Tag: remixes

 

Earlier this year, I wrote about the up-and-coming Northern Ireland-born, Dublin, Ireland-based duo Saint Sister. And as you may recall, the act which is comprised of Gemma Doherty and Morgan MacIntrye can trace their origins to when they met while studying at the University of Dublin. They bonded over their mutual desire to create music that represented both their friendship and their “us against the world” mentality. Building upon a growing national and international profile, the duo’s Alex Ryan-produced full-length debut Shape of Silence was released earlier this year, and from album single “Steady,” the duo showcased their ability to craft an atmospheric Portishead-inspired sound centered around the duo’s gorgeous and ethereal yet heartfelt vocals.

Recently, two of Dublin’s up-and-coming underground artistrs Irish DJ and producer Kormac along with Dublin-based emcee Jafaris collaborated with the members of Saint Sister on a subtle remix/reworking of “Causing Trouble” that’s centered around the same shimmering and looped harp sample; however, while the original features big, thumping beats, the remix relies on hi-hat and shuffling beats, which puts a greater emphasis on Doherty and MacIntyre’s gorgeous vocals and Jafaris’ swaggering yet sensitive verses. And it’s done in a way in which all three vocalists sit side by side without interference — and in a way that feels natural and unhurried.  As a result, the remix finds the collaborators pushing Saint Sister’s sound more towards the direction of Tricky and Massive Attack. Interestingly, the collaboration can came about when Three Ireland invited each artist to create visually stunning music videos for one of their songs for their #MadebyMusic initiative.

“It’s good to get out of your own head and collaborate with other people, and it’s something we really enjoy doing. This one felt like it really clicked, each individual voice brought something so different,” the members of Saint Sister say in press notes. “When Kormac first sent through the remix it was like hearing it in a new context with a new lease of life. Hearing Jafaris’ verses for the first time was another brilliant moment. And playing it live is the best part. They bring so much energy to every performance, it’s always a joy to stand beside them on stage.”

“I love the idea of blending two really different artists tonality together to create something a bit different.  Producing this one was a lovely challenge as it was all about creating a space where Saint Sister’s gorgeous melodies and harmonies and Jafaris’ vocals, his delivery could sit side by side,” Kormac says of the remix in press note. “The initial idea just came from playing my piano to a glitchy loop created from one of Gemma’s harp lines. From there, it was all about bringing the sub bass to the fore and creating a couple of drops to really announce Jafaris’ vocals when they came in.”

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Throughout this site’s eight plus year history I’ve written a lot about the ridiculously prolific New York-based producer, DJ, remixer and longtime JOVM mainstay Rhythm Scholar, and as you’ll likely recall he has received attention for slickly produced, funky as hell, crowd-pleasing mashups and remixes of classic soul, funk, soul hip-hop, New Wave and others.  Interestingly, over the past year or so, the longtime JOVM mainstay has increasingly employed the use of live instrumentation to his remixes; in fact, his latest remix finds him taking on the Depeche Mode classic “Never Let Me Down Again.”

Featuring Jason Spillman (bass), Angus Mashgyver (guitar) and samples of Heavenly Music Corporation and Cliff Martinez, the remix retains Dave Gahan‘s imitable vocal but places it within a slightly more up-tempo setting with layers upon layers of arpeggiated synths, thumping beats, a dance floor friendly break, and ambient flute and other instrumentation to bolster the song’s melody in the song’s quieter moments. Live bass and guitar give the song a muscular and funky heft. But while pushing the song from ambient and industrial electro pop to thumping, industrial-inspired house, Rhythm Scholar manages to retain the most important quality of the song — it’s brooding, emotional quality.

Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Los Angeles-based, indie electro pop duo and JOVM mainstays Pr0files, and as you may recall, while becoming mainstays of this site, the duo simultaneously developed a national reputation for a slickly produced sound that possesses elements of R&B, contemporary electro pop and electronic dance music as you would have heard on the duo’s debut Jurassic Technologie, which included the sultry, shimmering and show-burning “Get It Up.”

