Transformation can do many things to an object. It can make something louder, quieter, bigger, smaller, heavier, lighter, darker, brighter, and so much more. The process of transformation is of some measure science, art, and parts unknown, and thus, cannot be coerced into formula. Remixes seek to transform, in some manner, the source material into something new, fresh, and vibrant. The best remixes do this, and also pave a bridge of familiarity to the original. Developing something new while maintaining some semblance of the old is an enormously difficult task, and that’s why it rarely happens.
If a remixer is smart, the simple act of picking the right song to treat will come with a certain amount of cache, and will garner a certain level of intrigue (read: there will be a built-in audience). But that doesn’t mean the remix will end up being good. So many are not. There are some though, that are good, and some, even better than that. Not only do they transform, they transcend: the source material, emotions, and every so often, time itself. To be lost in a piece of art where an entire dimension (time) ceases to exist is one of the joys of the artistic process, and indeed, one of the joys of this life.
To remix is to change. The best of the best though, remember to keep something of the original intact, whether it’s on the surface or buried deep beneath it. The great Roman poet Ovid, in his sprawling poem, “The Metamorphoses”, gives us an idea that serves as supreme directive for approaching remixes, “Omnia mutantur, nihil interit (everything changes, nothing perishes).”
Here are my Top 40 Remixes of 2013:
40. Postiljonen – All That We Had Is Lost (Keep Shelly In Athens Remix)
39. Britney Spears – Perfume (Cheiro De Quenga Remix)
This remix is brand-spanking new. If I had more time with it, I’d probably like it even more. As it stands now, it’s already one of my favourites.
38. Lady Gaga – Applause (Liam Keegan Bootleg Remix)
37. Mo – Pilgrim (Ms Mr Remix)
36. The 1975 – The City (No Ceremony Remix)
35. The Knife – Let’s Talk About Gender Baby… (Planningtorock Rework)
Even though this is a remix, it’s far and away the most playful tune associated with The Knife’s super-dense Shaking The Habitual. Planningtorock always bring that fire. This is a sneaky prancer of a remix.
34. Moby – The Perfect Life f. Wayne Coyne (Fuck Buttons Remix)
I prefer this remix to the original. A slow burner.
33. The Neighbourhood – Let It Go (Ghost Loft Remix)
32. Puscifer – Breathe (Drumcell Remix)
Drumcell really Donkey Punches The Night out of this remix.
31. Ms Mr – Hurricane (Chvrches Remix)
It’s not like Chvrches were busy or anything — they only crafted one of the best debut pop records of the past 10 years. Yet they still found time to do a few covers and remixes. Absurd hot streak.
30. Natalia Kills – Saturday Night (Gregori Klosman Remix)
One of two songs on my list to have two separate remixes make the cut. Klosman slays on this remix.
29. Hurts – Exile (Freemasons Club Mix)
28. Charli XCX – You (Ms Mr Remix)
27. Grouplove – Ways To Go (The Knocks Remix)
26. Kendrick Lamar – Swimming Pools (Blood Diamonds Remix)
Mike Tucker has been on quite a run the past 24 months or so. One of his best efforts here.
25. Lorde – Royals (The Weeknd Remix)
24. Metric – Artificial Nocturne (Love Thy Brother Remix)
23. The Colourist – Little Games (St. Lucia Remix)
22. The Saturdays – Disco Love (Starlab Disco Radio Edit)
21. Alt-j – Fitzpleasure (Betatraxx Remix)
A little bit industrial, a little bit Daft Punk, a little bit crazy.