Chrysalismusic’s Blog

David Does Dance (Remixes) by Will
July 30, 2009, 10:06 am
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james holden 2

– The mighty Nathan Fake in action. And what Mozart might have used if he were born today.

What makes a great remix? Since remixes first started appearing on the disco and early hip-hop scene 30 years ago they’ve morphed into a check-box for most music marketing and A&R people. The intervening years have generally seen the creative life sucked out of them. Where they were once used to add a new dimension to a track, or to create more life on the dancefloor, or to throw a new artistic slant on a piece of music, they now tend to be part of a marketing ‘tick box’ and not much beyond that – A way to make sure that as many different audiences hear a song, irrespective of the musical merits behind it. There’s nothing wrong with this, of course, and some good music does come out of this, but every now and again a remix will come along that is beyond a mere ticked box, but actually manages to flatten those boxes, or to create a whole new set of boxes. 

The remixes that actually change the landscape of remixing are few and far between. Of course what constitutes a defining remix can be debated all day, but there are some that unquestionably are. You can count the Coldcut remix of Erik B and Rakim as part of that group, the Boris Dluglosch remix of ‘Sing it Back’, the Armand Van Helden remix of ‘Professional Widow’, the Timo Maas remix of ‘Dooms Night’ and the Soulwax remix of ‘Standing in the Way of Control’, as a few examples. All of these remixes offered a new way of approaching the concept of the remix, and created a new remix landscape whilst doing so. They’ve not only brought the song to a new audience, but they’ve actually found something in the piece of music that didn’t exist before. They’ve heightened an intensity or a sound, or have thrown a musical curve-ball into the mix, and in doing so have pushed the song into a new dimension.

We’re lucky enough to publish a few of these classic remixes (including the previously mentioned Soulwax ‘Standing in the way of Control’ remix and Boris D’s ‘Sing it Back’ Remix), as well as what is possibly my favourite remix of the past few years. This is the James Holden remix of Nathan Fake’s ‘The Sky Was Pink’. For me, this is an example of a remix that came out of nowhere and changed the language of the remix. The original Nathan Fake version is an aching, darkly dramatic piece of music, which is glorious in its own right. The James Holden remix, however, not only takes it to the dancefloor, but manages to fill it with many opposing factors that really shouldn’t work, but somehow fit perfectly. It manages to have a steely techno icy-ness, brought by the glitchy bleeps and heavy synth sounds Holden adds to the mix, whilst still retaining a very human warmth and emotion. The rythyms Holden uses are often arhythmic, sounding as though they’re falling over themselves (and no doubt causing many people experiencing the track on the dancefloor to lose their balance too), and often making the track feel out of sync in some way. Yet everything feels in its right place and the track has caused many different types of dancefloors to unite in a single rhythm. The melodic lines swing in and out of the mix, often unpredictably,and despite managing to confuse the listener with its seeming randomness still somehow conveys Fake’s original melodic phrases to perfection. It is essentially a remix of stark contrasts, that not only ticks all the boxes, but forces new boxes out of nowhere. I could listen to it all day. And night. It’s clear that many people agree with me – since its release in 2006 its style has been imitated by many in dance music and beyond. As we’d say in the Valleys: it’s STUNNIN’!

Talking of current remixes that float my boat, here’s my top 3 current favourites on Chrysalis:

// WHITE LIES Death (Chase and Status Remix) // GOSSIP Heavy Cross (Fred Falke Remix) // HOWLING BELLS Cities Burning Down (Disco Bloodbath Remix) // and, of course… NATHAN FAKE The Sky Was Pink (James Holden Remix) // MOLOKO Sing it Back (Boris Dluglosch Remix) //

– David O


We Do The Links So You Don’t Have To by Will

Good Morning. Here is the Lynx:

 And here are the links:

// Drowned in Sound’s ‘Best tracks of  2009…so far’ features YEAH YEAH YEAHS, SCHOOL OF SEVEN BELLSST VINCENT, METRICANDREW BIRD,  BAT FOR LASHES and THE HORRORS. Check out here // ‘In short, the old model is dead but the new one is still an ugly mutant’ – Sean DiS comments on the state of the industry. Nice piece with METRIC getting a lot of column width. // THE FREQUENCY‘s debut EP, ‘Morning to 3am’, album of the week and much lauded by the peeps at Dance Music Review here. // ENGINEERS get a stonking 8/10 album review in DiS. Lovely. (by the way, in case you hadn’t guessed today is DiS day ;))

July 23, 2009, 9:43 am
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From the Basement

We really like this. Nigel ‘Radiohead’s production wizard’ Godrich decides there is a dearth of good quality, live audience-free, band-focused, old grey whistle test style music programming available to the world and has set up a wonderful new music show of his own, accordingly. In his own words ‘the whole emphasis of the show is about being artist friendly and making our bands feel as comfortable as possible so that they can give great performances without the usual agony of TV promo which everyone has to do but no-one seems to enjoy. TV world is a pretty hostile environment for your average musician to walk into and bare his soul on cue…’.