Interestingly enough, the Washington, DC-based electronic production and artist duo Aurean have received attention with remixes of Tommie Sunshine and The Disco Fries’ Cool Without You,” as well as remixes of Lostboycrow, Linney and Ella on the Run. Along with those remixes, the duo have either opened for or performed with Above and Beyond, Dirty South, ATB and Morgan Page — and in fact, building upon a growing profile, the duo have a number of remixes set for release this year, as well as their debut EP slated for release later this year. But in the meantime, the members of the Los Angeles-based JOVM mainstays enlisted Aurean to remix “Get It Up,” and while retaining the shimmering and sensual quality of the original, Aurean picks up the pace, turning the song into a propulsive, house music-inspired club banger.

 

 

Hymns To The Night, the attention-grabbing full-length debut from post-punk duo Lea Porcelain was written and recorded over a two year period in Berlin, Germany‘s famed Funkhaus, a broadcast house created under Soviet supervision that now houses one of the world’s biggest recording studios. Interestingly enough, while the duo describes their sound as being “atmospheric, cinematic and melancholic,” the material on their debut reportedly finds the band subtly bending and playing with genre boundaries; however, album single “Warsaw Street” manages to be a decidedly post-punk single, nodding at Turn On The Bright Lights and Antics-era Interpol.

Recently, the acclaimed British DJ, producer and owner of Hotflush Recordings Paul Rose, best known as Scuba remixed the song adding thumping beats, clave and layers of undulating synths and a dance floor-friendly motorik-like groove and although he retains some of the original’s atmospheric vibe, the remix manages to focus primarily on mood and groove, creating an altogether new song with a completely different feel.

 

 

 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this over the past few years, you’ve come across several posts featuring JOVM mainstay artist Rhythm Scholar, who has developed a reputation for being both incredibly prolific and for a series of genre-mashing remixes stuffed to the gills with both obscure and recognizable samples that are reminiscent of  Paul’s Boutique-era Beastie Boys and Girl Talk. He’s also developed reputation for releasing a series of more straightforward and traditional-leaning remixes, including a breezy and jazzy remix of A Tribe Called Quest’s “Can I Kick It?” consisting of cascading organs, strummed guitar, double bass, warm blasts of funky horn and swirling electronics and a breezy, lounge funk/lounge jazz leaning remix of Tribe’s “Bonita Applebum.” 

Rhythm Scholar returns with a remix of DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince’s 1991 smash-hit “Summertime” and while retaining Will Smith‘s cool delivery and the song’s overall nostalgia-tinged Roy Ayers-like vibe the remix adds bits and snippets of samples from Kool and The Gang, Dexter Wansel, James Brown, Dave Grusin, The Eagles and a few other hidden gems, including some soulfully meandering keys and boom-bap beats.

 

 

If you had been frequenting this site over the past three years or so, you would have come across a handful of posts on the Austin TX/Houston, TX-based electro pop act  Night Drive. Comprised of primary songwriting and production duo Rodney Connell and Bradley Duhon, the Texan electro pop act can trace their origins to some rather unusual, soap opera-like yet very true circumstances — they met and bonded after they had discovered that the woman that they had both unwittingly been dating at the same time died in a tragic car accident. Since the project’s formation, the duo has received attention both on this site and elsewhere for a moody, slickly produced New Wave and synth pop sound that draws from Joy DivisionCut CopyBrian Enothe Knifethe DrumsLCD SoundsystemDepeche Mode and others. However, interestingly enough, the duo’s propulsive synth pop single “Rise and Fall” manages to sound as though it were inspired by A Flock of Seagulls “I Ran (So Far Away)” and Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” while thematically the song focuses on a the slow dissolution of a relationship in which the song’s narrator knows that the end is inevitable and coming soon — and yet, there’s the realization that walking away from a relationship is difficult, even when it’s absolutely necessary; in fact, you can sense the narrator’s deep seated fears of what his life would be like, if the relationship ends. And thanks to an aching and rousing hook, the song manages to be a break up anthem that should feel intimately and uncomfortably familiar.

