By Jeff “Skin” Wade (@SkinWade)
Today, we launch a new blog series called “The Art of the REMIX” to coincide with our Shuffle REMIX project. Shuffle is part of our EVO library, and to celebrate having released ten projects under that moniker, we decided to take some of our favorite cuts from the past and give ‘em the ‘remix’ treatment.
As a former DJ and dub reggae enthusiast, the remix holds a special place near and dear to my funky heart. How another creative person re-imagines someone else’s work to change the feel, mood or all-around boogie can be an amazingly cool thing.
So we’ll give you some background and spitball the approaches some of the remixers took right here over the next few weeks. And today we start with GRAMMY Award-winning producer S1 and his son, VohnBeatz.
S1 probably needs no introduction, but just in case you’ve been sleeping, we’ll roll call his production credits: Jay-Z, Kanye, Beyoncé, Eminem, 50 Cent, Madonna – you get the picture. His production on the ubiquitous Kanye jam “Power” alone grants him legendary status.
The track he selected was “Tablet Technology” from Shuffle 5. The original is a shimmering pop rock track with a driving groove and cool textured synths to lift it into outer space. S1’s approach makes his version completely unrecognizable – merely grabbing a tiny key snippet and turning it into a warning siren of a musical motif. The beats are raw and the rhythm section has that Detroit tech-beat hump to it, combining a fuzzy synth bass with loping drums. Listening to the two tracks back-2-back is really cool. And highly recommended. Just don’t get stuck in a loop.
But we tapped into the Griffin family tree for another remix on this disc, as well. S1’s son VohnBeatz is a monster on the boards in his own right. Check out this really nice feature on him from a recent Dallas Observer article.
Vohn chose “Let’s Be Friends” from the very first Shuffle and completely flipped the mood and vibe into another realm. (Listen: “Let’s Be Friends Remix”) A hard breakbeat flirts with a drum machine, obscured vocals in the distance long for something, lines from the original are reversed to eerie effect and the jams drops into a massive swirling post-tech beat chorus section with ebb and flow synths. It would fit right at home with the works of DJ Shadow or DJ Krush.
Both cuts from Team Griffin are shining examples of how far away from the original cut a remix can be – a tiny piece of the original inspiring a whole new mood and groove. Cool documents of what is, The Art of the REMIX.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jeff "Skin" Wade and his partner Ruben Ayala are the production team that oversees and develops the Velocity Label for FirstCom. He's a full-on music and basketball nerd and his family seems OK with tolerating him, which is nice.