Tag: remixes

Last year, the rising Brooklyn-based psych pop/dance pop outfit and JOVM mainstays Psymon Spine — Noah Prebish, Sabine Holler, Brother Michael Rudinski, and Peter Spears — released their sophomore album Charismatic Megafauna. Thematically, the album explored the complicated feelings and catharsis involved in the dissolution of human relationships — through hook-driven, left-of-center electronic dance music meets psych pop. The album received critical praise from  the likes of Paste Magazine, FLOODBrooklyn VeganUnder the Radar and NME. The album and its material was added to number of playlists including NPR MusicSpotify‘s New Music Friday, All New Indie, Undercurrents and Fresh Finds, Apple Music‘s Midnight City and Today’s Indie Rock and TIDAL‘s Rising. And the album received airplay internationally from BBC, KEXP and KCRW among others. 

The Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstays capped off a big 2021 with the the digital 7 inch release “Mr. Metronome”/”Drums Valentino.” 

  • “Mr. Metronome” may arguably be the most straightforward, club friendly track of the band’s growing catalog. Featuring a German vocal hook sung by Sabine Holler, which translates to “I saw your message, I have to go work,” followed by a repeated refrain of “my schedule, my schedule,” “Mr. Metronome” is centered around tweeter and woofer rocking beats, glistening synth arpeggios and a relentless, motorik groove. Inspired by KraftwerkSoulwax and others, the song’s lyrics features musings on dating and social dynamics while reflecting the band’s restlessness and desire to quit all unfulfilling obligations to focus on what really matters to them — music. 
  • “Drums Valentino” is a New Wave-like single featuring industrial clang and clatter, shimmering guitars, glistening synths and an off-kilter yet dance floor-friendly groove. Sonically, the song helps to emphasize the song’s lyrics, which talk about feeling uneasy and uncertain with a psychological precision.

The members of Psymon Spine grew up in the ’00s and ’10s with a deep appreciation and love for the art of the remix. And after the release of their sophomore album, the band found themselves craving longer, even more dance-floor friendly versions of the album’s material. The band recruited a handful of producers and electronic music acts including Love Injection, Dar Disku, Each Other, Safer, Bucky Boudreau and Psymon Spine’s Brother Michael to remix material from the album. 

Charismatic Mutations, the remix album of last year’s Charismatic Megafauna, is slated for an April 1, 2022 release through the band’s label home Northern Spy Records.

Last month, Hot Chip‘s Joe Goddard tackled “Milk” feat. Barrie. Goddard’s remix retained Barrie’s coquettish and ethereally cooed vocals but placed them within a euphoric Balearic house-like production centered around skittering beats, glistening synth arpeggios and cosmic space effects. “This remix was very natural and very joyful for me,” Goddard explained. ” I did it in lockdown so I felt a sense of freedom and playfulness that was really nice and actually, in retrospect, very unique.  I love the vocals on this song, so I placed them at the forefront, and I tried to sonically make the mix one that was balearic and satisfying.  Macrodosing.”

Charismatic Mutations second and latest single sees Love Injection tackling the funky, dance punk bop “Jumprope.” Clocking in at an expansive seven-and-a-half minutes, the Love Injection remix is a seemingly LCD Soundsystem-like instrumental take that retains the propulsive bass line of the original and pairs it with skittering beats, glistening synth arpeggios, congo-led percussion, a relentless motorik groove and chopped up vocal samples.

“‘Jumprope’ immediately takes us back to the early 2000s and the sound that would be synonymous with the kids in Downtown Manhattan and Williamsburg, Brooklyn,” Love Injection explains. “It was the reintroduction of dance music to punk, pioneered by the likes of Suicide and Was (Not Was), but was immortalized in a new way by DFA (both the production duo and the label) in some of their earliest releases.” 

“There was one particular remix that we know, love, and have had special moments with on the dancefloor at the late David Mancuso’s Loft parties that became the guiding light for our reinterpretation. We very intentionally set out to reimagine ‘Jumprope’ in the spirit of that moment, rewriting the bassline and bringing in new synth elements. The Loft memory greatly influenced the remix’s arrangement and gave it its name.”

New Audio: JOVM Mainstay LutchamaK Shares DNMK Remix of “Bitrate Scale”

Last year, may have been among the most prolific and productive of LutchamaK‘s career to date. The French JOVM mainstay started teh year with Pi, a full-length album written and recorded in at three-month inspired burst that resulted in some of the darkest and heaviest material, he has written and released to date. 

