Finest Remixes [part 8]

John Robie adds guitar to New Order’s “Shellshocked”

Well, this thread, though popular, has not been working out for me. Unless I have a mix on a CD I can put my hands on, then my failing memory is surely missing out on dozens of crucial records that didn’t immediately spring to mind. All of my off rack CD singles [hundreds in boxes stowed away in inaccessible places] and undigitized vinyl has been off limits for consideration since I don’t have the time to properly play and research this thread. Then again, there’s also the pathetic shortlist of remixes that I love, where I have not ever heard the original mix to make a comparison to! Today I will add the last few that impress before rounding up a top four fave remixes of the last four decades to be posted tomorrow.

100% Records | UK | CD | 2013OMD | Dresden [John Foxx + The Maths Remix] | 2013

This is the newest remix in this thread, that’s for certain, but last year when I heard that OMD had picked John Foxx + The Maths to be the opening act on their “English Electric” tour I was ecstatic at the notion of JF+TM producing the next OMD record. I didn’t have to wait long, when this stupendous remix popped out of the remix oven within weeks of my musings.

Having JF+TM secret weapon Benge produce this mix, very effectively addressed by concerns with OMD ca. 2013, namely, their reliance on thin sounding digital and soft synths! That charge can’t be levied against this tremendous remix that crackles with an energy largely thin on the original master of this cut. The song is great, but the production let me down. Not at all for this mix!! JF+TM have [re]made an OMD record exactly as I have wanted it; only better! The additional countermelodies added to the song make it actually sound more like what I used to expect from OMD 34 years ago!

fgth - twotribesannihilationUK12AFrankie Goes To Hollywood | Two Tribes [Annihilation] | 1984

You might say that this mix was The Bomb, thirty years ago. Quite literally, as the FGTH track expertly exploited nuclear anxiety in the Reagan era as well as the state-of-the-art in record production to produce an absolutely monster of a 12″ remix. And where ZTT were concerned, there was no shortage of these, as they filled the market with as many remixes as they thought that it could bear. All the better to keep the track aloft in the charts for what turned out to be ludicrously long amounts of time. All of the mixes were great, but this was the first that I had heard, and therefore, a mold-breaker for its time.

The civil defense soundbites and narration absolutely underscored the thoughts, widely prevalent at the time, that nuclear war could happen at any time. Now, thirty years afterward, I think that the brinksmanship was not so much aimed at one country or another, but instead at the citizens of the world, who were made to feel absolutely powerless. All the better to dismantle the social contracts that had popped up after the Great Depression and represented money that was put to much better use in the Swiss bank accounts of our betters. Yeah, in retrospect, nuclear brinksmanship was a game both sides won when you consider that the whole exercise may have been a psy-ops whammy aimed at each nation’s citizens. To reduce their levels of expectation to dramatically lower levels. Well, enough semiotics. Weren’t we talking about 12″ remixes?

Oh, yes we were. This remix sounded like a million dollars worth of 16 bit destruction… and it probably was. Trevor Horn and Theam spent three months making certain that its release would build on what they had achieved with “Relax” and it certainly did that, for my money. At the end of the day, this is my preferred FGTH single. Though I love the glorious middle eight in the “Carnage Mix,” this one still has the killa bassline that I could listen to for hours. Was it Normal Watts-Roy, as Trevor Horn has hinted? Was it from the Fairlight sample library, as Andy Richards has asserted? Does it matter? The Reagan impersonations were brilliant and insolent. If truth be told, Ronald Reagan could have been given co-writing credits on the track, since the societal level of anxiety and tension that it relied upon was his creation.

intro - lostwithoutyourloveUK12AIntro [Jacqui Brookes] | Lost Without Your Love [12″ remix] | 1983

Sometimes a remix can take a song into a whole different realm with just a few changes to the instrumentation. I adore Jacqui Brookes single “Lost Without Your Love. At least, that’s what she was known as in America. In the UK, her magnificent electric torch songs [did you see that one coming?] were made with Jimme O’Neill, the resident genius from Fingerprintz, before settling for the tedium of The Silencers after the inexplicable failure of this project. On 12” though, the derivative fretless bass of Pino Palaldino, was excised. All of the rhythm bed was excised and the resulting mix had fresh,  new injections of electro energy and beatbox that took the song down a completely different path. It almost presages cheap, nasty EBM and sounds remarkably similar to the sort of rhythms that would animate Cabaret Voltaire’s “Sensoria” single the following year.

