Monday, October 21, 2002
Here's a mix I made for an end-of-exams party I plan to make in a couple of weeks:

De La Soul - Ooh!
Backstreet Boys - The Call (Neptunes Remix)
No Doubt - Hey Baby (Outkast Remix)
Busta Rhymes - Pass the Courvoisier Part II
Truth Hurts - Addictive (Dirty Remix)
Noreaga - Nothin'
Erick Sermon ft. Redman - React
Faith Evans - Burning Up (Remix ft. Missy)
Missy Elliot - Work It
Bubba Sparxxx - Ugly (Remix ft. Ms Jade)
Elephant Man - Dr. Dre Riddim
Timo Maas - Doom's Night (Stanton Warriors Remix)
Sticky ft. Lady Stush - Dollar Sign
Pay As U Go Crew - Champagne Dance (Destruction Remix)
Clipse ft. Kardinal Offishal & Sean Paul - Grindin' (Remix)
Masters At Work - Work!
Basement Jaxx - Flylife (Brixton Mix I think - the one with crazy ragga vocals)
Aphrodite ft. Barrington Levy - All Over Me

It's no Gold Teeth Thief, but I'm pleased by how well this sort of pan-flava approach when there's a ruling ideology behind it (cf. eclecticism for its own sake) - here I guess I'm going for some sort of 'urban diaspora' thingy (fuck that sounds awful) although I'm hoping it's more party-minded than intellectual.

What I love about all these tracks is how gratuitous their exoticism/melodrama is. Most glaring example: in "React", after the bollywood vocal sample when Erick says "Whatever she said, then I'm that!" - funny sounds and samples purely servicing a "DID YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE?!?!" mindset. See also Pharell in "Nothin" - "homeboy, I came to party," he drawls so faux-thuggish, so simulacrum-of-menace that you can almost see the unnaturally-natural shades of his stage make-up. Meanwhile the end of the cd is pretty much just artists getting Jamaicans to sing on their stuff because, well, it sounds good.

The other attraction is the bootleg-like mix'n'match of flavours: I love Elephant Man's "Dr. Dre Riddim" (provided to me by the eternally heroic Nick K), which is just Elephant Man doing his stuff over Dr. Dre's "Still D.R.E."; this as well as the Clipse remix have this air of interchangable internationalism - like an international spare parts pop shop - that I predictably find irresistible.

The one track I should remember to talk about in detail is the Destruction Remix of Pay As U Go Crew's "Champagne Dance". "Champagne Dance" is one of those tunes that suffers from a surfeit of good versions - do you choose the smoov tropical soca of the original or the soulful/shrill jitter-funk of the Sticky Mix? Maybe this one instead: the Destruction Mix was done by a producer from Adam F's KAOS camp, and it sounds pretty much like a garage take on the KAOS album - ie. hilariously overblown end-of-the-world melodrama. Rough bass surges, blaring synths and valkyrie strings fill out the busy, taut groove in a display of slightly unhinged kitchen-sink maximalism. The best thing about it though is how brilliantly it recontextualises the MCs - who, are let us be honest, rapping about bling-bling culture and not much more. Here they sound thoroughly matched to the darkness of the music, their understated murmurs suggestive of a quiet menace and/or a deceptive collectedness, their high-speed delivery not merely stereotypically fast but rather trying desperately to keep up with (or keep on top of) the over-excited arrangement. It's a surprisingly sensitive piece of recontextualisation for a remix that otherwise seems eager to punch out any pretenders to the throne.


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