Then he released the Quest EP, an effort, which featured experimental yet very melodic material. A few months after that, he released Rapscallion, which featured the Radioactivity-era Kraftwerk meets 90s techno-like “James Blitz 007.” 

Then there was Seven Hybrids, which featured the hypnotic club banger “Moonbright,” and the Larry Levan house music-like “Davai.” He also released Threshold, which featured “Irie Vibrations,” a track that seemed to mesh elements of Lee “Scratch” Perry-like dub with club friendly trance and house and “Bitrate Scale,” a brooding yet hypnotic club banger that brought Tour de France era Kraftwerk to mind. 

The French JOVM mainstay closed out a busy 2021 with the Utopia EP, which featured the hypnotic and contemplative “You See” and the euphoric, Octo Octa-like “s.T. bahn.”

LutchamaK starts off 2022 with a remix effort that features remixes of Threshold album single “Bitrate Scale” by three artists, who liked his work and wanted to create their own takes. DNMK opens the remixes with a deep house-leaning take that retains the original’s thumping kick but pairing it darker, oscillating synths, which gives the remix a brooding, murkier air.

Brooklyn-based psych pop/dance pop act and JOVM mainstays Psymon Spine — Noah Prebish, Sabine Holler, Brother Michael Rudinski, and Peter Spears — can trace its origins back to when its founding duo of Noah Prebish and Peter Spears met while attending college. Bonding over mutual influences and common artistic aims, Psymon Spine’s founding duo toured the European Union with Prebish’s previous electronic project Karate. While in Paris, Spears and Prebish wrote their first song together. By the time, they arrived in London, they were offered a record deal. 

When Prebish and Spears returned to the States, the pair recruited Micheal “Brother Micheal” Rudinski and their Karate bandmates Devon Kilbern, Nathaniel Coffey to join their new project. And with that lineup, they fleshed out out their demos, which wold eventually comprise their full-length debut, 2017’s You Are Coming to My Birthday. The band went out to support the effort with immersive art and dance parties like their Secret Friend party series across Brooklyn and through relentless touring. 

Prebish was also splitting his time with rising Brooklyn-based dream pop act Barrie and around the same time, Barrie began to receive attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere as a result of a handful of buzz-worthy singles, and 2019’s full-length debut, Happy to Be Here. Interestingly, during his time with Barrie, Prebish met his future Psymon Spine bandmate, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Sabine Holler. 

Last year, the rising Brooklyn-based psych pop/dance pop outfit released their sophomore album Charismatic Megafauna. Thematically, the album explored the complicated feelings and catharsis involved in the dissolution of human relationships — through hook-driven, left-of-center electronic dance music meets psych pop. The album received critical praise from  the likes of Paste Magazine, FLOODBrooklyn VeganUnder the Radar and NME. The album and its material was added to number of playlists including NPR MusicSpotify‘s New Music Friday, All New Indie, Undercurrents and Fresh Finds, Apple Music‘s Midnight City and Today’s Indie Rock and TIDAL‘s Rising. And the album received airplay internationally from BBC, KEXP and KCRW among others.

In the lead up to Charismatic Megafauna‘s release, I managed to write about three of the album’s released singles:

  • Milk,” a coquettish, club friendly banger with Barrie that brings to mind In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy and Soft Metals‘ Lenses. The single received attention internationally — with the single receiving praise from   VanyalandHigh CloudsEchowave Magazine, The RevueHype Machine and a list of others.The track also landed on  Spotify playlists like UndercurrentsAll New Indie and Fresh Finds, as well as the YouTube channels of  David Dean BurkhartNice Guys‘ and Birp.fm. And lastly, the track received airplay on BBC Radio 6
  • Modmed,” an  Andrew VanWyngarden-produced and cowritten, strutting disco-tinged track that’s captures the ambivalent and confusing mixture of frustration, doubt and relief of a relationship that had long petered out and finally wound down to its inevitable conclusion. Interestingly, the song is inspired and informed by personal experience: Prebish and Holler’s difficult decision to leave Barrie to focus on Pysmon Spine full-time. 
  • Confusion,” a hazy and lysergic banger centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, a wobbling bass line and looping guitar solo paired with Prebish’s plaintive vocals and a trippy, spoken word-delivered break that sonically reminded me of Tame Impala‘s Currents.

The Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstays capped off a big 2021 with the the digital 7 inch release “Mr. Metronome”/”Drums Valentino.

  • “Mr. Metronome” may arguably be the most straightforward, club friendly track of the band’s growing catalog. Featuring a German vocal hook sung by Sabine Holler, which translates to “I saw your message, I have to go work,” followed by a repeated refrain of “my schedule, my schedule,” “Mr. Metronome” is centered around tweeter and woofer rocking beats, glistening synth arpeggios and a relentless, motorik groove. Inspired by KraftwerkSoulwax and others, the song’s lyrics features musings on dating and social dynamics while reflecting the band’s restlessness and desire to quit all unfulfilling obligations to focus on what really matters to them — music. 
  • “Drums Valentino” is a New Wave-like single featuring industrial clang and clatter, shimmering guitars, glistening synths and an off-kilter yet dance floor-friendly groove. Sonically, the song helps to emphasize the song’s lyrics, which talk about feeling uneasy and uncertain with a psychological precision.

The members of Psymon Spine grew up in the ’00s and ’10s with a deep appreciation and love for the art of the remix. And after the release of their sophomore album, the band found themselves craving longer, even more dance-floor friendly versions of the album’s material. The band recruited a handful of producers and electronic music acts including Love Injection, Dar Disku, Each Other, Safer, Bucky Boudreau and Psymon Spine’s Brother Michael to remix material from the album.

Charismatic Mutations, the remix album of last year’s Charismatic Megafauna, is slated for an April 1, 2022 release through the band’s label home Northern Spy Records.

The album’s first single is Hot Chip‘s Joe Goddard tackling “Milk” feat. Barrie. Goddard’s remix retains Barrie’s coquettish and ethereally cooed vocals but places them within a euphoric Balearic house-like production centered around skittering beats, glistening synth arpeggios and cosmic space effects. And while still being a dance-floor bop, Goddard’s remix adds a trippy, cosmic air to the proceedings.

“This remix was very natural and very joyful for me,” Goddard explains. ”  I did it in lockdown so I felt a sense of freedom and playfulness that was really nice and actually, in retrospect, very unique.  I love the vocals on this song, so I placed them at the forefront, and I tried to sonically make the mix one that was balearic and satisfying.  Macrodosing.”



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New Video: Lost Horizons and Kavi Kwai Release a Haunting and Nostalgic Visual for the Dan Carey Remix of “Every Beat That Passed”

The members of the acclaimed duo Lost Horizons — Cocteau Twins‘ and Bella Union Records label head Simon Raymonde (bass. guitar, keys, production) and Dif Juz’s Richie Thomas (drums, keys, guitar) — each ended a 20+ year hiatus from creating music with the release of their full-length debut together, 2017’s Ojaiá, (Spanish for “hopefully” or “God willing”). “These days, we need hope more than ever, for a better world,” Thomas said in press notes at the time. “And this album has given me a lot of hope. To reconnect with music . . . And the hope for another Lost Horizons record!” 

Since the release of Ojalá, the state of the world has gotten much worse — and much more dire. Our socioeconomic and political systems are slowly collapsing, exposing dangerous flaws. However, the fight for a fairer and better world continues as it has for generations; but one small portion of Thomas’ hopes have been fulfilled: Raymonde and Thomas wrote and recorded a new album’s worth of material together, their highly-anticipated sophomore album  In Quiet Moments.

Released earlier this year, and written and recorded during pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns, In Quiet Moments‘ material is inspired by the sense of existential doom, fear, uncertainty and anxiety of the larger world — and deep heartache: Just as the duo were settling into the studio to craft the largely improvised, instrumental bedrock of the album’s material, Raymonde’s mother died. 

As a response, Raymonde threw himself into his work as a way to channel his grief. “The way improvisation works,” he says, “it’s just what’s going on with your body at the time, to let it out.” The duo forged ahead, crafting 16 instrumental tracks that they sent to an eclectic array of guest vocalists including Ural Thomas, Penelope Isles‘ Jack Wolter, The Hempolics Nubiya Brandon, Tim Smith, Gemma Dunleavy, the innocence mission’s Karen Peris, Horse Thief‘s Cameron Neal, Marissa Nadler, Porridge Radio‘s Dana Margolin, John Grant, Ballet School‘s Rosie Blair, Penelope Isles’ Lily Wolter (as her solo recording project KookieLou) and an impressive list of others. 

