Finest Remixes [part 3]

benge in studio

Benge in front of his wall of Moog

We are all about the glory of 12″ mixes that spur us on to experiment with the often flawed, mongrel art form. Ah, but at their best, they lift us up onto rarefied planes of splendor! Here are several more to think about.

echo + the bunnymen - thekillingmoonUK12AEcho + The Bunnymen | The Killing Moon [All Night Version] | 1984

This may have been just a case of the full length mix having been edited down for the LP/7″ cut, but what a difference the Full Monty made in this case! The 7″ mix alone was wildly steeped in midnight dramatics, but the unfettered arrangement on 12″ unfurls and extends the air of fatal, yet warm, spectacle to heretofore unimaginable degrees for a full nine minutes of luxury. Adam Peters orchestral arrangements were profoundly evocative and the Gil Norton mix is a peak experience.

heaven 17 - letmegoUK12AHeaven 17 | Let Me Go [12″ version] | 1982

Pity Heaven 17 for writing this song with the idea that it would be the make or break single for them in the UK. They created a world class arrangement and filled it with richly stacked harmonies [take that, Roy Thomas Baker!] wherein a fractalized choir of the band members pushed this craft into the stratophere. It sounded like a million dollars had been spent in its creation, and the 12″ version got the balance right between the slinking synthfunk, the metronomic Linn Drum, the lyrical bass guitar of John Wilson, and those million dollar vocals. Alas, to no avail. The single tragically failed to be their calling card in the UK, where it just failed to crack the top 40. In America, it’s possibly the only Heaven 17 song anyone could name! It rose to 4 on the US dance charts, while smoldering at 74 in Pop.

midge ure - callofthewildUK12AMidge Ure | Call Of The Wild [extended mix] | 1986

I give Midge Ure a lot of stick around here, but his last hurrah, really is a tremendous record, with a 12″ version that drastically re-arranged the flow of the song to amazing effect. Rik Walton’s remix is a thunderous creation opening with wild, almost metallic, guitar chords careening over driving rhythms that  sounded like the hooves of a huge herd of horses propelling the song onward. Having bought the 12″ on release, I never heard the 7″ version of this non-LP single until a decade later and I was shocked at how tame it sounded in comparison to the 12″ mix. The expansive and formidable 12″ was the last time Midge Ure managed to quicken the pulse.

kraftwerk - radioactivityUS12AKraftwerk | Radioactivity [William Orbit Hardcore Version] | 1991

I almost didn’t buy this, as I had the German CD single of this title, but the US 12″ had a second William Orbit remix that was vinyl only, so I reasoned that I might as well buy it. It was Kraftwerk, and frankly, the 1991 arrangement of “Radioactivity” that was on “The Mix” was the one ridiculously successful result of that wasteful exercise. It managed to justify the outlay to my ears on that track alone.  The Hardcore Mix amps up the pressure to near techno levels while still retaining sufficient melodic structure to bring me along for the ride. And what a ride it is! It’s a perfect blending of the DNA of Kraftwerk and Torch Song; two of my favorite groups. Orbit makes this sound as ridiculously stuffed with technology as it possibly can be. Hums, beeps, drones, and [my favorite] pneumatic hisses send me into overdrive every time I play this.

…Why not keep it rolling? …More to come…

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | media design • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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11 Responses to Finest Remixes [part 3]

  1. zoo says:

    What, you don’t like the extended version of “If I Was?” JUST KIDDING!

    “Call of the Wild” is probably Midge’s best solo song…it’s a shame that was almost 30 years ago and the man’s been active since then. I hadn’t heard that version…I still prefer the album version, but the extended one is interesting for a change of pace.

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  2. Taffy says:

    The Killing Moon is one of my ten favorite songs of all time, and I’ve always been particularly thrilled that the All Night Version gives me more more more to love. Meanwhile, while DJing I constantly go back to the extended Let Me Go as one of the very finest examples of 80’s Brit white boy synth-funk. Meanwhile, gotta check out that Midge Ure 12″, as I’m not are I’ve ever heard it.
    I’m loving this series, but am gonna refrain from commenting on every one with my own insipid “ooh, I love this, this and this” response. Like I did just now. :)

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Taffy – Why stop? Give into the thread! That’s why we’re here. The Midge Ure 12″ is just booming with fat bass synth chords and sampled brass playing against the immense, galloping rhythm section. It almost sounds like Big Country, only I like it.

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      • Tim says:

        Reading that made me realize how much money that I spent on 12” singles and I bought a lot of mixes but a lot of them…..aren’t really very good. Although I did get a bunch of b-sides in the process which was as much a goal as a good Phil Harding or Shep Pettibone remix back in their prime,

        I’m pretty easy to please, a lot of the the time what I want is a longer version of the song with a decent instrumental bridge. It can go on pretty long and I don’t care as long as there aren’t a lot of affectations that lurk irritatingly in the mix (it’s not a long mix but I know a lot of people who bristle at a certain hiccuping sound effect in a mix of Sting’s “Englishman in New York.”).

        The Pet Shop Boys “Being Boring” extended mix is a great example of that. Depeche Mode made so many mixes of Enjoy the Silence that it’s sick but some of them are really good…I couldn’t get enough of that song when it first hit and eventually made a megamix of my own of the best versions of it that I like. And closing out the 1980’s with an import of “Getting Away With it”……I call that the Golden Mile mix……the extended one. About eight minutes that feels like three to me.

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        • Echorich says:

          Interesting Tim, Being Boring and Getting Away With It are in the running for this playlist – it is far from completed…I have 20 days before my road trip south to a hedonistic birthday celebration so I am going over and over this list in progress.

          Monk, while the Call Of The Wild 12″ mix roars past anything else on the album, it owes a bit to Running Up That Hill and yes, Big Country. It get’s caught up in itself midway and I kind of lose interest. Midge also seems to sound like he’s getting tired of singing during the middle coda.

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          • postpunkmonk says:

            Echorich – Yes, one the song gets underway, the ennui sets in, but that 12″ arrangement starts off so powerfully and the ending once again ramps up the thunder, so the bland parts of the song fade into the ether for me. Nice call on “Running Up That Hill!” I’ll bet you are spot on with that influence. Still, it trumps anything on the album, except for maybe “The Chieftain,” which still inspires awe. Thanks to Mark King!

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  3. Echorich says:

    Monk, I took a second pass over Orbit’s Radioactivity mixes, hardcore and 12″ and I agree they blow away The Mix Project mix, they are still a bit — tortured — for me.

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