The weekend came and went without the time to have so much as a glance in the Record Cell for inspiration, so here are a few titles worthy of adulation from my backlog, with a vital suggestion from Echorich. Once more into the 12″ mix breach, dear friends!
At the end of the day, this is still may favorite Duran Duran song. The copy of the “Rio” album that I first bought in 1982 had the glorious extended version of “Hold Back The Rain” on it, but as the last track on side one, the seven minute opus was severely groove crammed. It had sounded better on the “Carnival” EP that US Capitol had released to goose the album sales before MTV sunk their teeth in the band. It sounded better still on the UK 12″ of “Save A Prayer” as the premium B-side given a full 12″ side to luxuriate on! It wasn’t until I got the US CD of “Rio” in 1993 that I ever heard the anemic original mix. What David Kershenbaum did with the extended remix staggers the mind and belies his role as Joe Jackson’s early producer. This is why 12″ remixes were invented!
The propulsive track simply needed every square inch of groove space to reach its ultimate potential as heard here! The extended breakdown stretched the track’s tension as far as it was possible, with Simon LeBon’s exhortations of “hold it back” increased ridiculously in pitch until they vanished before the song practically snapped in two with a roll of the Simmons drums from beat monster Roger Taylor, who is really the star of this track. The valuable guest star role here went to the clean, frisky guitar licks of Andy Taylor, in his finest contribution to a Duran Duran track, ever. The relentless tattoos of Taylor’s SDS kit drove and pulled this song ever forward until it finally coasted to a end fade that sounds as if momentum could keep the song rolling for at least another 30 seconds.
My long-term go-to Depeche Mode single was always “Strangelove,” which saw a plethora of remixes; all of them interesting, but the creme-de-la-creme for my ears was the Bomb The Bass “Hijack Mix.” Tim Simenon and Mark Saunders were at the vortex of UK dance culture with “Beat Dis,” the previous year, and this made them the hot remix team du jour. With their mix of “Strangelove,” the track attained an industrial funk edge comparable to what Cabaret Voltaire were achieving a few years earlier. Even the 7″ remix edit was full of concentrated power at their hands. Mark Saunders went on to mix a lot of fantastic material for Erasure soon afterward, but Tim Simenon remained the one to watch. Everything I’ve heard him touch has been best of breed for me.
This is a 12″ mix that’s every bit as dramatic and transformative as Trevor Horn’s 12″ remix of “Poison Arrow” was, with a luscious, John Barry-esque buildup that made the Bond theme roots of the song even more explicit. It’s a huge failure of reality that this track was never the actual theme to a James Bond movie, since it smokes every actual Bond theme post “Thunderball” for lunch with one hand tied behind its back! The jazzy electric piano and guitar carry the melody with horns punctuating the grandeur of it all, before the tympani, congas and percussion arrive on the scene, enhancing the urgent synth riffs that herald the fully formed song’s arrival after the intro’s massive buildup.
…more to come…