25 June 2009

A short treatise on the art of the remix

Remixes are so ubiquitous these days it's hard to imagine a time when they didn't exist. One would have to guess that back in the days when they banged Mozart and Beethoven in the Clubbe that there was probably a Ludwig Von Diplo around turning out Baile Funk reworks of the latest symphony or chorale. But no! Well, not that I know of anyway. I remember when I first caught wind of the remix thing, back in my Cassingle (Google it!) buying days in college. Why do I bring this up? Well, the shuffle landed on a track today that made me think of just how far the remix has come...

First, the original, the legendary Gang Starr's legendary "DWYCK", featuring the Not-Exactly-Legendary-But-Hey-"Hip-Hop-Junkies"-Was-Pretty-Dope-Ya-Gotta-Admit Nice & Smooth. Don't need to say much about this old-school hizz-neat, so let's just bump it...

Gang Starr - DWYCK (ft. Nice & Smooth) (ysi)

Right there, that song needs to remind Hip-Hop of two words it seems to have forgotten, "boom" and "bap". Anyhoo, next we have the mix that the shuffle landed on that prompted my line of thinking. This one is so very perfect to illustrate what a remix used to be... i.e. it's 100% exactly the same as the original EXCEPT... wait for it... now there's a horn loop!

Gang Starr - DWYCK (Horny Mix) (ysi)

... but that's the kind of shit that they'd pull. One new sound, if you're lucky, they'd extend the instrumental breaks by 8, and maybe... just maybe... instead of saying "I need..." they'd get all crazy and scratch it to "I-I-I-I need...". And there's your remix.

"Yo man, you hear that new Gang Starr joint?"
"Hear it? Shit man, I even got the remix!"
"The remix?"
"Fuck yeah... it's got a horn loop!"
"Fo REALS?!?!?"

And don't even get me started about "Bonus Beats". But hey, it was a simpler time. Nowadays, of course, remixes have gotten to the point that there's sometimes not a single (recognizable) element of the original in the remix, which you know... it's a new song, okay? Just give it a new title, 'cuz it's a new song. So the early mixes weren't enough, and some of these new ones are too much. What makes a perfect remix? I think there are three criteria... it should contain enough of the original to be recognizable as a version of such... it should take the original in a totally new direction - the more unexpected, the better... and it should be fuckin' dope. Like this rather new-ish version of "DWYCK" by some people called Little Kids about whom there is very little information extant. This is a perfect remix...

Gang Starr - DWYCK (Little Kids Remix) (ysi)

How about there's your summer jam right there, bitchez! Genius. So keep that in mind next time you crack open Ableton Live and throw an a capella in there. Your bar has been set. Show us somethin' new. I demand to be wowed!

(P.S. Always wondered what "DWYCK" stood for... turns out it's not that interesting. Feh.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

bit late, but thanks for posting it. Pretty hard to find it seems. Always forget i need this in my sets.. peace