This weekend, regular commentator Tim asked me what I thought of the Roxy Music post-modern remixes that have been drifting out of the ether in this century, and since I had all of them, I thought we’d discuss their de/merits publicly. So prepare your spleens… here comes Roxy Music PoMo Week! I had shied away from these but curiosity got the better of me, eventually. Hell, I had bought the DJ Rollo remix of “Love Is The Drug” from the 90s, so why not see what was happening in the more current fashion? Remixes have been better that they were for at least a good 20 years*, recently. So a few months ago, when presented with an iTunes gift card, I partook.
Roxy Music: Remixes [Pink] UK 2×12″/DL 
- Angel Eyes [Frank Tope + Dean Rundland Re-Edit] 7:57
- Angel Eyes [Kaos Extended Mix] 9:46
- Rain, Rain, Rain [Tiefschwarz Mix] 6:51
- The Thrill Of It All [M.A.N.D.Y.’s I Am Your Pusher Man Re-Work] 6:41
First of all, anyone who pops a gasket at the notion of the Bob Clearmountain remix 12″ of “Angel Eyes” will only worship what Frank Tope and Dean Rundland have achieved with their “re-edit” of the original track. It was realized with the now extinct remix technique of using 100% of the original performance! That’s right. 100% of the original’s D.N.A is in this mix as it was created using “old school” remix technique [even if they did use computers]. It managed to easily vault the 8:22 Razormaid remix of this title as the best, classic, “Angel Eyes” remix out in the marketplace. Sample the delights below.
Pretty great, eh? Well, if you can move out of your comfort zone ever so slightly, then what Kaos managed on their extended mix is even better. True, they replaced the original bass of Gary Tibbs with an insistent synth pulse, but this manages the neat trick of taking Roxy’s over the top disco classic and making it now without crushing any life out of it at all. Quite an achievement, really. The long [but crucially, not too long] buildup in the intro really picks up steam as the relentless synth is abetted by the original drum tracks and dubbed out snatched of Ferry’s studio chatter to create excitement. Once the vocals come into the mix, they are emphasized with dry EQ that brings them to the fore; both Ferry and the previously buried backing vox.
Speaking of EQ, the famously compressed drum track has been goosed with some subtle handclaps that fit right in. The timbales have been also emphasized most delightfully. The over the top harp runs are fully intact. Overall, I’d say over 60% of what made the original great has been retained for this mix. The vibe is slightly more machinelike with the new emphasis given to hissing hi-hats in the rhythm track. The mix is so vibrant that I listened to it many times without realizing that Manzanera’s e-bow has been seriously de-emphasized, but it does figure, at least spectrally, in the great buildup that starts midway through the mix before the drop that domes near the end of the long, never boring, mix. Taste. So far, we are golden with these mixes!
It’s interesting hearing remix love going to a deep cut from “Flesh + Blood,” one of my favorite Roxy Music albums from their third phase. The Tiefschwarz Mix clears the decks of almost everything except Ferry’s vocal. The BPM is higher than the original, replacing the sense of dread with a frantic skittishness as every nook and cranny of the sound is filled with new constructions, not present in the original. With one exception. The original bass line has, amazingly, been retained for this remix. You know remixers…they love to change rhythm tracks! Usually the original bass is always jettisoned. It helps here that it, along with Ferry gives the listener a lifeline back to the great original, but in the end, an electrohouse mix of “Rain, Rain, Rain,” even one that’s kind of interesting, wouldn’t be anything I’d want to hear too often.
Finally, the remix of “The Thrill Of It All” by M.A.N.D.Y. takes the plunge into the stratosphere of remixology with a dubstep mix of the previously sturdy track from “Country Life.” Ferry is barely there on this track as it represents a cover version by M.A.N.D.Y. that has none of the thrills of the original version. What it does offer is a plunge into the void of the now. While I am somewhat bullish on remixes today, this represents a look back at the horror of the 90s; albeit with new beats.
So that’s what the Pink remixes offer. Discerning customers may pick and choose at the various DL vendors. I’d certainly recommend both of the “Angel Eyes” remixes as they fulfill the Monk’s brief of a successful remix… to perfection. The “Rain, Rain, Rain” remix may work on occasion, but the M.A.N.D.Y. mix is best left alone. We don’t need to be reminded of the long reign of terror that remixes inflicted on us for far too long.
Next: …Orange is the color
* P.S. It may be commonly known by now that the years 1987-2007 were not my faves for the art of remixing…