OK, so band friendly environment.. comfortable setting… tv promo bad… soul baring good. Well, the results are quite stunning. These recordings capture an intimacy uncommon elsewhere in the canon of music tv programming (‘Later’ aside, perhaps) that allows real artist soul baring, but also, crucially, that golden ‘put yourself in the studio/practice room with the artist’ effect. It’s as if the bands are performing just for you, and therein lies the magic.

The first series of shows went online a matter of weeks ago and include some really nice performances by our very own GNARLS BARKLEY, THE RACONTEURS and FLEET FOXES, among others (messrs Yorke, Greenwood, Selway and O’Brien included, of course). Check them out. It’ll be worth it.

Sophie’s Latitude by Sophie
July 22, 2009, 9:24 am
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It’s not easy to do a review of Latitude festival without sounding like a snob down to its bad reputation as being the most middle class festival. This is perhaps because it integrates literature, poetry, theatre and music. However… 4 days and 20 000 people later it had 2 fights and 1 robbery, a constant supply of loo roll and sanitizer, a lot of security and bar staff and, for me, this is what I want from a festival. Dharling.

Highlight no.1: 12 noon Sunday 19th July my snooze is interrupted by the loudest cheer from the main stage mic ‘Shhhh people are sleeping’, it’s Thom Yorke (AKA best hangover cure in the world). His set is mesmerising, inspiring and genius (just like him). Luckily for me the big screens weren’t on so I could lie down in the sun, close my eyes, and take in the music without getting distracted by people watching or lazy eyes. Between debuting ‘The Present Tense’ (it’s a new song so you  know, go for a piss.’), playing some acoustic Radiohead and some tracks from The Eraser, Yorke bantered with the crowd and was (perhaps unusually) pretty damn hilarious.

I always find that the choice for the Uncut Arena (which is in a large tent) unusual. Last year Blondie, this year Bat For Lashes / Spiritualized / Gossip (purely coincidence as they are all Chrysalis artists ;)) I feel they could all take on a bigger crowd on the main stage. Also being a short-ass like myself and having no big screens in there I didn’t manage to actually ‘see’ any of these artists – only hear them. However, the sound is good, the arena has a fun atmosphere and, of course, it’s dry.

White Lies played to an enormous crowd which was a joy to see since I think I was the only one singing along last year. They played an epic set and looked like true professionals throwing in an effotless Portishead cover for good measure. Sadly Spiritualized and Grace Jones were on at the same time though both did bring in impressive sized crowds. I opted for two tracks of Jones (fabulous outfits as expected) and watched most of Pierce, whose live voice is sensational.

It was a great disappointment that I missed out on many bands that I would have loved to have seen – not due to being stuck behind a stag do in fancy dress at the bar or psyching myself up for the long drop.. but because the programmes were an incredible £8! To be fair it is a thick book with details about every performer but who wants to carry that round with them..?

Other highlights:

– The Irrepressibles (Lake Stage). Stunning strings accompanied by a Baroque styled Anthony Hegarty sound-a-like singer.

– !!!Chk Chk Chk (Sunrise Arena). One of the best festival bands because of their insane energy and likeability of front man Nic Offer.

– Cool (for) cats Squeeze

– Human Sheep

I could go on, but I won’t.

July 21, 2009, 2:12 pm
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We are bouncing around the office in excitement because BAT FOR LASHES and THE HORRORS have, this morning, been shortlisted for the Mercury Music Prize for their respective albums ‘Two Suns’ (Parlophone) and ‘Primary Colours’ (XL). Congratulations to both! This is supremely excellently wondrous and we are thrilled.  Click here to find out more on the Mercurys website. Woop Woop! (..WOOP!!)

We Do The Links So You Don’t Have To by Will

Good afternoon. Here is the LYNX:

and here are the LINKS:

Our very own Matt Bishop of Switches provides the excellent soundtrack to the new Gordon’s G&T ad with Gordon ‘Haven’t I got a potty mouth!’ Ramsay. Nice! // Listen to the new collaboration between Jim James (My Morning Jacket), M Ward and Conor Oberst.. // Take yourself on a journey into the mind of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs right here! // Check out The Big Pink ‘s video for 1st single, ‘Velvet’ // And then there’s this lovely video from the marvellous, recently signed, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros to take you into the weekend…

The Cribs. As conceived by Jeffrey Lewis. by Will
July 16, 2009, 2:34 pm
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What do you get when Jeffrey Lewis creates a comic strip for The Cribs? – Pure Gold that’s what…

The Cribs 1

The Cribs 2