Recently, the renowned Los Angeles-based production and DJ duo Classixx remixed the song, turning the moody, synth-based torch song into a breezy, funky, summery, club banger along the lines of Tuxedo, Dam-Funk, 7 Days of Funk and others, as the duo pairs the original vocal track with twinkling electric piano, a sinuous bass line and thumping beats — and as a result, the heartbreak at the core of the song is reduced to the dull throb of having time pass by. As Connell and Duhon explained to the folks at Billboard “Classixx reinterprets the song through the lens of that same person reminiscing about the incident many years later while chilling on a beach and sipping a martini. Sure it was sad and heartbreaking, but it’s hard to stay sad while in the Cayman Islands.”

As Classixx’s Michael David and Tyler Blake explained to Billboard, their remix of Night Drive’s “Rise and Fall” involved them pulling out electric piano and bass and recording one long take jamming over the vocal track. “We were feeling the groove and liked some of the imperfections, so we left them in. Our initial pass was more abstract, but the band [Night Drive] helped us bring it back a little closer to the original material. It was a pretty collaborative effort through email. I like how it still sounds a little rough around the edges though. Sometimes that’s where the charm lies,” the duo’s Tyler Blake added in an emailed statement to Billboard.

 

 

 

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past few years, you’ve likely come across Brooklyn-based indie dance pop act Body Language. Currently comprised of founding members Matthew Young and Grant Wheeler, along with Ian Chang and vocalist Angelica Bess, the Brooklyn-based act can trace its origins to when its founding duo had began crafting their own mixes and relies at a weekly party they curated and DJ’d while they were both living in Hartford, CT. And as the story goes, shortly after they had started their party, they met and recruited Angelica Bees, with whom they began writing their own original material, material that wound up comprising their debut effort Speaks. 

Interestingly, once the trio of Young, Wheeler and Bees began working on their sophomore EP Social Studies, they had hooked up with Theophilus London on an album — and during those sessions, they met the band’s fourth member Ian Chang who contributes to the band’s latest effort, 2016’s Mythos.  Now, if you had stumbled across JOVM during the course of last year, you might have come across a post on “Addicted,” the first single off Mythos — and the single revealed that the quartet went through a subtle change of sonic direction as the single found the act drawing from New Jack Swing and classic house.

Recently, the Brooklyn-based dance act shared Mythos‘ closing track, “Free,” a sensual and shimmering, classic house-inspired track featuring arpeggio synths, Bees’ sultry vocals a chopped up vocal sample and propulsive drum programming to create a song that sounds as though it drew influence from Crystal Waters‘ house music classic “Gypsy Woman (She’s Homeless).” But along with “Free,” the dance pop act released previously unreleased remixes of “Free” by Wrestlers and the album’s lead single “Addicted,” by Memoryy.

The Wrestlers remix of “Free,” begins with an introduction reminiscent of the introduction of Chaka Khan and Rufus‘ “Ain’t Nobody” before pairing Bees’ sultry vocals with a slick production that balances a retro-futuristic vibe with hyper contemporary recording techniques as it featuring wobbling and distorted arpeggio synths and chopped up vocal sample — and while still retaining the dance floor vibe of the original, the remix manages to push the song in a contemporary direction.

Closing out the singles package is Memoryy’s remix of “Addicted” pushes the song towards goth and industrial-leaning electronica  as tense and wobbling, arpeggio synths are paired with cowbell-led percussion and tweeter and woofer rocking beats. And in some way the remix manages to put an accessible spin on an industrial-like production, retaining the dance floor-friendliness and infectious hooks of the original.