…finally, the envelope, please…

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | media design • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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16 Responses to Finest Remixes [part 8]

  1. Echorich says:

    Monk, I’ve had a full listen through of the playlist which spawned this most awesome of blog threads (all respect to Bill and Ted and their Excellent adventure there). I have adjusted and excised a few tracks and have a few others under consideration. My goal was to have approximately 7 hours of music for the round trip to FTL from Tampa in 10 days time and I have easily beaten that.
    Two Tribes Annihilation Mix has made the cut. Dresden JF+TM mix is under great consideration and a final programming of tracks will commence tonight. I will publish the playlist on my blog and post it in a reply to tommorow’s post here.
    This has been a great thread!

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Echorich – What do you play music on in your car? iPod or iPad? On very rare occasions, I place digitized tracks, like the Intro cut written about today, on my personal device [in this case, my ultra useful iPod touch] and listen in the car [practically my only time to listen to music] for the day’s blog post. I use a cable into the car’s aux input.

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      • Echorich says:

        same here, but it’s my iPhone. My aging Sebring doesn’t have a aux, so I use a very good cassette to 1/8″ cable and the cassette seems to have no interfering hiss. I will be in a rental for the trip so it will either by aux or bluetooth in the rental for the trip.

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        • postpunkmonk says:

          Echorich – My last car only had cassette, so I bought a portable CD player and used the cassette interface gambit for that car, so I know from whence you come. It’s funny, but cars seems to always exist one step behind the portable music curve. My 1996 Honda only had cassette at a time when the CD was king. But an in-car CD was still deemed a “luxury” item. My 2006 Scion finally had in-dash CD at a time when CDs were diving in popularity. I’m sure every car now has in-dash CD at a time when a generation doesn’t even know what they are! Or am I woefully wrong? Maybe they all only have interfaces for …devices now?

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          • Echorich says:

            Well Monk, the Dodge Avenger and Ford Fusion I have rented in the past year had cd players and aux hook ups. The Ford has a complicated sync system to use bluetooth and if you aren’t charging your iDevice, you can drain the battery in record time. Chrysler is looking at joining in with Audi, Mercedes and a few of the Europeans to switch to an iDevice system which curiously sits on a Blackberry bluetooth platform from what I understand, but it is meant to turn the car into an iDevice on wheels basically.

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  2. Tim says:

    I adore that mix of Two Tribes and have literally messed it up on my own so badly. I’m pretty sure I’ve posted my adoration of that one before. My mix added Duck and Cover samples for us Yanks, samples from Dr, Strangelove, Mad Men,Planet of the Apes and Beneath the Planet of the Apes. I can’t stop futzing with it, I’m worse than George Lucas with a print of Star Wars.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Tim – I am sure your remixes of “Two Tribes” are far less life-sapping than George Lucas’ meddling with “Star Wars!” All he does now, is dick around.

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      • Tim says:

        ***cough cough cough*** Adywan’s Star Wars Revisited *** cough cough cough***
        I know you consider mashups a social thing and I suspect that fanedits of movies fall into the same realm. If you’ve never seen a fanedit I suggest that you start here. He did some pretty incredible stuff at redeeming it. I dabble in this sort of thing as well but not to Adywan’s degree. About a month ago I made a fanedit of Revenge of the Sith that excised General Grevious from the movie (the McGuffin is now only talked about and never seen or heard), deleted the really foul Matrixy lightsaber duel stuff from the end and reinstated the birth of the rebellion scenes. I’ve worked on recutting things from Kieslowski’s Three Colours Trilogy to making my own cut of the entire Walking Dead series. You gotta have fun.

