5 Remixes You Should Hear
By JT James
May 2nd, 2019
The remix has been around for decades but has never been more popular than it is today. Its evolution continues with fantastic and sometimes head-scratching results. The roots of remixing can be traced back to the Jamaican dance hall scene of the late 60s with icons such as Lee “Scratch” Perry and King Tubby leading the charge. These cats would reconstruct reggae, dance hall and ska tracks to appeal to their audiences, often times stripping away vocals, changing arrangements and adding reverb and delay effects to established compositions.
The influence was felt in 1970s New York, where some of these trend-setters had relocated, when the disco scene began to bubble. Tom Moulton is often credited with inventing the dance remix as we now know it, popularizing the breakdown section on records and the 12” extended remix format. Walter Gibbons is credited with creating the first commercial 12” single with the Philadelphia quartet Double Exposure’s 1976 dance hit Ten Percent on Salsoul Records.
The evolution of these reworked dance versions easily made the transition into house music and electronic music as it bubbled to the surface through the music scenes of Chicago and Detroit in the 80s. The influence of the remix was also a strong factor in the birth and evolution of hip hop from its roots in the Bronx.
One of the modern founding fathers of the dance remix as we know it today is Boston-born Producer/DJ, Armand Van Helden. His trio of remix hits for Tori Amos (Professional Widow), CJ Bolland (Sugar is Sweeter) and Sneaker Pimps (Spin Spin Sugar) in the late 90s solidified his status as a go-to remix producer. If you’re not familiar with this music legend’s name you probably know some of his hits such as the Funk Phenomenon, My My My, and more recently his Duck Sauce project with Canada’s own superstar DJ, A-Trak, the frat-house smasher Barbra Streisand.
On that note, here are five remixes you should check out. Some are brand new and some a little older but have managed to stay in my crate and fill the dance floor, so they are worth their weight. This first one is a remix of Eastside by Benny Blanco, Halsey & Khalid. This collaboration of current pop heavyweights originates at 90 bpm but is flipped to 122 BPM by Charlie Lane. “She used to meet me on the east side in the city where the sun don’t set”. That’s a sweet little line right there.
Keeping the theme of the remix’s evolution is a reworking of the Jimmy Ross’ top ten dance single from 1981 ‘First True Love Affair’. Flippin’ switches on the boards is Re-Tide, so put on your dancing shoes and get amongst the love on this disco burner.
If you haven’t heard Kungs mash-up with Cookin’ on Three Burners, ‘This Girl’, you may have been living under a rock for the past three years. This track put Kungs on the map and upon further inspection of his catalog you’ll find other notable numbers that will get you moving. Remixing an ethereal and iconic figure such as Bob Marley is no easy task, but the Frenchman comes correct in his interpretation of ‘Jamming’ by adhering to an increasingly more popular trend and not departing too far away from the original.
Capping things off is a fresh off the press Fancy Inc remix of ONYVA’s ‘Jam Hot’ and another great rework of Khalid’s ‘Love Lies’ by Louse the Child. Enjoy.
Stay tuned for next week’s in-depth last feature of my ‘5’ series, where I go over what I’ve learned after 5 years off the sauce. Should be a good one.
JT James is a DJ, producer and writer based out of Vancouver, Canada. He has produced several projects in the genres of hip hop and electronic music under various aliases such as James Divine, Track Nicholson and Sandy Villanova. He is currently the DJ in residence at Vancouver’s famed institution, The Roxy, in addition to writing and producing content for DJ World and YouTube.