the material they had begun writing began to lean heavily towards a more electronic-based sound. However, the duo did feel an entirely different pressure — the pressure of having to prove themselves in a much bigger, much more competitive scene, and after two years in Germany, the Fricks returned to their native country and started the recording progress again.

Upon their return to Sweden, the duo found the recording process to be both unsuccessful and frustrating, as they spent time forcing themselves to be push the process forward, scrapping it when the material didn’t feel exactly how they wanted it and then starting over, which according to the Fricks, they did more than 30 times. Interestingly, as the band has publicly noted, the birth of their son seemed to be the catalyst that breathed new life into their entire creative process and forced a change in approach. Their approach became much simpler – move past bad memories and associations, and focus on the songs that evoked a visceral sensation. As they were going through old material, they began to see things that they didn’t originally see within the material, and they found that ideas started to flow about naturally around it — and in a way that they hadn’t had in a while. And the end result was the duo’s aforementioned Wizards on the Beach.

Album single “24” pairs layers of shimmering synths, boom bap-like drums, acoustic guitar and industrial clang and clatter with Frick’s ethereal vocals to create a song that evokes the sensation of waking from a pleasant and yet half-remembered dream while subtly channeling the work of Jose Gonzalez and Junip. Recently, the London-based duo Glass Children remixed Moonbabies “24” as part of a unique remix exchange between both bands (you’ll hear about the band shortly), and their remix pairs Ola Frick’s vocals while an upbeat production consisting of layers of gently undulating synths, propulsive, tribal drumming that makes the song much more club-ready and yet trippy while retaining the dreamy feel of its original.

Comprised of David Fairweather and Daniella Kleovoulou, the London-based electronic duo The Glass Children craft dark, 80s inspired, upbeat electro pop consisting of lush production and ethereal vocals.  Their uptempo single “Undone” pairs layers of undulating synths, swirling electronics and Kleovoulou’s ethereal vocals in a song that sways and swoons with a plaintive Romanticism. Moonbabies’ remix pairs Kleovoulou’s ethereal vocals with swirling electronics and tribal-like percussion that actually makes the remix sound as though it could have been on Wizards on the Beach while retaining the original’s plaintive Romanticism — and of course, adding a dreamy fade out to the conclusion reminiscent of the ending of Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence.”

I recently spoke to Moonbabies’ Ola Frick and The Glass Children’s David Fairweather and Daniella Kleovoulou via email about their unique remix exchange, their inspiration behind each band’s take on the other’s material and what’s next for both bands. Check it out below.

WRH: Moonbabies and The Glass Children recently remixed a single from their most recent full-length efforts — and both acts are releasing them on the same day as part of a “remix exchange” for lack of a better phrase. With Moobabies being based in Malmo, Sweden and The Glass Children being based in London, I wanted to know how did this collaboration come about? 

Daniella Kleovoulou: It was through Twitter actually. When “Undone” was released Moonbabies discovered the track through a blog review and tweeted about it. A bit later Ola [Frick] contacted us about remixing the song which we were really up for. I told him that David [Fairweather] played me “24” a while back from a BIRP playlist and we both loved the song so Ola asked if we’d like to remix it in exchange . . . and that’s how it all started.

Ola Frick: Both of us loved “Undone” when we first heard it, I guess it was back in January-February maybe. And since their other tracks also showed that they’re pretty extraordinary we wanted to get in touch and see if we could do a collaboration or remix exchange, and that was just what happened. Nice peeps as it seems!

L to R: Daniella Kleovoulou and David Fairweather of London's The Glass Children and Ola Frick and Carina Johansson Frick of Malmo, Sweden's Moonbabies
L to R: Daniella Kleovoulou and David Fairweather of London’s The Glass Children and Ola Frick and Carina Johansson Frick of Malmo, Sweden’s Moonbabies

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WRH: The Moonbabies’ remix of The Glass Children’s “Undone” retains Daniella Kleovoulou’s husky vocals but pairs them with a percussive yet very dreamy production consisting of undulating and swirling electronics before ending with chiming keys and a distorted vocal sample that evoke the sensation of waking from a dream. That remix sounds as though it could have been a B-side to Wizards on the Beach. Ola, why did you choose “Undone”? The remix manages to retain the original’s spirit while giving the song a different interpretation. What inspired your remix?  

Ola Frick: I’d say all my good studio work starts with a being filled up to the limit with a great feel/inspiration to begin with. Confidence, as well. And if you have it, it all goes smooth, happens fast and is driven by pure instinct. With this track I needed to have a complete blank canvas and just let it out. It happened very fast, 3-4 hours with some extra tweaks a day or two later, including mix/mastering. I just felt the song, and let it go in any way. And the first path it took (the big rhythm and thick vocals in focus) was the right. I’m very happy with it.

WRH: The Glass Children’s remix of Moonbabies “24”retains the Fricks’ vocals put pairs them with an uptempo, dance pop production — shimmering synths, skittering drum programming, swirling electronics, and the like. It sounds as though it’s both headphone-ready and club-friendly. And much like the Moonbabies’ remix, your remix retains the original’s spirit while giving the song a different interpretation. Why did you choose “24”? What inspired your remix?  

David Fairweather: It’s partly inspired by the same production ideas we had for our song “Undone”: a big bass and lots of 80’s analogue synths. We went for a melancholic feel but with some euphoric strings poking their heads in.  We wanted to keep the beautiful central riff the Moonbabies wrote on the guitar, but instead translate it to the piano.

WRH: What’s next for both bands? 

Daniella Kleovoulou: We’re currently working on our debut EP and organising some shows around London for the winter. In the next couple of weeks, we’ll also be streaming an electro cover of Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra‘s “Some Velvet Morning” on SoundCloud.

Ola Frick: We have a few dancy Remixes we’ve done of tracks by the bands Blind Lake, Cantaloupe and The Land Below, that I guess and hope will be out before the end of 2015. And as you know we just released the Deluxe Edition Version of Wizards on the Beach with 12 bonus tracks. It sort of marks an end to a very long cycle for us. It feel great to get back into making something brand new, a complete fresh start, as were on a blank paper. Don’t know when something new will be out. One thing [that] stands out of the experience of working within the music industry 2015, is that we’re doing it straight out of pure joy, nothing else. We have set up our own imprint label Culture Hero, and no real pressure. My guess is a spring-time Moonbabies single or EP release. When something great pops up, we’ll capture it and release it. And I’m not lying when I say that I feel more confident and inspired than ever.