Finest Remixes [part 5]

Françcois Kevorkian on the Wheels of Steel

Françcois Kevorkian on the Wheels of Steel

I still have not had the time to really dig through the Record Cell, and yesterday I had to cut my lunch hour short due to [gasp] work, so here are more mixes that impress off the top of my head.

john foxx - likeamiracleUK12AJohn Foxx | Like A Miracle [extended mix] | 1983

With Zeus B. Held in the producer’s chair, this single track received the loving care and devotion to take it over the top in exactly the way that most of these songs received. The warm, expansive sound is heavy on the acoustic guitars and piano in addition to the reverberant Simmons Drums and yes, the synthesizers that we expected. Like all of Held’s best productions, there is a full utilization of best-of-breed analog and digital technology together. The long, deliberate buildup is an unparalleled example of its kind. The cineramic sound is impossibly lush and the song has expanded to fill every inch of the listener’s environment. As the song eventually fades, only to have a reprise of Foxx’s backing vocals return, it is a moment that raises the hairs on the back of my neck.

scritti-politti---perfectwayUSP12AScritti Politti | Perfect Way [Way Perfect Promo Mix]| 1985

Many of the Scritti Politti 12″ers from the “Cupid + Psyche ’85” era were dub mixes, which are another kettle of fish from the kind of extended versions we’re looking at here. As nice as they are, Green’s vocals are a significant part of Scritti’s appeal. With the fourth single, all the stops were pulled out and “Perfect Way” received  remixes by  John Potoker and Françcois Kevorkian. The UK 12″ was remixed, but not appreciably longer than the album version. There was a differing US commercial 12″ with a remix credited to Kevorkian, Alan Meyerson, and Josh Abbey, a.k.a. Committee. Even so, that was another five minute cut. We loved “Perfect Way” and needed it to be longer. Fortunately, there was the 7:27 U.S. promo “Way Perfect Mix” which took the same name as the US commercial 12″, but was longer and more rhythmic, with a dazzling, compressed cutup mix of Fred Maher’s drums sounding like a Keith LeBlanc beatbox.

simple minds - warbabiesEURCD1ASimple Minds | The American [Interference Mix] | 1998

What!! A Post-Modern Mix on this list? It finally happened in 1999, when I picked up a CD single in a Madrid record store; my one time record shopping in Europe. Though I purchased it in  a perfunctory fashion, I was surprisingly smitten with the Interference Mix of long time Simple Minds favorite “The American.” So much so, that it vies with the original for my favor to this day! [in other words, my praise for this Post-Modern Mix could not be higher] The mix is suffused with acidic rave energy and even relies on the hated dance trope of looping bits of the vocal in it, which I normally hate, but here I melt when I hear the end results. Possibly because Interference was actually Tim Simenon and Keith LeBlanc; masters of dance. This was a streamlined, aerodynamic re-imagining of “The American” and it was built for speed. If it had all been this good, maybe I would have liked the 90s.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAB.E.F./Billy MacKenzie | The Secret Life Of Arabia [dub mix] | 1982

I still remember how floored I was when I heard the incomparable version of “The Secret Life Of Arabia” by B.E.F. with Billy MacKenzie singing. With their secret weapon bass player, John Wilson, and armed with the mighty Linn Drum Computer, they managed to cut a version of this fairly recent Bowie track that makes the original sound like a Portastudio demo in comparison. To this they added the secret ingredient: Associates singer Billy MacKenzie. The four minute album track begged for more time, so this album contains a 7:06 dub mix of the track that is widescreen, cataclysmic, sonic perfection. The near-hysteria in MacKenzie’s vocals is more than matched by the scope of the thunderous dub mix. In my dotage, I will attempt to mix the album and dub mix together for a 10 minute vocal version. Then, and only then, can I happily expire!

…We’ll try to wrap this up by Friday, eh?

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | remastering vinyl • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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11 Responses to Finest Remixes [part 5]

  1. Nick says:

    noooooo….don’t wrap this up Monk !!! I Am loving it to bits and surely there are more examples to share with us ???

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Nick – It’s been hard, since in a perfect world, I would have had a full day to leisurely run through the Record Cell, spinning half-forgotten 12″ers, and would have had the time to investigate the many boxes of CD. Singles that are kept “off rack.” It ain’t happening, pally!

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  2. Steve Shafer says:

    Yes, please keep these coming!

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  3. Echorich says:

    Thanks Monk for taking the time to run with my playlist down this particular rabbit hole and I completely understand it cannot last forever – although completing this playlist is a wonderful consumption of my time.
    Let’s back to front this time:

    The Dub of B.E.F./Billy MacKenzie – The Secret Life Of Arabia is a no brainer for me. As much as I would love there to be a 10 minute vocal remix, the Dub version’s 7+mins. is filled with the atmosphere and beauty of B.E.F.’s outstanding take on this Bowie for Bowie fans track. John Wilson is the star here. I can certainly understand why Martyn Ware has been missing him for the past 30 yrs or so. He brought the funk and owned the funk. Yes, they manage to outshine Bowie for me and make it a classic at the same time. Billy MacKenzie does not hold back on the emotional delivery, making this HIS song. Ware and Craig-Marsh elevate this song beyond imagination with the help of MacKenzie and Wilson. Makes the Playlist

    Simple Minds’ The American – Interference Mix just doesn’t move me I’m afraid. I have listened to it endless times but it leaves me cold. I think its the speed that most takes away from the song for me. I will admit that I even have to be in the mood for the Original Extended Mix and it’s lengthy extended chorus/coda, but I prefer it. When all is said and done though, the original single just doesn’t need a remix for me. SM were thinking in futuristic rhythm terms from Empires and Dance through New Gold Dream and many of their remixes of the time don’t have the immediacy of the originals. That’s more a thing to celebrate than complain about though.

