Roxy Music POMO Week: Day Four – Blue

roxy-POMO-header-blue
The Roxy POMO Color Series then went dormant for a period of three years until the next color was released. Why the time span? I can’t really say. It’s not like these were commissioned to promote yet another Roxy Music compilation, since none was released in the 2006-2007 timespan of the first three. Nor was there one in 2010 when the Blue mixes were released. This time, only as downloads. They were all from the final Roxy Music album, the languorous “Avalon,” so the likelihood of any of these remixes getting the dubstep treatment was slim to none. These would be smoooooth.

Virgin | US | DL | 2010

Virgin | US | DL | 2010

Roxy Music: Remixes [Blue] US DL [2010]

  1. Avalon [Lindstrom + Prins Thomas Version] 6:51
  2. While My Heart Is Still Beating [Abakus Remix] 4:36
  3. To Turn You On [Disco Pusher Remix] 6:56
  4. Always Unknowing [Cinnamon Chaser Remix] 4:03

The “Avalon” remix began in an intriguing fashion. Just a dry rhythm box with dubbed out MacKay sax. Then the throbbing bass line entered the mix and guitar atmospheres that sounded as if they had traveled back in time three years from the “Boys + Girls” sessions prepared me for something significant. Then I waited. And waited. Listening to this remix was like being stuck in amber since there was only a static groove with no advance forward for over four minutes until, a chord progression finally happened! Admittedly, when it did, it seemed monumental, but then as soon as it began, the track once more steeled back into its looped groove where nothing happened save for dubby hints of Ferry’s vocals rendered into abstraction. It had some potential up front, but this mix ended up being a pointless exercise from my point of view. You decide.

The Abakus remix of “While My Heart Is Still Beating” was a far more enjoyable, solid, dub mix of the LP cut. Abakus were wise enough to add more melodic development than Lindstrom + Prins Thomas. Ferry’s actual performance is rendered more distant here, but the tremolo synths added by Abakus sound really good at evoking the dreamlike wistfulness that is the song’s métier. The fact that it was more brief than the original track worked to its advantage, as well. I enjoyed the addition to the song’s vibe, and when it ended, indeed, I was wanting more. The first rule of this business called show, in my book.

The Disco Pusher remix of “To Turn You On” was the clear winner in this Blue batch of remixes. The remix added a funkier, handclap beat to the song, along with some injections of synth goodness, and wisely, left much of the original’s DNA in the mix; giving the song a chance to breathe. One should wear a remix lightly, and this one hits all of the points of interest in the original, albeit from differing angles. It sounds like they used even more funky guitar in the hot outro than the LP version did! If it was in the original mix, it must have been buried. Hearing it now is a real treat.

Finally, the B-side of the “Avalon” single got the nod by remixers. Cinnamon Chaser’s mix of “Always Unknowing” retains the gossamer vibe of the original, with added emphasis on the beat. At 4:03 it wasn’t longer than the original, and all of Ferry’s performance is ensconced within. I swear that many a remix disaster could perhaps be averted if just these two observations would be noted.

So. One home run. Two solid base hits, and only one strike out. Not bad overall for yet more Roxy POMO remixes. The intriguing background here is that the Abakus and Cinnamon Chaser mixes are both by the same man… Russ Davies, scion of Ray! Yes, that’s right. The son of Ray Davies of …The Kinks. [insert dramatic stinger]

Next: …A new flavor

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2 Responses to Roxy Music POMO Week: Day Four – Blue

  1. Echorich says:

    So if I decide, I really like the Avalon remix. Yes, it goes nowhere, it only hints at change into minute 4, but Avalon was at best a mood piece and until Yannick Etienne pulls out one of the great back up singer upstages OF ALL TIME, it was never going to be much more. I think Lindstrøm and Thomas were just taking things to their PoMo inevitability.
    Wistful is a great description for the Abakus remix of Heart Still Beating. It has a bit of an urban flair that is missing from the original.
    Disco Pusher amps up The Bus Stop disco quality of To Turn You On. The original is one of my favorite late period Roxy songs. I’m sure the NYC references had a lot to do with it’s immediate attraction, but it is really one of Ferry’s most soulful moments towards the end of Roxy’s career. Once again the urban quotient is turned up on a tune from Roxy’s most ethereal/pastoral album. It’s really kind of fabulous.
    Cinnamon Chaser brings things back home to Europe on Always Unknowning. In fact it sounds as if they are playing it while riding in an Audi on the Autobahn. Not a bad thing at all. The original, while beautiful, always felt like a play on Avalon itself and a bit too middle of the road to these ears. Russ Davies remix is PoMo perfection – nodding to the early 80’s and the bridge, that was Kraftwerk, between Art Rock and New Wave. That it is short and to the point is powerful and strong.

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      Echorich – I’ll never forget the time I saw Roxy Music on their 2001 US tour. We had seen them in New Jersey and a week later, we also took in the Atlanta show in Chastain Park. In New Jersey, “Avalon” was a non event without those perfect pipes, but the Atlanta show featured Ms. Etienne and that richly rewarded my one and only stab at seeing more than one gig in a band’s tour (at some expense since either show was very out-of-town).

      Like

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