Culture Trips

From Donna Summer to LCD Soundsystem: 10 of the best remixes | Music

I Feel Love (Mega Mix) – 1982
Donna Summer

The only criticism you can make of Giorgio Moroder’s motor-disco landmark is that it is too short. Enter like-minded New Yorker Patrick Cowley, five years later, who exploited that Escher-staircase bassline to create a dizzying 3D labyrinth with shades of dub, jazz and psychedelia, and premonitions of techno. Sixteen minutes that hint at infinity.

Flava in Ya Ear (Remix) – 1994
Craig Mack

Sean “Puffy” Combs was a whiz at using the remix as a marketing device. This version of his Bad Boy label’s first single kept Easy Mo Bee’s loping beat but passed the mic between Busta Rhymes, LL Cool J, Rampage and the Notorious BIG. Poor Craig Mack became the bridesmaid on his own track.

No Big Love lost ... Tango in the Night-era Fleetwood Mac.
No Big Love lost … Tango in the Night-era Fleetwood Mac. Photograph: Alamy

Big Love (Extended Remix) – 1987
Fleetwood Mac

Despite the ingenious efforts of Shep Pettibone and François Kevorkian, the 80s craze for extended 12-inch remixes spawned a lot of dutiful space-filling, but by 1987 the influence of house music was expanding horizons. Arthur Baker used piano breaks and ricocheting voices to turn Lindsey Buckingham’s arena-rock angst into Balearic bliss. How Ibiza learned to love the Mac.

Flowers (Sunship Radio Edit) – 2000
Sweet Female Attitude

Only the people who made it remember the original mix of Flowers, a generic piece of post-All Saints R&B. Former Brand New Heavy Ceri Evans turned lead into gold with the application of a perky two-step rhythm, giddy vocal cut-ups and an Erik Satie chord sequence. Heard recently in I May Destroy You, UK garage’s perfect pop song remains fresh as a daisy.

Tiergarten (Supermayer Lost in Tiergarten Remix) – 2007
Rufus Wainwright

Any decent remix that exceeds 10 minutes is a trip, and Wainwright’s baroque ballad about a walk through Berlin provides a useful road map. Germany’s own Michael Mayer and Superpitcher let a dreamy, beatless version of the song run for a couple of minutes before wandering off into a techno reverie and never coming back.

Professional Widow (Armand’s Star Trunk Funkin’ Mix) – 1996
Tori Amos

In the 1990s, labels splashed fortunes on remixing songs that didn’t really need remixing. In the same year that his Sneaker Pimps remix invented speed garage, Armand Van Helden took a couple of lines from Amos’s unnerving dirge and accelerated and looped them over a colossal thug-disco bassline, making her an unlikely club diva.

Daft Punk Is Playing at My House (Soulwax Shibuya Re-Remix) – 2005
LCD Soundsystem

In the fan-fiction spirit of James Murphy’s song, the Dewaele brothers interpolate sound effects (police sirens, conversation, bleeping robots) and snippets of Daft Punk’s own records to create a meta-remix that sounds exactly like the out-of-control house party described in the lyrics. When the bassline drops, it’s bananas.

Get read to Rocks ... Primal Scream.
Get read to Rocks … Primal Scream. Photograph: Tim Roney/Getty

Come Together (Andrew Weatherall Remix) – 1990
Primal Scream

A master remixer for 30 years, Weatherall could gently guide a song towards the dancefloor or rebuild it from the ground up. Retaining nothing but chords, brass and backing vocals, he replaces Bobby Gillespie with Rev Jesse Jackson’s famous speech at 1972’s Wattstax concert to yoke the radical idealism of black power to the ecstasy of rave.

Yeke Yeke (Hardfloor Mix) – 1994
Mory Kante

In their remixing heyday, German acid-house fetishists Hardfloor only had one trick, but it was foolproof: build-up > breakdown > heads explode. Kudos to the A&R who figured that a 1987 Euro-smash by Guinean star Mory Kante would be a prime candidate for the brain-scouring oscillations of the Roland TB-303.

I Wanna Be Your Lover (Dimitri from Paris Re-Edit) – 2011

DJ re-edits are remixing’s purest form, tweaking tunes for maximum dancefloor impact without seeking official permission. Dimitri combines live and studio versions to create an imaginary space between club and gig, ramping up excitement with the sound of the crowd.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *