Monday, 17 November 2014

From Inside The Pod Revisited #6: Mix-Up

Here's another old podcast I did for my previous blog, one of my experiments. I did try a few ideas out over the duration of the project, they didn't all work. This one didn't turn out too bad. Shame it didn't capture the imgination of my audience - it was one of the least downloaded podcasts I ever made.

Regardless, I'm putting it up again because I quite liked it at the time and having listened to it again recently, still do. As usual, the original article is republished exactly as it appeared first time around.

pod 25: Mix-Up
(first published: 8 February 2012)

This is something of an experiment. Remixes are, by-and-large, a rather hit and miss affair. Sometimes they work so well, they eclipse the original version. Other times, they're just, well, nonsense really, baring no resemblence whatsoever to the track it claims to be a version of.

For this podcast, I've strung together a selection of remixes that, while they may not all belong in the former camp, they're far from the latter. There's nothing to link them thematically, but like all my pods (I hope) they offer some diversity in the artists, the styles, and in this case, the new treatments given to the original works.

Bear in mind I'm no pro when it comes to this sort of thing, I just wanted to try something a bit different. Don't expect seamless mixes with the beats of one track flowing almost unnoticeably into the next. This ain't no dancefloor filler neither and it was never meant to be. In fact I tend to shy away from dance mixes - they're so 1990s, aren't they?!

1. Elbow Not a Job (Deadly Avenger Divine Wind remix) [2004, 12" promo]
Damon Baxter, aka Deadly Avenger, worked with a number of indie bands including the Charlatans, Travis and the Manic Street Preachers before he became one of the most in-demand producers and composers in the country. Following commissions a-plenty for adverts, movie trailers and TV shows, he recently released the album Blossoms & Blood. Here, he treats one of my fave Elbow tracks to a feast of electronic wizardry.

2. Lykke Li Knocked Up (Lykke Li vs Rodeo remix) [2008, b-side of 'Use Somebody']
This version of 'Knocked Up' - the opener of King's of Leon's third record - combines both Lykke Li's cover and the original. Mixed by Death to the Throne (DJ and producer James Martin Nelson from Phoenix, AZ.), it is actually a remix of the Swedish indie starlet's cover featuring added elements of the original.

3. Grizzly Bear Cheerleader (Neon Indian Studio 6669 remix) [2009, digital release]
One of the standouts of the Brooklyn psyche-folk outfit Grizzly Bear's highly-lauded third album was 'Cheerleader'. Neon Indian mainman Alan Palomo made two remixes of the track, one wildly psychedelic, the other a more melodic affair. This is the latter and taking nothing away from the original, it is a fantastic version.

4. Ania Zostań (DJ JW remix) [2010, digital release]
I know very little about the remixer of this track having found the track on You Tube. I think (s)he might be Polish, like Ania Dąbrowska whose recent stint as a judge on a Polish TV talent show seems to have delayed the advent of any new material. I like the hip-hop beats in this version, they work really well, and thankfully, there's no rap in the middle of it.

5. Johnny Cash Country Boy (Sonny J Remix) [2008, Cash Remixed]
The prospect of a whole album of remixes of Johnny Cash songs should have made the purists quiver with fear and rage. Many of the results, however, were actually pretty decent. 'Country Boy' originally featured on Johnny's 1957 debut album 'Johnny Cash With His Hot And Blue Guitar'. This brilliant version by Scouser Sonny J reminds me a lot of Junkie XL's treatment of Elvis' 'A Little Less Conversation'.

6. Kirsty MacColl Angel (Apollo 440 remix [edit]) [1993, b-side of 'Angel']
It's almost sacrilege to tamper with anything the late great Kirsty MacColl ever touched. But Apollo 440 actually do a really nice job with this ambient reworking of her 1993 single 'Angel'. That voice is still intact, resulting in goosebumps and moistening eyes (for me at least).

7. Manic Street Preachers Jackie Collins Existential Question Time (Saint Etienne remix) [2009, Journal For Plague Lovers Remixes]
When does a remix become a cover version? Well, here's an example. The Manics released this on their remix version of the 'Journal For Plague Lovers' album, but it's practically a Saint Etienne cover with barely anything of the original in evidence (the Welsh flag is therefore used here loosely!) I am glad, however, that Sarah Cracknell replaced the profanity in the lyrics with 'does'. Somehow to hear her swear just wouldn't be right.

8. Grinderman Worm Tamer (A Place to Bury Strangers remix) [2011, b-side of 'Worm Tamer']
A phenomenal remix of Grinderman's scariest track by New York noiseniks A Place To Bury Strangers. It hurtles along at breakneck speed deafening everything in its wake, bringing this remix special to a dangerously chaotic climax.


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