Here comes the remix! We asked our editorial team to pick their favourite reboots and refixes from the last 12 months. From the thousands of worthy versions they picked these 20. From UKG to D&B, enjoy…
AC13 & King DeepField – Tell No Soul (Skantia Remix) (Soulvent)
Whilst some remixes act more as a gentle homage to the original, Skantia took AC13’s beautiful Soulvent single Tell No Soul for a serious ride. Skantia is one of many artists whose music has seen a shift in 2020, moving into more melodic territory and drastically expanding his already extensive sound palette – and this remix is a testament to this. The opening keeps the musical base of the original, yet completely warps it into an icy, synth-laden soundscape that provides the backing for AC13s vocals (under his King DeepField alias).
Switching out the gentle liquid drums of the original with a syncopated, footwork-esque kick and snare pattern, he seemingly fills out every inch of space with layers of alluring synths, pads and hard-hitting percussive elements. Alongside the rest of his recent output, this remix moves him further away from the ‘foghorn’ sound many may have associated his earlier work with, and more into the new wave of experimental producers like Imanu, Buunshin and The Caracal Project. (Scott Claridge)
Alewya – Sweating (Breakage Remix) (Because London Records)
The fact that it feels like a treat to see more than one release from Breakage this year not only sums up the year, but also the quality of his production. His remix of Alewya – Sweating is trademark Breakage: concise, detailed and powerful. With fizzy 808s, slippery and sharp drum work that captivatingly contrasts the lush, enchanting vocals, Breakage has flipped the mesmerizing original by taking all of the key elements and putting his signature twist on them. As DJs will undoubtedly have to pick and choose the tracks for their sets when clubs do eventually open, Breakage has ensured that this deadly remix will be playing through rigs when it’s possible. (Purav Parmar)
Break & Kyo – The Edge Of Time (Workforce Remix) (Symmetry)
It’s hard to imagine Workforce remixing Break & Kyo being anything other than special, yet this remix succeeds expectations. Kyo’s stunning vocals stay at the forefront of the remix, while Workforce switches the at points delicate instrumentation of the original for something more potent. Haunting synths, a pulsating sub and tight drum-work combine in typical Workforce fashion to rework the original into one of the years standout tracks. (Scott Claridge)
Break & Total Science- Dog’s Dinner (Mefjus Remix) (Symmetry Recordings)
Part of the continued remix series of Break’s modern-day classic Another Way album, Mefjus headed to Symmetry Recordings to put his own signature style on Dog’s Dinner. While the original was already designed for unleashing at eardrum-shattering levels, the Austrian powerhouse packed his refit with enough artillery to shell down a small city. Reworking elements but ensuring that the groove was retained, the result was a goosebump-raising elevation that delivered lashings of sonic devastation, combining both rhythm and force in equal measure. 2020 hasn’t been the busiest of years for Mefjus, but every time he’s surfaced to showcase an example of his production supremacy, he hasn’t disappointed! (Paddy Edrich)
Critical Impact, Furniss & Youngman – Pretty Girl (The Sauce remix) (RUN Recordings)
When the original Pretty Girl came out I thought it was a cracker of a tune. But then I started hearing this remix doing the rounds and it sounded phenomenal. I remember every time I heard the intro play I would be wondering if it was the original, The Sauce’s remix, or Voltage’s remix. Every time I longed for the bass of The Sauce’s chorus to provide the beautiful slap around the face it does. The kind of slap that gives you an instantly gratifying bass face. I love how they’ve managed to completely transform the feel of the tune and turn it into a proper groove. It always makes for a wicked double in a set and the overall mixdown is such high quality. But it is The Sauce at the end of the day, so what did I expect? (Jake Hirst)
Culture Shock – There For You (LSB Remix) (Ram Records)
Culture Shock‘s There For You was already a great track – addictively upbeat and uplifting while still maintaining the weight and magnitude of a real club banger. Then LSB came along and took this dancefloor/liquid hybrid and created a celestial remix that makes you feel invincible on a warm summer’s night and keeps you warm on a cold winters day when you need the brightness of music to light you up. LSB has a pure talent for creating drum and bass that evokes emotion in his listeners and this captures everything that I love about D&B, in that it not only makes me feel something, but also inspires my imagination. I think of happy memories, sad ones too, and ideas for what I want to create myself. (Hannah Gowen)
Disclosure – Energy (Clipz remix) (Universal)
Clipz has been royally smashing it since his return to drum and bass. He really can do no wrong. It’s fair to say we weren’t exactly sure what his return was going to look like. Not even Clipz did himself. He said in an interview with UKF last year that he was “loaded up and as long as it’s received well then you’ll hear it. If it’s not I won’t bother because what’s the point?”