When they sent the instrumental tracks to their then-prospective guest vocalists, Raymonde suggested a guided theme for their lyrics: “Death and rebirth. Of loved ones, of ideals, at an age when many artists that have inspired us are also dead, and the planet isn’t far behind. But I also said, ‘The most important part is to just do your own thing, and have fun.” Roughly half of the album’s lyrics were written during the middle of pandemic-related lockdowns but as it turns out, Raymonde in particular, saw a sliver lining: people were forced to slow down and take careful stock of themselves and their lives. Interestingly, after having heard a lyric written by Ural Thomas, Raymonde singled out on praise “in quiet moments,” and thought it would be a perfect album title. “It just made sense,” he says. “This moment of contemplation in life is really beautiful.” 

Although generally centered around loss and heartbreak, the album’s material is imbued with a sense of hope. as a result, the material subtly leans in the direction of rebirth more so than death. “I think it’s more joyous than Ojalá,” Thomas says. “But both albums have a great energy about them.” That shouldn’t be surprising as both Lost Horizons albums find the duo and their various collaborators on a journey through a dizzying area of moods and voices. 

Now, over the course of the past year, I’ve written about five of In Quiet Moments‘ released singles:

“Cordelia,” a lush track centered around atmospheric synths, gorgeous steel pedal guitar from David Rothon, elegant strings from Fiona Brice, and John Grant’s brooding vocals. The song is a meditation on the passing of time, the inevitable changing of the seasons — but with the tacit understanding and acceptance that all things in our world are transient. 
“One For Regret,” a dark and foreboding song centered around shimmering, reverb-drenched guitars, propulsive drumming and Porridge Radio’s Dana Margolin’s frantic vocals. While sonically, the song finds Raymonde and Thomas paying homage to the beloved sound and approach that won Raymonde accolades “One For Regret” is a meditation on the messiness of regret and loss, that acknowledges that regret and loss are a necessary part of life — and that the only way out is through. 
“Every Beat That Passed,” an old-timey waltz centered around shimmering and arpeggiated keys, jangling guitars and Kavi Kwai’s Julia Ringdahl ethereal vocals. Much like its immediate predecessor, In Quiet Moments‘ third single sonically seemed indebted to Raymonde’s while being defiantly upbeat. 
“In Quiet Moments,” a shimmering and slow-burning, old school soul meets shoegaze number featuring twinkling keys, jazzy drumming, gently buzzing guitars and Ural Thomas’ easygoing soul crooning. The end result is a gorgeous and thoughtful song that evokes a complex and confusing array of emotions with a simplicity and profound earnestness that most contemporary songwriters lack. 
“Heart of a Hummingbird,” a hazy and cinematic bit of shoegaze centered around stuttering syncopated drumming, layers of shimmering guitars, twinkling keys and Penelope Isles’ Lily Wolter (a.k.a. KookieLou)’s ethereal and mesmerizing vocals singing lyrics that get at the confusing feelings of love and heartache can inspire — in particular, longing, desperation, uncertainty, acceptance and even a little bit of denial within a turn of a phrase. 

Raymonde and Thomas recently enlisted Dan Carey to remix “Every Beat That Passed.” Retaining the jangling guitars and Ringdahl’s ethereal vocals, the Cary remix pairs those elements of the original with a brooding and uneasy production featuring arpeggiated synths and skittering beats. Interestingly, the remix is a dub-like and trippy take on the song that manages to emphasize the dreamy yet upbeat feel of the original.

“We are big fans of Dan Carey’s (who isn’t??) and when I was thinking of remixers, Dan, David Holmes and Adrian Sherwood were the first ones I wanted to approach as I felt their aesthetic would work best with some of these songs,” Lost Horizons’ Simone Raymonde says in press notes. “When Dan heard ‘Every Beat That Passed’, he mailed me back: ‘I’m obsessed with this song ! I really love it and I think I can do something really cool.’ He certainly did.”

