(Much, much loves goes out to my man Bryce D. for sending me the link to his news aggregator, which saved the copy for this post the other day. Thanks Bryce!)
I loves me a good remix.
Remixes or even mash-ups (I have a ton of things to share in regards to the latter format, but we'll get to those in the coming week(s)) are an essential part of music for me. Remixes, if done well, allow you to hear a song a new, sometimes revolutionary, way. Even for bad songs, remixes can be like a second chance at life for me.
It may sound odd, but I think I really started to be interested in remixes after seeing Wilco live during my college days. That band - more than any current rock band I can think of - spends a good deal of time on the road re-imagining and rewriting the arrangements to their songs. Anyone out there ever heard the demos for YANKEE HOTEL FOXTROT? There are at least 4 versions of "Camera" that you can find through those demos, and almost all of them are artistically valid interpretations of the song. Wilco would do stuff like that in concert all the time (see the "punk" and "lounge" versions of "Passenger Side" below for an example).
My love of remixes means that sometimes when I hear a song, I can't outright say, "I don't like this" or "This song sucks." Because if that song is given to the right remixer and put into a new context, I might have my opinion totally changed. There was once a mash-up that combined Christina Aguilera's "Genie in a Bottle" with the Strokes' "Hard to Explain" and it totally redifined the song. Instead of sounding like childish pap, it sounded like a Blondie-era punk song.
Anyway, I love remixes is what I'm saying. And here are two in particular:
"Shut 'Em Down (Pete Rock remix)" by PUBLIC ENEMY (remixed by PETE ROCK): Pete Rock is a god in the world of hip-hop. And if he's a god, I have absolutely no word that could do the status of P.E. in the history of hip-hop any justice. Rock got started as a DJ before hooking up with emcee CL Smooth in the early 90s. This remix takes the angry lyrics of "Shut 'Em Down" and lays them over this looped horn and laid back beat, making the song a little more subtle and laid back. I don't know who spits that little extra rhyme in the middle.
"Mixed Bizness" by BECK (remixed by CORNELIUS): Cornelius is a crazy fucking genius. I first saw him and his "band" years ago, on a tour the Flaming Lips put together to promote the idea that complex music can make you smarter. The tour included Sebadoh, Robyn Hitchcock and more, but the artist who really stood out for me that night was Cornelius. He combined DJ'ing with all kinds of other elements, and even had what was essentially a speed metal band that played with him. I have his remix of Blur's "Tender" somewhere and it's INSANE how much he changes the song for the better. If you know this Beck track, you'll be stunned at the metamorphosis here as well.
Before I jet, I have to add something for current events purposes: "Scarecrow" from the upcoming Beck album GUERO. Enjoy.
Public Enemy official site
Pete Rock's bio at Loud Records
Beck's official page
Cornelius the musician
Cornelius from Planet of the Apes
Get Your Bootleg On: this site is mash-up heaven