Aloha ohana, how are we feeling today? We feeling good? I’m feeling good. This week I want to delve into a world of music production that is rarely highlighted or appreciated in the eyes of the public. “Remixing” by definition means to mix again and this is what happens when a song is remixed. Tracks from the song are rearranged to alter the balance of the song and new elements are added that add the remixing artists flavour to the original mix. Some songs are altered so much that the song can become barely recognisable from the original. Remixing songs is how a lot of artists in the electronic scene establish a fan base and then become famous in the mainstream.
Remixing in music has been around since the 70’s and 80’s where hip hop pioneers such as Grandmaster Flash and Afrika Bambaataa would take samples from other songs and mix them together live on a turntable. This practice is prominent in modern hip hop as well with Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole using samples from Motown tracks and other sources of inspiration in their tracks. J. Cole even sampled George W. Bush.
I listen to both hip hop and electronic music religiously which has made me notice a specific difference in the remix culture of both genres. Hip hop and rap music builds on top of a track that has been sampled whereas electronic music builds around a track that has been sampled. In my opinion, the difference in the arrangement styles stems from the internet’s hold of modern electronic music.
In one of my past posts I detailed the history and significance of Soundcloud and how it provided a platform for anybody to post music. With the introduction of powerful music software, anybody could now make music without any prior knowledge of music theory. These artists with no prior music experience would take songs that they like and add their own flair to it. They would then post it onto online platforms such as Soundcloud and people would stumble upon the music. As artists got better with production and sampling the quality of remixes rose. Artists started taking note and labels started holding competitions for publicity using remixes as a forefront to reach out to new audiences. Artists such as Kygo started of strictly making remixes and he was discovered for the quality of the remixes he made. Some of his most famous works are remixes of Ed Sheeran, Marvin Gaye and Ellie Goulding. My favourite one being his remix of The Weeknd’s “Often”. Kygo was even commissioned by Coldplay to remix their song Midnight.
Some remixes even generate more noise than the original song. Off the top of my head I’ve listened to Hippie Sabotages remix of Tove Lo’s “Habits” than I have the original song. R. Kelly’s classic anthem Ignition (Remix) is titled that way because? Yes, that’s right, it’s a remix of his own song Ignition which is actually a groovy song on its own with the classic R. Kelly bounce.
In my opinion, the only reason remixes aren’t coming out to the forefront of popular music is because of copyright laws. However, there are steps forward being made for the recognition of remixes with the establishment of the Remix awards in 2016. Hopefully soon the art of remixing will become more known and appreciated publicly.
Until next time, stay tuned.