Remixes Are the New Black

Posted by Rachael McGovern, February 29, 2012 08:02pm | Post a Comment

We've been getting so many great remixes offered as free downloads on lately. It makes sense from a business standpoint: remixes raise awareness of an artist and their music through something generally unavailable on the album, while simultaneously helping to further interest in the studio versions. (This is my totally unscientific, un-researched hypothesis.)

One of the things I like about remixes is that they can bring new life into a track, make you hear it in an entirely different way. Remixes, like anything else, run the gamut and with the omnipresence of the remix these days there is a good chance of running into some crap ones too. But when they're good, they can be delicious. In fact, over the last few years I've come across a few remixes that I now prefer over their original tracks.
2 Hearts and Chemicals remixes
I'm in love with a new remix from LA/NYC band 

2 Hearts and Chemicals. Their "Coming Home" track was remixed by Miadis, a Dallas remix artist. I love what he did with the song, creating space, manipulating the vocals, and playing with the beats. The song has a different flow now, dipping and climbing like a sine wave. Download "Coming Home (Miadis Remix)."

Active Child Johnny Belinda RemixAnother example of a new remix I prefer over the original is a White Arrows remix of Active Child's "Johnny Belinda." The original track, from You Are All I See (Vagrant, 2011), has a completely different tempo and incorporates the faint stirrings of a choir of monks throughout. The remix maintains Pat Grossi's vocals, but alters the other elements completely. Download "Johnny Belinda (White Arrows Remix)."

Two older favorites are things I stumbled upon through What's In My Bag? videos. That's one of the things I love most about the series - finding out about music with which I wasn't familiar, new or old. In the case of Tegan and Sara, they referenced a remix EP they were releasing, and I was intrigued by the snippet in the video. I discovered how much I liked the Passion Pit remix of "Alligator."

During filming for a What's In My Bag? video with White Lies they selected an M83 album and mentioned that M83 was doing remixing "Nothing To Give" from their debut album, To Lose My Life (Geffen, 2009). I sought it out after the shoot and was blown away by it. It evokes a completely different atmosphere than the original. The remix is haunting, where as before it was a more straightforward rock song. Well done M83, well done.

Lisztomania RemixThe remix I may have played the most over the last few years is a Phoenix track. A few years ago the band released a bunch of remixes of multiple tracks off their 2009 Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix album, making the remixes available for download on their blog. I fell in love with the "Lisztomania (A Fight For Love & 25 Hours a Day)" remix. I have no idea who A Fight For Love & 25 Hours a Day is (if that's even a person/team) and I haven't seen anything else released under that name. Whoever did it kept my finger on the repeat button.

Although releasing remixes digitally is fast, cheap, and relatively easy, more artists are releasing proper physical remix albums now too (Bonobo's Black Sands Remixed and Death Cab For Cutie's Keys & Codes Remix EP are two recent examples). Granted, more quantity doesn't necessarily mean a better quality. But I like seeing that artists are allowing their work to be reinterpreted by others and I'm thrilled when the results are something more than just a club mix. 

Further proof of the ubiquity of the remix is the new documentary film, RE:GENERATION Music ProjectSponsored by the Grammys, the film aims to prove that remixers and producers are inventive, skilled, and worthy of respect for their craft. The film follows five (mostly electronic) DJs as they work to create a new song within the confines of an assigned traditional style of music and with real live musicians and vocalists. One of the funniest scenes in the film is watching a young Pretty Lights try to convince a much older, respected, and talented Dr. Ralph Stanley that he should sing the lyric in a particular way. Needless to say, Dr. Stanley does it his own way.

Here are some of the remixes we've gotten as free downloads on You can decide for yourself where they fall on the Remix Quality Spectrum, but hopefully when you listen you hear a song in a way you hadn't before.

Yelle Remix Yelle
Comme un Enfant (Second Date Remix)

Original found on: Safari Disco Club
Strange Talk Foster the People
I Would Do Anything For You (Strange Talk Remix)

Original found on: Torches
Big Pink Hit the Ground Superman remix
The Big Pink
Hit The Ground (Superman) (Forest Sword Remix)

Original found on: Future This
Gotye Remix
Somebody That I Used To Know (Dan Aux Remix)

Original found on: Making Mirrors
Little Dragon Remix
Little Dragon
"Seconds (Syd the Kid of OFWGKTA Remix)" 

Original found on: Ritual Union
Austra Feel It Break Austra
Spellbound (Baron Von Luxury Space Cathedral Remix)

Original found on: Feel It Break
Lafaye School of Seven Bells School of Seven Bells
Lafaye (Scissor Sisters Remix)

Original found on: Ghoststory
Niki and the Dove Niki & the Dove
 DJ Ease My Mind (Jakwob Remix)

Original found on: Instinct (out May 14)
Grace Jones Remix Grace Jones
Williams Blood (Areoplane Remix)

Original found on: Hurricane


Relevant Tags

2 Hearts & Chemicals (1), Death Cab For Cutie (10), Bonobo (4), Re:generation Music Project (2), Big Pink (3), Little Dragon (6), Gotye (3), Yelle (3), Foster The People (4), Grace Jones (12), School Of Seven Bells (5), Free Downloads (5), Active Child (3), What's In My Bag (375), Tegan And Sara (7), White Lies (4), Phoenix (6)