Finest Remixes [Part 6]

Mixmaster Phil Harding ca. 2007

Mixmaster Phil Harding ca. 2007

We received a few votes of confidence yesterday in the comments, so we’ll keep this train rolling as we look back on remixes that were worth the time and effort.

china crisis - african+whitesteveproctorUK12AChina Crisis | African + White [Steve Proctor 12″ Remix] | 1990

Here was another Post-Modern Remix that managed to make me roll over like a puppy. When Virgin were releasing the first China Crisis greatest hits collection, they reactivated the debut CC single with a Steve Proctor remix. The CD single was immediately purchased, but the remix was of the most modest kind possible. Not so for the delightfully sumptuous 12″ version, that I only purchased years later! For a house DJ to have remixed a China Crisis number, it could have been a disaster, but fortunately, Proctor had a featherlight touch that was the best of both worlds. The 12″ began with a long, nearly three minute ambient buildup that emphasized the most delicate and airy synth patches imaginable. It sounds like a beautiful spring morning has been transcribed to the wax, and in that sense, makes the song even more successful than its earlier mixes. Then, after the buildup climaxes, the song was given a new, clubworthy rhythmic emphasis, with some spot on female vocals added to the mix. It’s just one of the most lovely remixes I can name, and Proctor cites it as one of his favorite mixes as well.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADead Or Alive | Brand New Lover [The Dust Monkey’s Love Bubble Mix] | 1986

If you bought club music during the mid 80s, you no doubt have work that states that “Mixmaster Phil Harding” was responsible. His work with PWL kept him very busy for at least five years straight, before the SAW sound was ejected from the Record Cell due to burnout. This is my favorite Dead Or Alive number, and to this day, I’m not burnt out on it [like some others I could name]. The melody is gorgeous enough to survive the voice of Pete Burns, so that says a lot! But it’s not the infectious melody or mix per-se that grabs me with this record. It’s the guitar.

I first heard the song when MTV played the video and it was a valid enough earworm, so I bought the album it came from and when I heard the song on the CD, I was treated to some surprising guitar solos, courtesy of Matt Aitken; the “A” in SAW. The injection of guitar made the song even better, so when I bought the US 12″ single a bit later, I was delighted to hear that it had even more of the euphoric guitar that had surprised me on the LP mix. Aitken’s solos here were particularly joyous and upbeat. They added tremendously to the overall track, which manages to occupy 9:00 of your time in a breezy and rewarding fashion.

…Out of time for today

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | media design • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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9 Responses to Finest Remixes [Part 6]

  1. Echorich says:

    That China Crisis remix is magnificent! I was kind of unimpressed with the 7″ version, but what a gorgeous build the 12″ has. Proctor has his background in being a local Liverpool DJ in the 80’s and he was most definitely a fan of CC.
    The DOA track is a happy surprise here Monk. PWL/SAW/Phil Mixmaster Harding is not a sound many are willing to admit to liking/owning. I certainly have my share of SAW and Phil Harding mixes in my collection – none of which are by Sabrina, Sinitta, or even Kylie for that matter. But Phil, SAW and Pete Hammond did do right by DOA, Pet Shop Boys, The Blow Monkeys, D-Mode, ABC and Bananarama. I am an unapologetic fan of Dead Or Alive and Brand New Lover is their peak – in fact I don’t think there’s a bad track on Mad, Bad And Dangerous To Know – it’s also a killer album title. This remix just makes you move and sing along!

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Echorich – I loved the PWL sound from DOA, even if “You Spin Me ‘Round” is massively overplayed for its merits. Better still were what I consider the PWL acme; Mel + Kim. They ruined Bananarama [though the bloom was off the rose by the time that they got their knives out] and almost everything they did from 1987 onward, when they hijacked British top 40 for what seemed like five years, was hateful, soulless dross, and to be avoided. Although I liked the “Mad, Bad, And Dangerous To Know” album, they could have peeled more singles off of it. In my opinion – “Special Star” was a killer hit waiting to happen and a far better song than the tedious “Something In My House.” I actually think DOA peaked just after that album, with “Fan The Flame, Pt. 1” my favorite of their albums. I’ll admit that I got off the DOA bus there, but not before seeing Pete Burns in the most entertaining track date ever. But yeah, favorite DOA single? That’s easy. “Brand New Lover!” We see eye to eye on that for sure.

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      • Tim says:

        You failed to indict SAW for their part in helping create that which ultimately led to “Rickrolling.” I will spare you a Rickroll, I come in peace.

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      • Echorich says:

        Ah DOA and Pete Burns – more fun has not been had by me and my friends than seeing Pete in the mid 90’s do a track date at a gay lounge bar – no couches, only beds, performing at least 15 songs. The crowd wouldn’t let him off the “stage” which consisted of some very harem style beds with scattered scantily clad men on them for him to lounge with during and between tracks. He is a unsung comedian and still managed to get in some jabs at his contemporaries including his never ending “battle” with Boy George.
        But I digress, I stuck with DOA through Nude which I managed to own on both cassette (?!) and cd before Sony either pulled it or stopped shipping it. I have heard much of the later music since and Fan The Flame is on my want list.

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        • postpunkmonk says:

          Echorich – “Fan The Flame Part 1” is just rock solid pop songwriting, full stop. It’s less glib and more honestly emotional that I daresay Pete ever got. It reeks of quality to me, and that’s not a characteristic I necessarily associate with Pete Burns! Not by a long shot! Of course, Pete’s descent into plastic surgery hell has sadly caused me to shun him as I would most abominations. I wish I could forget the day I thought “what is Pete Burns up to” and fired up the search engine. Gaaaaaah.

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  2. We should follow this series up with “Favourite Concert Memories” because you can tell the “Pete Burns in Atlanta” story (among others we’ve collected separately and together!)

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