February 9, 2007

Depeche Mode - Remixes

Depeche Mode have always been at the forefront of the remix game, historically lining up a who’s who of dance music producers to rework their electronic pop into lots of interesting shapes and sizes, occasionally to devastatingly brilliant effect. This limited edition, stunningly packaged gatefold double-pack was released to coincide with the band’s latest Best Of, Vol. 1 collection, bearing similar cover art and reworkings of tracks from the collection. While the promo CD version of this release contained eight tracks—including Ricardo Villalobos’ stunning take on “The Sinner In Me”—the actual commercial release only includes four. One can assume that when Best Of, Vol. 2 eventually surfaces, those remaining four mixes will be given a similar release treatment, especially considering that the Villalobos mix is already widely bootlegged on vinyl and changing hands for ludicrous amounts on eBay.

As far as what is on offer here, while nothing is as downright fantastical as Villalobos’ take, there is plenty to excite Mode fans and DJs alike. Boys Noize take on “Personal Jesus” and wisely maintain the pulpit stomping feel of the original while adding an extended noise/loop intro and throbbing analog synth riffs to replace the original’s guitars. Digitalism’s take on “Never Let Me Down Again” is a crunching analog affair that bears more resemblance to Mute labelmates Nitzer Ebb than the cyclical, driving original. Oliver Huntemann and Stephan Bodzin’s dub version of “Everything Counts” is a floor filler in the making, fusing key melodic phrases of the original into an updated tech-house template, while Underground Resistance’s DJ 3000 transforms “People Are People” into a latin-infused monster in the aggressive, relentless UR techno style. With the limited nature and collector-targeted packaging on this release, it may not be aimed at DJs who are just going to beat the hell out of it in their crates, but if you can get over the price tag (and find a copy!), there’s plenty here to spice up a set of any style, presuming of course that vocals don’t bother you.

MUTE / L12 BONG 39
[Todd Hutlock]

December 22, 2006

2006 Year In Review: Individual Writer Lists

As a companion piece to our 2006 year in review, here are the individual lists/charts from each of our contributors. Happy reading…


July 14, 2006

The Kreeps - All I Wanna Do Is Break Some Hearts

The most instant fix here is the Boyz Noize remix, providing quality electro-house with sawing bass noises, like Tiefschwarz with any house influence removed. The only problem with another great Boyz Noize release is trying to find equally good electro-house records by new producers who are not Digitalism. On the other side, Mungolian Jet Set’s “Exit To The Ja-Ja” mix is quite a curious piece of schaffel which morphs into psychedelic disco halfway through its eight minute journey, then goes a little Happy Mondays at the end; interesting.

Output / OPR 93
[Ronan Fitzgerald]

February 10, 2006

Munk - Disco Clown Remixes

Munk: I love ‘em. Their 2004 opus Aperitivo still gets dap, as does their even earlier work as Leroy Hanghofer. I would go so far as to say that no collective represents the enormous possibility of shockingly fun and unpretentious dance music quite so much as these boys, mindful as they are of the potentials of pop and rock production welded to techno-smarts. The original version of “Disco Clown” is a great one-two punch of chilly and silly, but seems a strange candidate for remixing, given its radio-ready nature. The Digitalism Mix is a fairly standard exercise in stripping down and reassembling a track for danceability, nice enough but depriving the song of its pop sparkle. Midnight Mike does much better by upping the disco quotient of “Disco Clown,” bringing out the bassline and slapping some meaty 1977-era percussion on top.

Gomma / 058
[Mallory O’Donnell]

January 27, 2006

Digitalism - Zdarlight (Remixes)


Kitsuné’s biggest hit of 2005 is repackaged and reissued here, with new versions remixed by Digitalism themselves. Where the original relied on anthemic clunk-funk (clunkiness that’s funky!) for charm, both of the mixes are impeccably smooth: the “Moonlight” version blurs the edges a bit too tasfeully, while the “Discodrome” version cruises down the highway as if new wave and French house were spawned from Moroder. Certainly it’s the latter version that commands all the attention here.

Kitsuné / 029
[Michael F. Gill]

January 27, 2006

In The Mix: Nate De Young

Following the release of a recent study done by the University of Leicester that found that digital music and downloading causes listener apathy, my Stylus colleague Nick Southall probably ran to the nearest soapbox to proclaim, did you see what I wrote there? For the rest of us, this might not be an epiphany but it does cement the idea that “music burnout” probably won’t get easier any time soon. Especially within dance culture and the sheer volume of singles released each month, it’s practically ensured that apathy can be found on that next series of thump-thump-thump-thump minimal records—if you’re willing to seek it out.

So for my Beatz by the Pound mix, I decided to document my response to burn-out. That is, by limiting intake and squinting my ears as frequently as possible. Most of these tracks come from labels that found a spotlight or two in 2005 and are regulars to the Beatz by the Pound column—Areal, My Best Friend, Border Community. But if songs like Ada’s swinging 8-bit “I Love Asphalt” or Fairmont’s soothing “Gazelle” are any indication, then these labels definitely deserve some undivided attention now and again. As for squinting my ears, Motiivi’s “1939” and Tim Paris’ “Edges of Corrosion” have both forced me to consider how I hear music. Both Motiivi’s paradoxical “expansive claustrophobia” and the Paris’ endless series of melodic crevices question dichotomies that I presume steadfast far too often.

1. Tim Paris - Edges of Corrosion (Marketing Music)
2. Digitalism - Zdarlight (Kitsune)
3. Mateo & Ganteimi Meets Miss Anacoe - Danseur (My Best Friend Ltd)
4. Motiivi - 1939 (Freundinnen)
5. Ada - I Love Asphalt (Areal)
6. Daso - Daybreak (My Best Friend)
7. Fairmont - Gazelle (Border Community)