Directed by Penelope Isles’ Jack Wolter, a.k.a. Wavyhead, the recently released video for the Dan Carey remix is full of feverish nostalgia as the video is split between footage of a decaying and abandoned amusement park and stock footage of smiling and happy folks at county fairs and amusement parks. In some way, the video is a bittersweet reminder of the things we’ve missed during the past year and some odd months of the COVID-19 pandemic. “For the accompanying film, listening to his version and Kavi’s words i had this vision in my head of dead souls riding a ferris wheel in an old decaying fairground and found some reels of this abandoned amusement park and for balance we mixed that in with some footage of happy smiling faces too from other funfairs,” Raymonde explains,. “Our main video collaborator again here is Jack from Penelope Isles.”

Tracing their origins back to 2009, when the project was started as Sister Crayon, the acclaimed Los Angeles, CA-based electro pop duo Rituals of Mine — singer/songwriter Terra Lopez and percussionist Adam Pierce — have received attention for crafting a sound that features elements of 90s trip hop, footwork and downtempo R&B through the release of their critically applauded first two albums, 2011’s Bellow and 2013’s Cynic. Building upon a growing profile, the act had spent several years relentlessly touring up and down the West Coast and elsewhere, playing house shows, DIY venues and basements before, eventually landing tours with The Album Leaf, Built to Spill, Antemasque, Le Butcherettes, Maps & Atlases, Doomtree, and others.

2015 was a harrowing and difficult year for Lopez: her father committed suicide and several months later, her best friend Lucas Johnson tragically died in an accident. Reeling from the grief of such profoundly unexpected and inconsolable loss, Lopez went through a period of deep reflection. During that time, Lopez felt the need to reassess life and her work with Sister Crayon, eventually deciding that she needed to put the name to rest and move forward with a new chapter and new moniker  — Rituals of Mine. ““It was a mantra that I repeated under my breath on a daily basis when the loss I was experiencing felt too heavy at times,” Lopez wrote at the time. “Music, the act of creating, performing, touring, writing, singing, experimenting – all the rituals we have created to get through life.”

Rituals of Mine is a bold and decided step forward for Lopez: after years of obscuring her own story and emotions through metaphorical lyrics, Lopez felt both a sudden confidence and need to write more directly about her experiences and life as a queer woman of color. Lopez with the assistance of her longtime collaborator and producer Wes Jones began to flesh out material centered around heartfelt observations and writing on her traumas by pairing her lyrics with pulsating and forceful electronic tracks. Lopez then recruited Adam Pierce to play drums — with understanding that Pierce’s background in metal would provide an intensity that could match her own and fit the material.

Back in 2018, I wrote about “No Time To Go Numb”  a defiant anti-Trump anthem centered around a tweeter and woofer rocking production of trap-like beats and chopped up and distorted vocal samples paired with Lopez’s impassioned vocal delivery, which sees her sing and spit fiery bars. Thematically, the song reminds the listener that while it may be natural to want to slink back from the horrors of an crooked and dictatorial Trump Administration, that things are too desperate, too urgent; that now is the time to be fueled by anger and fear of what could happen next, and fight like hell for those who are most vulnerable.

Much like countless artists across the globe, Rituals of Mine’s Terra Lopez has turned our period of quarantines and social distancing into an opportunity to reach out to fans while helping give to those in need through a weekly Twitch streamed DJ Series titled LOCKDOWN LOPEZ. Lopez takes over her girlfriend’s bedroom and turns into the club. This past Tuesday’s LOCKDOWN LOPEZ saw the Rituals of Mine frontwoman raise money for 174 meals for Border Kindness — and every week, she’ll be raising money to a new charity. Since we’re on the DJ and club vibe, their longtime producer and collaborator Wes jones recently created a deep house remix of “No Time to Go Numb,” for LOCKDOWN LOPEZ that’s centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, a chopped up and distorted Lopez vocal sample and a dance floor friendly groove, turning the furious anthem into a club banger.

 

New Audio: French DJ and Producer The Wooden Cross Remixes Deleo’s “Unfair”

With the release of “Unfair,” the emerging, Montpelier, France-based indie act Deleo — Emy Eris, Romain Viguier, Nicholas Gaeremynck, and Robin Olivier — quickly established their sound: a trip hop-inspired sound with elements of pop, electro pop and rock within a slow-burning and anthemic single. 

The Wooden Cross, is a French DJ, electronic music artist and producer, who spent several years as a resident DJ for the PACHA Group, a collection of ten well-regarded nightclubs around the world. He was able to spin records at clubs around the world and introduce listeners to his own original work: some of that work wound up being released as singles through PACHA Recordings and other labels, including “Rendez-Vous,” which became the closing anthem of PACHA Ibiza. The enigmatic and highly-regarded DJ recently remixed Deleo’s “Unfair,” turning the slow-burning single into a sultry and summery club banger, centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, atmospheric vocal samples and electronics and skittering beats — while retaining Emy Eris’ pop belter vocals and the original’s enormous hooks. 

