"It’s a very broad question but growing up listening to ’90s indie, heavy rock and grunge, remixes weren’t exactly something I sought out. The one thing I always skipped were the remix b-sides included on singles where the label thought it was necessary to branch out. Often pointless, made for the dance floor, lesser version of the single. […]"

REMIXES, GOOD OR BAD?


It’s a very broad question but growing up listening to ’90s indie, heavy rock and grunge, remixes weren’t exactly something I sought out. The one thing I always skipped were the remix b-sides included on singles where the label thought it was necessary to branch out. Often pointless, made for the dance floor, lesser version of the single. Somewhere down the line I did change my mind, I discovered that there were remix acts who managed to add their distinguished sound and worked hard to improve upon the original. Some of these acts were Massive Attack and UNKLE.

“just look at Lana Del Rey’s EDM hits”

While I’ve broaden my musical perspective, no longer being bound to a few genres, not much have changed in the remix scene. We still get remixes which are only made to get the singles more club friendly, Lana Del Rey’s EDM hits is a typical example. But we’ve got acts such as RAC, Jamie XX, Four Tet and Jon Hopkins who add creativity in the mix. But still, coming from genres such as metal or hard rock – I would find it difficult to find the appeal even in 2015?

Do we really need this?

Do we really need this?

 

Do you have any favorite remixers? What’s your take on the current remix scene? As we’re going to discuss this on an upcoming podcast episode, I hope you don’t mind me naming your username if you comment.

14 comments
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  • March 26, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    I think some remixes are pointless, boring, repetitive and only made for the club environment but then again some remixes do have positives, I especially like it if there is suddenly a completely different style all over the song so remixes are pretty good sometimes, although I would rather not have to listen through all of the pointless ones just to find a gem or two

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  • @unheard78 Level 3
    March 26, 2015 at 9:30 pm

    These days, remixes are merely an excuse to tack a popular dance or club music producer/artist’s name onto a record that wouldn’t normally cross over. Sure, Lana Del Rey’s remixes sold some records and got some people to hear her music that might not have checked it out otherwise, but that doesn’t mean the EDM fans will make a full crossover, or vice versa.

    Not to sound like a cranky, older person, but I long for the days when remixes were genuinely innovative and unique, offering reinterpretations or alternate perspectives on the music you loved, as opposed to merely grafting someone’s vocals onto a generic club track. That’s not saying all remixes are that bad, but if you’re an artist on a major label, your output in a remixed form will likely be rather dull.

    Like many things, the labels and industry found a way to monetize what was a legitimate form of art. Gone are the days of the Latin Rascals, Aphex Twin, the Neptunes, Daft Punk and other artists creating unique remixes that you genuinely wanted and they got paid to make. Again, not all artists making remixes are trash, but as you pointed out, who needs 16 different remixes of a Tegan and Sara track? Why wouldn’t a number somewhere between 2 and 5 be enough? Does every song have to be boiled down to a club-oriented common denominator?

    So, are remixes bad? Like everything else, in moderation they can be fine, even the generic ones, but right now it’s just a cheap ploy to put more material in the marketplace in hopes someone will buy or play it. Whether it’s out of your pocket or because of a mechanical royalty, someone is getting paid, or at least hoping so.

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  • @plopplop Level S
    March 27, 2015 at 5:14 am

    In a word, bad. I can’t name a single song in history that was improved in a remix, not one. I hate “Deluxe” versions of albums or EP’s that just tack on crappy remixes and expect fans/consumers to get excited. There must be some of you out there buy this material, and therefore fuel this phenomenon – I’d love to hear why one consumes this drivel schlock.

    Reply

  • @71minus2 Level 1
    March 29, 2015 at 10:55 am

    I think the whole “just chuck a 4/4 beat onto it” remix thing has had its day with reworking and re-versions seeming to be where the new battle line has been drawn.

    Notable inclusions in this area are Coldplay – Fix You (Fout Tet Remix) although why it is called a remix i’ll never quite understand as the only original element is the vocal track! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TK8vdwlwWE

    Oasis – Falling Down (Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble Mix) all 22 minutes of it.

    However, some original remixes from the 90’s are unbeatable.

