Still Fade To Black Mix

Something I really love that I might not expect someone like me to love, is remixes.  I don’t mean somebody sampling somebody else’s song and turning it into some mashup.  That’s a new thing that people are calling remixing but it’s not.  Remixes, to my mind, are new versions of songs that take the original multitrack audio and make a different version of the mix.  It’s not something you think about when you think about rock n roll live music and you think a recording is just a document of some player’s sound.  But really nowadays, and for a long time, the mixdown is a key part of the creative process and there’s WAY WAY more variability there than one might think.  You can even have a band play a song once, and totally change the character of the song, right down to actually changing the song.

You can do this without even rearranging by cutting, pasting, editing.  But then when you DO start cutting, pasting, editing, you also start into the notion of rearranging, which is an old old concept.  Arrangers in classical music are old-school remixers.  They take the basic “themes” of a work and make an original arrangement of it.  In some cases we have music from composers like Mozart or Beethoven or whoever and it’s not actually clear what the arrangement should be.  So the arrangement is the arranger’s creative contribution.  But it’s not a new song (or symphony or whatever).  It’s still considered the same song.  It still has the same title.  But there may be a footnote “Mozart’s Lost Sonota, arranged by Johnny Applebaum”.

This is what I think of when I think of remix.  The track I linked above is still “Still” (no pun intended) but it’s a different version.  The Still EP is 5 of these, and I totally remember where I first learned of this concept of the “maxi-single” in electronic music.  I was interning at KUNM 89.9 FM here in Albuquerque, and my job was to organize CDS and take home duplicates.  Well there was one CD, I forget the act or title, that was just that: an electronica act with one song (which I presumed was a hit from their full length CD) remixed in various ways.

I loved how I became familiar with the original song, and then I was hearing the same song, but with this new take.  All of the Still stuff is completely modeled after that CD, for example, where I’ve gone back to the MIDI file for the song, and for the Fade To Black Mix, all I’ve done is use different synth settings for some (but not all, which I think is key/neat) of the parts.  Like the former piano line becomes a vibraphone.  It gives the song this whole different character.

I also love the idea of DJs or big fans having access to these secret other versions of known stuff.  And usually there’s a bunch of different versions of something laying around just because in mixdown, a lot of times you do different things and decide later which one makes the cut on the album.  If the versions are different enough, releasing them as remixes seems like a great use for them and a great well of extra content.  That’s where I wouldn’t think I’d like the concept, because I’m not necessarily into being so desperate for content that you dredge up the same stuff over and over (like greatest hits albums – which are really just artists who have a contract to fulfill and no more material).  But since I like the discovery process in a remix/new arrangement, I do like it in this case.

Of course, the other cool thing is remixes are this great way to collaborate with other artists and reach new audiences, especially if you can get Big Name Electronica Artist or DJ X to do the “Still Paul Oakanfield Scratch My Back Mix”

Anyway I enjoy remixes.

Ok. I’ll do some remixes while you get your free Third Option stuff, click here to do that! 🙂

– Aaron

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