I’ve always been jealous of remix artists. They live in a world where they hear melodies and harmonies everywhere. Whether it’s the dialogue in a movie or the nuanced sounds heard in every day life, their ability to take those sounds and arrange them into a cohesive piece of music is astonishing. I can’t even fathom what it would be like to hear the world through their ears. The best kind of remix artists are those who have the ability to capture the very essence of what they are remixing and add influences of their own sensibilities and complexion of sound to the track. In a way, it’s like they are singing about their passion for the source material in their own voice and telling us why it’s so amazing. Essentially, they are geeks just like Us. So as a tribute to the love of geekery and music, I would like to share a couple of tracks that will transport you through different dimensions of sound.
Remix artist Dainumo brings us a track that is dominated by the use of percussion (it’s titled Batbomb after all, and bombs are quite percussive if I’m not mistaken). It moves through the acts of the film like stanzas in poetry. It perfectly captures the grittiness and brutality of The Dark Knight, and is done very much in the tone of Hans Zimmer. Big loud brass, hard-hitting-in-your-face beats and syncopation, and a sound that illustrates an industrialized orchestra. The atmosphere it creates feels very metallic, and filled with machinery. Just like Gotham City itself, as well as the gadgets that the famed caped crusader uses.
2. Human Music
It’s no surprise that some of us here are in love with Rick and Morty. Their zany and far out adventures are such a joy to see, and this song perfectly captures it. Chetreo drops a track that may not be as complex and layered as the previous one, but it is much more energetic and playful; it gives off a very fun vibe at a fast pace. In a way, it feels very free and hedonistic (mostly due to the dialogue used in the song), which are some of the prevalent themes of the show. The piece flows in a kind of stutter, in a way to capture the spirit of the banter between Rick and Morty. Appropriately titled Human Music, getting wrecked and shakin’ that booty is how humanity celebrates.
3. Black Mambo
Whether you like Quentin Tarantino or not, there are two things that you cannot deny about the guy. (1). He loves film and (2). He loves coolness and bad-assery (he also has a fondness for the N-word, but that is neither here nor there). Dainumo gives us another piece that definitely captures those vibes in the film. The fusing and layering of a hip-hop rhythm using drums and the clashing of katanas, a rock bass line played by an electric guitar, and a wooden flute lightly dancing on top of all of it, just SCREAMS Japanese bad-assery and revenge. If the 5-point exploding heart technique didn’t kill Bill, this sharp track would have definitely done the trick.
You’ve heard remnants of it before, but now we are going to be delving into the realm of what some would call trip-hop. This genre of remixing is generally characterized by very dreamy and surreal instrumentation of vocals that floats across a hip-hop beat. My favorite remix artist of all time, Nick Bertke (pseudonym DJ Pogo), is a person who has definitely perfected this technique. In his track, Wishery, he doesn’t even take full words or sentences, but rather he takes the intonation of their voices, and implements them in to his music like notes on a piano. This guy seriously has an ear for sounds, and can hear moments of melodic harmony in virtually anything. I can go in to the different aspects of this song, but I would really like to talk about my favorite two tracks by him.
DJ Pogo isn’t just the perfect example of how to pay tribute to the stuff you love while implementing your own style to it (Tarantino take some notes), but he also embodies the philosophy of music. Music is a universal language that is understood. You don’t have to understand the literal meaning of the melodies, but no matter what language it’s in, you know it’s music when you hear it. In this track entitled Kadinchey (which means thank you in Bhutanese), you can really hear the culture of Bhutan sing. It really has an organic Asian flare with its use of certain percussion instruments (which I don’t know the names of), and simply using the natural intonations and sounds that are built into their language. It has a real sense of spirituality. To be able to hear those nuances in language, and to bring them to the forefront to perfectly paint a melodic portrait of their culture, all while adding his own spin on it, is seriously a work of art.
6. Joburg Jam
I know this has evolved in to a DJ Pogo article, but I just can’t help myself! He’s my favorite remix artist, and by listening to the differences between these two tracks, perhaps you can see why. The man understands how culture and melody are intertwined. They have two completely different sounds, but you just know that it’s done by Pogo. This track revolves around the culture in Johannesburg, South Africa. Right when it opens up with the guitar riff, it has a much more laid back and playful feel than Kadinchey. Even the percussion has a different sound, and the bass line keeps such an even mellow tempo that I could just listen to it for days. The entirety of this piece, from beginning to end, is just full of surprises. Like I’ve mentioned before (and admittedly probably having diminishing returns at this point), his ability hear the culture through the natural sounds of their language is as beautiful as it is impeccable.
Alrighty Ussians! Are there any remixes I missed? What’s your favorite genres of music? Whatever your thoughts, comment below and discuss with the Us!