    The Prodigy – Voodoo People (Chemical Brothers Remix) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41kXJLheSrc
    Energy 52 – Cafe Del Mar (Michael Woods Chill Out Remix) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lsuhm17m0AQ
    Moby – Thats When I Reach For My Revolver (Rollo and Sister Bliss Vocal Mix) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGsilBQpeVY

    Reply

  • @youngturk Level 5
    March 29, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    Today you can’t put out lousy remixes expecting them to make it on a physical release or to receive the weakest hint of attention from an audience. Today, a remix is intended to be an original, valid, contribution to an already valid piece of music by definition. The reviewing process of singles and 12″ is a lot more critically rigorous than it used to be, basically a credible DJ isn’t allowed more than a couple of unconvincing remixes before being declared done.

    Reply

  • April 2, 2015 at 10:51 am

    In my opinion remixes are just an attempt to get some publicity or hype of a song that is already good and a finished piece. Usually the remixes only contain the original lyrics and the rest of the song like the melodies and beats are completely different. The last remix i truly hated was the remix of Rude by Magic. I liked the original song a lot with the reggae vibe but then someone made a sort of danceremix where as i said the melody and beat had nothing to do with te original song and the lyrics and melody of the lyrics didnt fit the melody in the remix at all. It was completely horrible and rape of good song.
    And last of all: Why the F is there a grammy for ”Best Remix”?!! Like ”wow you didnt even make a song but you got played a lot on the radio so here is the biggest award in music of all time!” The Grammy’s just became a popularity contest

    Reply

  • @fabuleuxfab Level 5
    April 2, 2015 at 11:04 am

    Monsieur Adi is clearly one of my favourite remixers. He doesn’t just make a club version, he really reworks the material. Much like RAC since you know them.
    Other favourite remixers : a-trak, jacques lu cont AKA Stuart Price AKA Thin White Duke, 20syl, Diplo, Kanye West, Flume

    With the birth of soundcloud, remixes have gone to a whole new dimension. For a DJ, remixing a track is not anymore a matter of just having your own version of the song to play but also some kind of publicity stunt : if the remix gets popular, then you get noticed.

    At some point, this was the official strategy for a band to get noticed. Think of Metronomy. In the first few years, they made hundreds of remixes. Since they finally made a transition to successful band, it’s hard to ever see a remix from them. For this reason, the remixers scene is very moving… dj’s come, make a name with a bunch of great remixes than start to push their own production.

    One of the major change that happened in the business is the legitimization of remixes. Probably partially due to the influence of the mashup scene: djs/producers were able to organize, share acapellas or instrumentals via P2P.
    The music industry of course saw the change and some labels/bands started organising official remix contests (current 00’s)

    Now, sites like Hypem.com (famous music blog agregator) are all about finding the next big remixer. Their most popular songs rating often feature the works of new promising remixers (Matoma, Viceroy, etc.). To the point that they had to add a “no remixes” feature to their ranking for people who don’t understand the remixer craze.

    It’s easy to say that remixes are not what they used to be. To me, there are still a lot of very good remixers out there who are not bound by club laws. They dig old or new gems and reshape it. The possibilities are endless.

    For me, remixes are a great way to express yourself as an artist. Because you start with a common base. It’s like giving ten people a bunch of sounds and ask them to get creative with it : the results are enjoyable because they are comparable, so you can really appreciate the work of a dj, its sensibility.

    If there is no sensibility and it’s just about making an extended version for the dancefloor, then it’s way less interesting.

    I can think of a hundred songs that are better as a remix than the original. Sometimes because I heard the remix first, sometimes, because the remix is more enjoyable to me.

    I also have a radio show where I always try to feature some interesting new remixers : https://www.mixcloud.com/lafabrock/

    Reply

  • @cazetofamo Level 3
    January 18, 2016 at 6:19 am

    There’s a lot of things that are referred to as remixes that actually aren’t. A lot of times, a track will be edited bu add in a a four on the floor beat and looping a couple parts of the song, and some call that a remix, but its really more of an extensive edit, and those don’t deserve to be b-sides, they should be reserved for music blogs and soundcloud. However, when the songs are actual remixes, by artists who take their jobs as remixers seriously, it can be amazing. Here’s more info on the differences between remixes, edits, bootlegs, flips, etc. https://www.reddit.com/r/EDM/comments/2aht3b/remix_vs_edit_vs_bootleg_vs_flip_vs_dub_whats_the/

    Reply

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