Monday, November 23, 2009

YMD's Super Sweet Sixteen: REMIX EDITION (part 1)

The so-called remix culture of the last half decade has, I'm sure, brought a lot of people into dance music through remixes of their favorite pop or indie artists. With the availability of new, easy to obtain software and a million mp3 blogs, anyone can cut up their favorite track with a club beat or a different instrumental and have a dance-floor banger ready to go. But, this democratization of dance, as wonderful in theory as anything that allows more people access to creativity and active participation, has also created a lot of incredibly cheap and half-assed sounding music. So this list is free of bootlegs, not because I am elitist enough to think that that process cannot create good music, but because to my ears there were simply a whole lot of "professionals" doing this shit a lot better.

I specified Dance remixes because Rap remixes are a whole different thing unto themselves (as are R. Kelly remixes), so maybe we'll get back to those later. But for now, on we go with my favorite house, techno, electro, and disco versions of the decade, starting off, of course, with me cheating by throwing down some honorable mentions.

Honorable Mentions (alpha by remixer):
- Aeroplane's mixes of Friendly Fires' "Paris" and Grace Jones' "Williams Blood"
- Ame's remix of Etienne Jaumet "Repeat After Me", hypnotic 3/4 techno
- Carl Craig's mixes of "Part of Me" by Ayumi Hamasaki, Faze Action's "In the Trees," and Francesco Tristano's "the Melody"
- the famous DFA remix of Le Tigre's "Deceptacon"
- DJ Koze's off-beat remix of Matthew Dear's "Elementary Lover"
- Ink & Needle's futuristic remix of Amox and Atle's "A Witch Kiss"
- the Joakim Italo Dub of "Budapest" by Poni Hoax
- the M.A.N.D.Y. vs. Booka Shade version of Laurie Anderson's classic "O Superman"
- Martyn's house-influenced dubstep remix of "Seven" by Fever Ray
- Kris Menace's French House take on Roisin Murphy's "Overpowered"
- Theo Parrish's gauzy, kick-less remix of Jill Scott's "Slowly Surely"
- Radio Slave's merciless remix of "Deer in the Headlights" by Chelonis R. Jones
- Tobias Thomas and Michael Mayer's remix of Ada's cover of "Maps"

16. the Whitest Boy Alive - "Golden Cage (Fred Falke Remix)" (Modular, 2008)
Arguably less heralded than his partner Alan Braxe, never mind the holy robots, Fred Falke released by favorite remix by a French House mainstay this decade. He turns Erland Oye and co's bedroom funk song "Golden Cage" into an epic of yearning. This is just on the right side of maudlin, dipping its toe in to that pool more than occasionally.

15. Kylie Minogue - "Come Into My World (Fischerspooner Remix)" (Parlophone, 2002)
I was late enough to dance music to miss both Electroclash and most of its backlash, but this is certainly the best thing I've heard from Fischerspooner. But that somewhat cheap sounding bass line is somehow perfect to offset that lushness that is as much a part of Kylie's persona as her music from around this time.

14. the Knife - "We Share Our Mother's Health (Trentemøller Remix)" (Rabid Records, 2006)
I always seem to forget how great this is when I'm not listening to it. And then it comes on, and wow. The beat to this one is fairly straight ahead, but all the minor syncopation Trentemøller throws in on the hi-hats and toms is great fun. And then the handclap assisted breakdown comes in and that is just mindblowingly great.

13. LCD Soundsystem - "Tribulations (Lindstrøm Mix)" (DFA/EMI, 2005)
Lindstrøm's "Tribulations" remix is a great example of the man's gift at going out towards space while still sounding organic and loose. There seem to be two basslines working together, a big funky one providing the main riff and robotic, super-repetitive one holding things steady (and coming to the fore during the repetition of the titular lyric). Like most of Lindstrøm's best work, this one is constantly evolving, moving, and fun.

12. Cortney Tidwell - "Don't the Stars Keep Us Tangled Up (Ewan's Objects in Space Mix)" (2006)
Ewan Pearson takes Cortney Tidwell's soft, lovely voice and takes in on a blissful ride for just short of 12 minutes. This could hardly be any more lush. About seven minutes in this comes to a head with these shimmering, overpowering synths that almost match Cortney's voice for loveliness, until her cooing comes in after the beat comes back and puts any doubt to rest.

11. Jose James - "Desire (Moodymann Remix)" (Brownwood Recordings, 2008)
This is a house torch song, and one of the most beautiful things I've heard this year. It's a late night heartbreaker, this one. Moodymann's drums, as well as the space without them, are sublime. This is a track that breathes, and not just because of its breathy vocals.

10. Shackleton - "Blood On My Hands (Ricardo Villalobos Apocalypso Now Mix)" (Skull Disco, 2007)
Like many Villalobos tracks, this takes its sweet time (18 minutes to be exact) and is dark as night. It's also kind of a masterpiece, and one of the first great meeting points between dubstep and minimal techno. It's kind of one of those things you have to experience, extremely detailed and rewarding to the patient while being quite moving at the same time

9. Nathan Fake - "The Sky Was Pink (James Holden Remix)" (Border Community, 2004)
A monster of atmosphere, an amazing example of the potential of techno to be unsettling and at the same time make you want to dance as hard as you ever have before. Holden takes Fake's original, a cool track but not a dancefloor banger, and pushes all the right buttons to make it a classic.

Part two coming soon with more beats, long tracks, syncopation, and sublime moments of beauty.

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