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        • postpunkmonk says:

          Tim – I used to be a geek and even I don’t know what you are talking about! I have seen the Three Colours Trilogy though it has been so many years ago I can’t remember any of the films.

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          • Tim says:

            There are communities of people out there who have interest in films. There is a large one that does what are called fanedits. There are two kinds of fanedits….fanfixes where damaged films are restored (most famously the guy who cut Jar Jar Binks out of The Phantom Menace) and then there are fanedits which involve trimming scenes that aren’t needed, repacing, adding deleted scenes, things like that. The other end of the spectrum is the preservationists….think people who are finding 16mm faded versions of “Song of the South” and doing digital captures and fixing the faded colors.

            Adywan is the handle of a faneditor who did a fantastic take on the original Star Wars movie. Color correction, removing boom mikes in droid reflections, fixing bad dubbing, removing matte lines, etc. Someone at ILM needs to hire this guy.

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            • postpunkmonk says:

              Tim – I used to try to buy Star Wars on laserdisc. The original CBS Fox widescreen CLV releases were an orgy of interpositives [garbage mattes] that were highly visible wherever there were scenes in space that had been composited on an optical printer; that is to say, a huge chunk of the movies!! I was appalled. None of that was visible on the theatrical print.

              I later got the “ultimate” THX boxed set of the three movies in 1993. Supposedly, these had been burnished to a brilliant sheen. The movies had remixed matrix surround soundtracks which were almost worth the sales price. The image on the CAV discs was immaculate. And yes, the interpositives showed more clearly than ever!

              I got off of the Star Wars bus when friends wanted to go out and see the first if the tampered re-releases. What a horror! But even that was surpassed when the same couple got us out of the house to see “The Phantom Menace!” Oy, such a pain it gave me! I’ve been not only off of the Star Wars bus since then, but I’ve avoided the towns that the bus stopped in!

              But I understand the urge to fix what George Lucas didn’t know how to make! After the trauma of “Return of the Jedi” I can recall a phone conversation with a friend that lasted hours enumerating all of the myriad ways to fix that dog with a new edit!!

              And now the tools to do so are out there and young geeks can indulge themselves. More power to them. Life’s too short to spend polishing George Lucas’ cinematic droppings. Besides, there is rare vinyl to remaster!

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              • Tim says:

                My litmus test of any fixing is a scene in episode 4 where Vader is talking with Takin. He says his lines and then, about five seconds after he is done talking, he shakes his hand for effect. None of the Lucas tinkerings fixed that but Adywan got it on try #1. There is a dvd that is er….floating about so to speak….on the internet that actually tells you everything that was fixed as part of the process.

                I originally found it years ago by accident. I really have no clear memory how found it. I didn’t even really know what I found at the time. Took ages for a copy to come through and I watched maybe five minutes of it and was “meh.” I emailed a friend and I said,i found one of those fanedit things and you know I watched a bit of it and I don’t get what the fuss is about. About a month later my friend emailed me and said are you nuts? Did you even watch that? It’s incredible!

                It’s a pretty neat little community that I stumbled into. The main site that I’ve found, the people there are almost reverent about film and film history, they take it to a level that you really don’t see often. They also try really hard to have a code of ethics as to piracy as the whole fanedit thing is at best a grey legal area. The preservation stuff is pretty interesting, too. It’s a lot like the music thing here and BSOG, people who really care about these things and want to see a quality product that is well done and comprehensive and brought to a contemporary level of sound (and in the fanedit case, video) quality.

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  3. The phrase “I’m worse than George Lucas with a print of Star Wars” has now permanently entered my lexicon. Well done sir!

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