    Perfect Way – Way Perfect Mix is just that! Perfect Way was the obvious American single and proved it chartwise for Scritti Politti. But yes, the remixes were perfunctory at best until Way Perfect came out. Now Perfect Way is not my favorite track by far on Cupid + Psyche ’85 – that is an ongoing battle between Wood Beez and Absolute with Absolute winning most of the times, but the Way Perfect Mix elevates Perfect Way into a real contender. Makes the Playlist

    How apt that one of the ’80’s greatest remixers has the name of the Greek God of the Gods! He has revived and enlivened so much music from that decade, but has often gone unrecognized. With Like A Miracle he is fully in his element. Foxx provided perfect musical fodder for Zeus B. Held to got to town. And does he! Like a 30’s Gothic horror film, filtered through synths, this song captures you and manages to fully enrobe you in the first 1:30! The secret weapon for me is the bass rhythms. The chug along grounding the song with a great strength allowing the mix to take off confident it won’t get away. Foxx sounds somehow even stronger and more attached than in the original, giving the track a real character of it’s own. Brilliant! Makes the Playlist

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  4. In an attempt to keep this train of love in motion (#seewhatididthere), here’s some more 12-inchers I can think of that mean the world to me, more so than the album version — mostly because they give me (ahem) “More, More, MORE” of what I love.

    1. Communards – Don’t Leave Me This Way (Gotham City Mix, Part 1)
    Holy crap is this the Greatest Disco Cover and Remix of All Time? Why yes it is! There is a longer 13+ minute mix, but its full of filler. This first one, also by Mike Thorne, clocks in at 11 and a half and would make a dead man get up and dance. Many happy memories of dancing the night away to this and Nitzer Ebb and New Order circa 87-88. To this day I can’t hit pause when this song plays!

    2. Blancmange – Lose Your Love (12″)
    This is like pop disco Beethoven, in that it captures ecstasy and lament all in one record. I’ve always found it terribly sad and yet cathartic. Therapy in a black vinyl slab! The extended is 10+ minutes of joy and heartbreak.

    3. Malcolm McLaren – Double Dutch 12″
    I had heard African polyrhythms and pop prior to this record, but OMG what Trevor Horn and Malcolm McLaren did with it was a million miles from “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts!” The blending of nascent hip-hop culture with the purity of the Zulu sound was mesmerizing, and the 12″ gives me more of it (and less of the World Famous Supreme Team, though the top and tail of the album cut was another brain-opener for this gentile caucasian lad). Four years later comes Paul Simon with Graceland that put the icing on that cake. “Double Dutch” remains irresistible to this day.

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    • Echorich says:

      Chas – Blancmange may just be one of those bands that I love for their remixes even more than their albums – and I love their albums! Lose Your Love is vibrant! loud! compulsive!
      Malcolm McLaren has a lot of great remixes under his belt – they are ALL about who he gets in to work with, and the combination of strong minds in McLaren and Horn is pretty unstoppable.
      While I will agree the Communards mix is a lot of fun, it’s too many minutes in a row of Jimmy Sommerville for these ears. The piano break into the Sanctify section is pretty brilliant though…

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      • Ha! You manly men and your dislike of falsettos! :)

        I can relate (and respect) those who don’t care for Sommerville’s high-pitched voice — but I find the fact that Sarah Jane Morris is the husky accompaniment to be endlessly amusing, and I liked his work in Bronski Beat as well. And yes, the piano break into Sanctify just pushes that song … wait for it … “higher and higher!”

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        • postpunkmonk says:

          chasinvictoria – It’s not falsetto singing, per se, that I object to with Mr. Somerville. Falsetto can be a compelling tool in a singer’s kit, but it’s one that should be used sparingly, and for emphasis. See Martin Fry, for example! If a singer only sings in falsetto, like Mr. Somerville, it’s merely shrill, affected, and grating to my delicate ears! It wears its welcome out blindingly fast with me!

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      chasinvictoria – Communards? I can’t go there. Jimmy Somerville is one of my least favorite vocalists and 15 minutes of “Don’t Leave Me This Way” was still torture to me. The one thing I did like about Communards was that it got Somerville out of Bronski Beat, leaving me free to fully enjoy that band’s second album! It’s funny, I adore Billie Ray Martin, who has basically the same voice as Somerville, but actually being female, it’s not so contrived for her. Plus, she has infinitely better taste! As for Blancmange, I have half a dozen 12″ers in the Record Cell, including the one you cited, but I’ve yet to spin them. Tragic, I know, but I have to work hard for my money, and playing wax is a rich man’s pursuit these days. As for Malcolm McLaren’s “Double Dutch” …you may have something there… but leiber gott, why on earth was there not a world-conquering 8:30 12″ mix of “Soweto?!!”

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