I often lie awake at night wondering what makes the perfect remix. Isolation and supplementation. When the YouSendIt link comes through with the parts, I envisage producers leafing through keeping something on instinct and tossing the rest out the window. The other interesting part is looking at what they bring to the party.
The guinea pig for today's examination will be Marina + The Diamonds. The remixer is Daniel Barker otherwise known as The Aspirins For My Children, managed by Carl of Illegal Tender (one of the best blogs in town. fact). Marina is prime fodder because her tunes consist of many delicate layers that interlock exquisitely. Strip it back and there's plenty there to go to work on.
Out of the two lead tracks from Marina's earlier releases, Obsessions is the clear winner. As mentioned before, the backing vocals that drop around the second minute reign supreme. I must confess that I found Robot disappointing in terms of lyrics and production. The cheesy vocoder fails to provide the same rush.
I'm not sure I'm ready to inhabit a world where smoking behind the bike sheds is the epitome of tough. What I mean to say is, vulnerability had already been covered brilliantly with Obsessions, different subject matter and a different metaphor wouldn't have gone amiss for the next lead track. These are minor quibbles though as absolutely no fault can be found with the melodies, they sear themselves into your psyche effortlessly to the point where I'm singing this song even if if the words leave me lukewarm. The video is utterly jawdropping and unique as well. I also like that the song itself could be a thinly-veiled slur at the likes of Little Boots and La Roux.
So against this backdrop, let's take a look at Barker's tinkerings.
Exhibit A - Obsessions
Gone are my beloved backing vocals in the form that had me so dazzled. No matter, Aspirins' production sucks you in fast and doesn't let go. After five seconds, it's as if the song has been on repeat for hours as the bridge and chorus dance together. The meticulous order of the original is turned on its head and spun round and round. Just shy of the two minute mark, the synths come running in to remind you that this isn't all about Marina. The buildup continues then spits you out.
Exhibit B - I Am Not A Robot
What I love about this remix is that it packs the punch that the original production needs. The smaltz is eroded by the vibrant electro stylings. Aspirins' production is so enjoyable, like Moulinex lite, it means Marina's vocals aren't the main event. I could happily listen to an instrumental of this, everything dovetails perfectly. An instrumental of the original would probably cause stomach upset.
Why is this partnership working so well? Marina's lyrics conjure up tales of red-eyed hungover vulnerability and youthful self-assertion. Not really that surprising then that aspirin hits the spot.
If all that has given you a headache, down this.
Lost Valentinos - Common Thief
I'm off to Pure Groove to watch Cymbals Eat Guitars, then Levi's then Ed Banger.