ReMix: Streets of Rage "Elevation [groovepump mix]"
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Hopefully by now you've seen our announcement of a recent interview I did w/ Martin Sargent on Internet Superstar. Martin's been a fan for awhile, having pimped the site wayyyyyyy back in the (glorious) days of TechTv, circa 2001. Larry and I ran into him at the ROFLCon afterparty where, strategically stationed next to the open bar (with Maker's Mark!), we shot the shit about the good old days, etc. He looked us up for an interview many moons later, and the rest is history. I think he did a pretty awesome job of covering the basics, and while I (tragically) stumble over pronouncing Uematsu's name, after watching the whole thing over I think I did okay for my first video interview. I suppose on some level it's objectionable in that I'm not really a "superstar" - it's more about the site/community itself than any one artist, or even the founder - but whatever.
I get asked about my favorite mixes from time to time in interviews, and Mr. Morse seems to think my answering such questions is contrary to the site's policy of not picking favorites or doing numerical ratings... let me emphasize that *I* am not "the site" - like anyone else, I can have favorite mixes, and my personal opinion only carries the weight people grant it. The site policy is designed to prevent formalized, aggregated favoritism i.e. ratings/rankings, which devolve into a popularity contest pretty quickly. The policy is not intended to prevent me - or anyone else - from having mixes they like a lot, and saying so. Sorry if that's tangential; I'm sure there *are* instances where I'm hypocritical, but this ain't one. I get asked this question pretty often, so I thought I'd clear that up since it's likely to happen again.
Right then, greener pastures: this is a REALLY fun mix. Like, stupid fun. Not fun that's stupid, but rather fun that's SO fun, it's stupid just how fun it is. ambient teamed up with DragonAvenger for some classic Yuzo Koshiro action, w/ vocals. Alex wrote quite a bit on the sub letter, but it's all pretty juicy so I'm going to lazily copy the whole thing:
"I know, I am submitting another mix, even though last year I was convinced that I had pretty much retired from mixing, and I indicated that in my submission of Back 2 Skala. And I actually didn't touch anything related to music until a couple of months ago, when I felt this craving to do something creative. Not so easy to give it up, remixing is quite addicting. Unfortunately, I noticed that my skills got rusty even in such a short time, and I couldn't start a mix from scratch. Or maybe I was just lazy. Either way, I decided to dust off an old mix of the elevator stage from SOR that was rejected back in Jan/Feb 2006, and fix it up. I replaced the drums, gave them a lot more pump, added some transition (including a section from SOR2 - Dreamer), and was pretty much ready to submit. But, somewhere in the middle of that, I started listening to a little more of vocal house, and started kinda digging it. So, to make a long story short, I got in touch with DragonAvenger, who very kindly agreed to help me add some vocals to the track. She was great to work with and I'm looking forward to working with her again soon. Here is what she had to say about the mix:"This was a first time for me doing a song like this, so it was difficult at first to come up with something that was short and sweet. I knew the basic idea of what I wanted to go for, but finding the right words took some time. It was pretty sweet to see how my voice could be manipulated in the end."
I am very happy with the result, and I hope you guys are too. This is a fun little track. It is not quite as edgy as B2S, but I hope you find it funky and energetic. Once again, zircon helped a great deal with this remix. His advice pushes my work beyond what I would be comfortable with. Tamer also had some useful advice that I have implemented. Special thanks to Skryp for hosting the submission file, and Nina V. and Will H. for exposing me to some good house music.
Rad. This isn't a mix that'll change your life or elicit introspective revelations... it's dance house. Which, more or less, is basically designed to be groovy, not overly complicated, and have as low a threshold to danceability and enjoyment as musically possible. Which is not to say it's easy to make - common pitfalls include monotonous repetition, going too far off the cheese-o-meter, or involving one too many vocal snippet samples of soulful (ok, fine: black) people shouting one-liners like "Can you feel me?" or "Move to the rhythm!," etc. I'm happy to report that none of these faux-pas are an issue with this track, which remains true to the synth/dance energy of Yuzo's original while prompting the 90's to call and ask for their production back - in a good way. Though there are certainly some common meat-and-potatoes elements, not everything is staple foods: the dissonant sweep transition starting at 1'52" struck me as rather cool, in particular. Vinnie (who saw David Byrne with Anna and my friend Joi Wed. night in Baltimore, which rocked) is far more of an authority on dance house than I am:
"Oh I really dig this one. Has that club banger sound and the filtered pads and synths all fit together to make swirly goodness... I was waiting the entire song for DA's voice to get glitched and I almost thought it wouldn't happen. Then it happened."
Brief gating effect, really, but it still fills the gratuitous vocal glitching quota admirably. Fun stuff from ambient - very glad he couldn't stay away - and a nice vocal collab w/ DragonAvenger that really brings the genre to life.
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