Last year, I wrote quite a bit about the Asheville, NC-based goth/post-punk act Secret Shame over the past year. The act, which is currently comprised of Lena (vocals), Nathan (drums), Matthew (bass) and Billie (guitar), formed in 2016, and can trace its origins to the desperate need that its members felt to create. “If I couldn’t sing or play music, I would tear my skin off.” the band’s front person Lena explains in press notes. Shortly after their formation, the band released their self-titled debut EP, which quickly established the band’s dark and atmospheric sound paired with lyrics that thematically touch upon issues of domestic abuse, mental health, political and social dissatisfaction and frustration. 

The band’s full-length debut Dark Synthetics was released last year to critical acclaim, while further establishing their sound an enormous, reverb heavy sound seemingly influenced by Siouxsie and the Banshees and 4AD Records. Building upon the growing momentum the band has received since the release of their full-length debut, the members of the band went on a short tour to support the album, which included an apt Friday the 13th stop at The Broadway and a Halloween set that featured Joy Division covers. Along with that, the rapidly rising post punk act recently announced a series of remixes of Dark Synthetics material they’ll be releasing while they return to the studio to record new music slated for release later this year.

Now, as you may recall I wrote about two of the singles in the growing remix series: XOR‘s icy, industrial take on the guitar-led “Calm,” which retained the song’s intensity, vulnerability and ache, along with Lena’s powerhouse vocals — and Skinquarter‘s early Depeche Mode-like remix of the Siouxsie and the Banshees-like “Haunter.”   The latest remix of the series finds None of Your Concern turning the aforementioned “Haunter” into a propulsive club-banger centered around layers of arpeggiated synths, tweeter and woofer rocking beats while retaining Lena’s vocals. Sonically, the remix — to my ears at least — reminds me a of a slickly produced synthesis of KraftwerkFrom Here to Eternity and From Here to Eternity . . . And Back-era Giorgio Moroder and of course, the aforementioned Siouxsie and the Banshees.

The members of Secret Shame will be hitting the road to support the vinyl release of Dark Synthetics. After a handful of North Carolina dates in February, Secret Shame will embark on an East Coast and Midwest run throughout March and April that will include an April 2, 2020 stop at Saint Vitus Bar. Check out the tour dates below.

 

Tour Dates
1/26 – Asheville, NC – The Lazy Diamond
2/07 – Winston-Salem, NC – Monstercade
2/08 – Chapel Hill, NC – Nightlight
2/09 – Wilmington, NC – Reggies
2/12 – Asheville, NC – Static Age
3/28 – Charlotte, NC – TBD
3/29 – Raleigh, NC – Slims
3/30 – Richmond, VA – TBD
4/01 – Philadelphia, PA – TBD
4/02 – Brooklyn, NY – St. Vitus %
4/03 – Saratoga Springs, NY – Skidmore College
4/04 – Boston, MA – Dark Spring Boston
4/06 – Pittsburgh, PA – TBD %
4/07 – Columbus, OH – TBD %
4/08 – Louisville, KY – TBD %

 

New Audio: JOVM Mainstay Rhythm Scholar Takes on a Beloved Motown Classic

Throughout the course of this site’s nine-plus year history, I’ve spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering the ridiculous prolific New York-based producer, DJ, remixer and longtime JOVM mainstay Rhythm Scholar. During that same period, the JOVM mainstay has developed a reputation for crafting slickly produced, funky as hell, crowd-pleasing mashups and remixes of classic soul, funk, hip-hop, New Wave and a growing list of  other genres and styles. 

Rhythm Scholar’s latest remix finds him tackling the beloved and classic Temptations tune “Just My Imagination.” Perhaps unlike his other remixes, this particular one reveals a subtle yet deft touch: while retaining the original’s memorable and gorgeous melody and the legendary soul act’s impeccable harmonies, the JOVM mainstay’s take manages to gently push the song up about a decade by adding some lush Rhodes, a soulful horn line, some conga and a soaring string arrangement — all of which gives the material a dreamy, gossamer-like air. 

 

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.”

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.