Comprised of Sonny Cheeba and Geechi Seude, the Bronx-based hip-hop duo Camp Lo is best known for their smash hit “Luchini (A.K.A This Is It)” off their critically applauded debut effort, Uptown Saturday Night, which was released 20 years ago yesterday.  Interestingly, renowned Nigerian-born, Montreal-based producer and artist Teck-Zilla, a JOVM mainstay, who has released a number of critically applauded EPs and mixtapes recently paid homage to the album and standout track “Sparkle” with a hazy and jazzy remix, which features horn blast and 808-like boom-bap beats that manages to retain the original’s swaggering soulfulness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: The Psychedelic and Sensual Visuals for Dubmatrix’s Chilled Out Remix of Charleston Okafor’s “Rama Rama”

Born in Ogidi, a small village in Eastern Nigeria, as the youngest of 10 sons in a traditional Igbo family, Charleston Okafor moved to the US in 1985 with the intention of becoming a doctor and enrolled as a pre-med student at Western Kentucky University — although he had long dreamt of pursuing a musical career. In fact, some of his earliest memories involved longing to be involved in the traditional church naming and death ceremonies that his mother, Christina Akuadi Okafor led as a musical director of the woman’s acapella church group. As Okafor fondly recounts in press notes “As was the case in those days, and still is with the youths in my village today, young boys like me longed for the days when we could participate in our own masquerade or nkpokiti dance groups.”

While studying at Western Kentucky University, Okafor had two experiences that altered the course of his adult life — he discovered MTV and began two, deeply influential and lifelong musical friendships with bassist Bryan House, who has worked with Robert Plant’s backing band Band of Joy, Emmylou Harris, Sam Bush and Dolly Parton and engineer Bill Bitner, the first engineer to work with Okafor. The Nigerian-born singer/songwriter’s friendships with House and Bitner helped him begin his pursuit of a musical career — and interestingly enough paved the road for Okafor to eventually collaborate with renowned producers like Ticlah, who has worked with Easy Star All-Stars, Antibalas and Amy Winehouse and DJ Spooky, both of whom have also remixed some of Okafor’s work.

Some 11 years after moving to the States, Okafar began his musical career in earnest as the frontperson and musical director of the Cleveland, OH-based collective Asante Groove, a project that featured a rotating cast of friends and collaborators that received attention locally and regionally for a sound that possessed elements of dancehall reggae and smooth jazz. He’s also received attention for his WCSB radio program African Abstract, which started in 1992 and is one of Cleveland’s longest running radio shows, as well as a staple of WCSB’s Sunday afternoon programming. Interestingly, Asante Groove along with Okafor’s current backing band Hybrid Shakedown have opened for many of the acts he’s played on his radio program including The Meditations, Chaka Demus and Pliers, Black Uhuru’s Michael Rose, Oliver Mtukudzi and others. Oh and I must add that Okafor is also a high-school math teacher, which may arguably make him both the coolest math teacher you’ve ever heard of, as well as an extremely busy man.

Adding to the Nigerian-born, Cleveland-based singer/songwriter’s unusual background and career trajectory, instead of going about the prototypical music industry route of following a release of original material with a remix album, he recently released the remix EP in advance of his second album America, an album that thematically focuses on power and oppression, love and partnership while looking at his adopted homeland with a sense of promise and hope — even in light of one of the bitterest and most divisive election cycles in recent memory.

For the remix album, Okafor turned to some old friends — Dub Trio founder Joe Tomino, who Okafar has known since the late 90s; Dubmatrix, who Okafor has long supported on his radio show and was a dear friend of Okafor’s producer Ecodek; and Ray Lugo and Kokolo Afrobeat Orchestra’s Jake Fader, who recently started their own project together Los Terrificos. The album’s first single is Dubmatrix’s skittering and subtly psychedelic yet dance-floor friendly remix of “Rama Rama.”

The recently released music video for the Dubmatrix remix manages to be both psychedelic and flirtatious — all while capturing the infectious joy that Okafor seems to spread far and wide. Lord knows, in this world, we definitely need it.

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.