JIM’LL (NOT) REMIX IT

This might be a bit controversial, but remixes: I just don’t get them. Never have. Whenever someone says to me ‘That remix of that song is amaaaaaazing’ or posts about some super-dooper remix on a blog, I really have no interest whatsoever.

This recent quote from James Blake sums it up for me:

“Remixing is like musical prostitution. I think it’s really cynical and vacuous; I’m batting offers away like flies. It never used to be like that. Ray Charles didn’t need five remixes. The song speaks for itself.”

Remixes certainly have their place in certain genres of music (electronica/dance perhaps moreso), but I think improving upon the original song is the exception, rather than the rule. Maybe I’m closing myself off to an incredible sub-genre, but I really don’t think so. Isn’t a good, honest song simply a good, honest song? It doesn’t need extended passages, special effects and bleepy-bloopy bits to make it more ‘special’. If that makes me untrendy, so be it.

It particularly annoys me when bands release ‘remixed’ versions of albums – Depeche Mode are the latest culprits, planning a double-disc collection of remixed songs from their thirty year career this June. I don’t need a new version of ‘Enjoy the Silence‘ or ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’! What’s wrong with the originals?! They’re classics for a reason!

Daft Punk are also planning a remixed version of their recent Tron soundtrack. FOR F**K’ SAKE! The bloody soundtrack’s been out for less than six months! It is, as Blake said, a cynical move.

[Edit: It’s been pointed out that the album may not necessarily been Daft Punk’s idea, although their ex-manager’s recent comments seem more angered by the calibre of remixers, rather than its actual existence…]

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12 responses to this post.

  1. With the advances in music technology in recent years remixing is the logical yet innovative step into the infinite for anyone interested in the myriad possibilities that music suggests. Music is the well from which our thirst is quenched so why would anyone who truly loves the magic that new music brings be reluctant to accept the work of consenting music makers.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Lauren on March 23, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    That was kind of the point of the post (and James Blake’s quote), drrockmagic – that if a song is good enough to begin with, why bother having an outsider tinkering with it? It could also be argued that fiddling with the elements of the song is stripping it of its true nature, the one that the original writer/musician intended when they wrote and recorded it – but I’m well aware that it’s not as black and white as that. There are exceptions, but they’re few and far between, in my opinion.

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  3. You have misinterpreted me completely. Have you never gotten excited by a mix from a talented DJ? For surely that is also drinking from the same well that so often wonderful remixes spring from.

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  4. Also I might add that you and anyone who clearly loves music should check out Jamie XX’s remix of Gil Scot Heron’s album. It’s called We’re New Here and it’s an finely accomplished piece of collaborative creativity. Music is not mine, or yours, it can never known or possessed. Music is the destination, collaboration is the way!

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  5. Really interesting read. My relationship with remixes is a bit of a weird one. Like you I think that remixes rarely live up to originals but you can sometimes be left with two great tracks, is that not better than one great track?
    A remix doesn’t undo the original, if you don’t like it, fine.
    I think more and more these days hipster kids listen almost exclusively to remixes, as if a song can’t be cool without being re-worked with all kinds of blips and loops and that gets to me alright. But in some cases remixes are brilliant and can feel like a total seperate song, its impressive to hear how the DJ heard the potential from a such a different original tune.
    I think to turn your back on remixes full stop is a drastic move, some are terrible, maybe tiresome but some are genuine quality.

    Reply

  6. Posted by Lauren on March 28, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Hi Ian, that’s a fair point. I wouldn’t say that I’ve turned my back on remixes – more that I’ve never heard one that improves upon the original. Just not my thing. I’m glad this post has provoked a bit of debate, although I think drrockmagic has taken it a bit seriously ;)

    Reply

    • I did indeed take it seriously. Music journalism should be more than throwaway statements of opinion.

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      • Posted by Lauren on March 29, 2011 at 11:36 pm

        With all due respect, it’s not up to you or anyone else to decide how throwaway or serious my opinion is, drrockmagic… the posts on this blog are very much written with a personal slant – it’s one of the main reasons I started this blog, and I’ve never insinuated otherwise.

  7. Okay, going to jump back in here. It’s often said on this blog that it is a personal blog, which by definition consists of opinion. This post isn’t trying to stop people from listening to remixes it’s Lauren putting across her opinion on remixes.
    It’s summed up in the last comment “Just not my thing.”
    The indie community is too full of haters. Music isn’t science, there’s no formula to prove what’s good and bad music (with the obvious exception of that Friday song)All we have are subjective opinions.
    *Sorry for using my big voice.

    Reply

    • Posted by Lauren on March 29, 2011 at 11:38 pm

      Thanks for the comment, Ian. I’m all for debate and hearing the flip side of the coin, but smarmy condescension grinds my gears.

      Reply

  8. Lauren, you’re right, it’s your blog and your opinion. Mutual gear grinding aside, I was unnecessarily antsy. Peace out.

    Reply

  9. Posted by Lauren on March 30, 2011 at 12:08 am

    No harm done, drrock, take it easy.

    Reply

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