Thankfully it has been something special. There’s something very old school about his sound, but still so fresh. You can hear the way his music harps back to the jungle of the 90s, but drives the sound into brand new lanes. His remix of Disclosure’s Energy is a perfect example. The original tune feels very tribal and modern, but all of a sudden Clipz gets on remix duties and transforms it into a killer dancefloor tune that screams classic 90s jungle rave. The chorus is such a ridiculous drop and I cannot wait to eventually hear someone drop it on a massive rig! (Jake Hirst)
Harland – Moon (Mark System Remix) (Absys Records)
A Mark System track is always a welcome experience for the ears and his remix of Harland’s Moon makes it okay that it is the only track we’ve heard from him this year. Irresistible to anyone with a musical ear with its uplifting vocals, warm, arpeggiated strings and his re-worked piano chords all make this the perfect example of a remix. The musicality is taken a step further in his ambient version of the remix, where the power and intensity really shines through. If we see just one more track of this quality from Mark System in 2021, fans will be content and the world will be a better place. (Purav Parmar)
Kings of the Rollers – You Got Me (S.P.Y. Remix) (Hospital Records)
Atmospheric, dark, moody, and just a little bit retro, S.P.Y. has done what S.P.Y. does best and left a deft imprint on this heavy Drum&BassArena Award-winning KOTR track. With enough bass to melt the worries of the year away, this remix certainly earned its place on the Hospital Records album Sick Music 2020. (Martha Bolton)
Last Japan – Exhale ft Killa P (Sully Remix) (Circadian Rhythms)
Originally released back in 2017, Exhale was a standout single made in collaboration with grime legend Killa P. Just as the original lockdown got announced back in March, this blistering remix by Sully hit the shelves. At least there was something good from those early days, right? If you don’t know Sully, get to know: As well as being a new-school jungle pioneer with a back catalogue that holds him in the highest of regards universally across the scene, he’s been a leading force in the garage revival, exploring the beats with a unique touch. His remix is characterised by the nostalgic, bouncy two-step skip, while a dark and murky soundscape bubbles below the surface, providing the perfect canvas for Killa P to spray down with his signature flow. (Paddy Edrich)
Lenzman – In My Mind (Break Remix) (The North Quarter)
A truly iconic remix has to live up to the standard of the original, while also providing a unique and creative spin. With Break, you know what you’re going to get – absolute quality. Lenzman’s In My Mind received the proper Break treatment with this gritty and organic revamp, which sees a jazzy liquid number become a wonderfully Break-like wobbler. I had to pick this one for how Break managed to take a song I already loved and completely reinvent it, keeping the original charm and pumping it full of infectious bass. He really is a genius when it comes to remixes. (Hannah Gowen)
Mystic State – Evermore (War Remix)
One of the most stunning arrangements I’ve heard all year, War’s remix of Mystic State’s Evermore is a real masterclass in powerful atmospherics coupled with slick drum work – his trademark calling card.
Landing on forward-thinking imprint YUKU, he took Mystic State’s ambient soother and added his signature twist, giving it a hypnotic and melancholic edge. The Montpellier-based badman has a real knack of mesmerising you with the intricate complexities of his drum arrangements and rich sonic tapestries – his name synonymous with quality, forward-thinking productions. While he can absolutely tear out with darker, experimental soundscapes, what captivated me about this release was the gentle nature of it, and how he was able to build on the brooding subtleties of the original with such powerful resonance in his rework, all the while retaining that heart-wrenching energy.
Delicate, powerful, dreamy and brooding all in one – I’ve spent quite some time lost in this one, and in a year as challenging as 2020, it’s been a beautiful playground to be lost in… (Maja Cicic)
Ram Trilogy – Iron Lung (SyRan Remix) (Ram Records)
The Ram Trilogy Revolutions remix album dropped just weeks before these words were published but SyRan’s remix of Iron Lung is of such obscene, stinky, unpredictable and wild proportions, it deserves – no, demands – a shout out. Three or four crazed ideas all RAMmed (ho ho ho) into one rasping, unreasonable unkempt banger, it’s the type of tune producers are warned not to make and told to simplify. But here, to these ears at least, the chaos just works. The bass revs up like a motorcyclist with road rage behind you, the old school stabs come out of nowhere and the second drop requires a vaccine just to play it. Iron Lung was already pretty grizzly but this? Jeez. And don’t stop there, the whole album is crammed with beastmen from Traumatize to Insideinfo to the donnies themselves; Ant Miles, Shimon and Andy C. Santa ain’t got a patch on Ram this Christmas. (Dave Jenkins)
Satl – All My Life (Tokyo Prose Remix) (The North Quarter)
This remix is brand spanking new and taken from The North Quarter’s NQ State of MInd Vol.1 compilation, which features original tracks from artists within Lenzman’s orbit. Tokyo Prose and Satl are two such artists and with this remix, the former has put a gorgeously delicate spin on the latter’s All My Life, which featured Steo on one of 2019’s best vocal numbers. As per usual, Tokyo Prose has kept things elegantly simple and Steo floats delightfully above a frollicking piano riff and rock-solid percussive work. It’s a picture perfect blend of their two production styles and one which is sure to please all you liquid heads out there. (Ben Hunter)
Shy FX – Raggamuffin (Potential Badboy Remix) (Cult.ure)
Jungle royalty remixing jungle royalty? Yes please. You had me at Shy FX and Potential Badboy.
Less potential badboy, more certified badman, his take on Shy’s halftime gem Raggamuffin ft. Mr Williamz was begging for a D&B refix, and ho my gosh, did he deliver.
Cruelly landing in the peak of lockdown British summer time when we were all out wandering parks and empty fields with no particular place to go, there was something legit upsetting about this tune not receiving the full, festival treatment that it truly deserved.
That infectious, bass-rattling swing is just the warm rumble that belongs in your chest, and I simply can’t wait to hear this one out in all its glory when we find ourselves on a dancefloor again. There’s a reason the Raggamuffin Reloaded album picked up the Best Album accolade at this year’s Drum&BassArena Awards – pure class, from start to finish. (Maja Cicic)
Technimatic – Mirror Image (Phaction Remix) (Spearhead)
This one dropped on Phaction’s Chemistry EP back in summer on Spearhead and I’ve had it on repeat since. The EP itself is a must; a stunning body of work featuring collabs with some of the most revered vocalists in the genre like Charli Brix and Riya. This tune though, as a lover of liquid d&b in particular, this dreamy remix is a track which ticks all the boxes. Trickles of piano interplay with the gorgeous enigmatic vocal sample (also recognisable from another classic liquid remix Never Let You Go by Seba & Blu Mar Ten) Driven by raucous amens and punchy subs; with a divine harp glissando that touches your soul, this is one of those tracks which cleverly embodies the equilibrium between yearning and hope. (Liohness)
The Caracal Project – Expresso (Tom Finster Remix) (DIVIDID)
Tom Finster is still a relatively unknown quantity, but this rework of The Caracal Project’s Expresso suggests this might be set to change. It came out on DIVIDID, a label founded by Abis and IMANU and one which has risen to the forefront of neurofunk’s new wave, an emergent force that rejects the subgenre’s previously perpetual darkness in favour of brightly coloured synths and bubbling vocal chops. Whether it remains neurofunk is irrelevant, as the quality and energy Tom has jammed into this remix is just unreal, and the switch-up 32 bars into the drop will have you jumping for joy. A cutting-edge remix that offers a glimpse into the future of drum & bass. (Ben Hunter)
TOKiMONSTA – Come & Go (Halogenix Remix) (TOKiMONSTA)
As if his massive Dragonforce EP, his Lordel productions and collaborations with likes of Alix Perez and IMANU haven’t been quite enough high grade Halogenix material this year, along comes this sublime remix of Brainfeeder alumni TOKiMONSTA. A modern day soulful classic; the purring vox and swooning musicality of the original are kept fully intact as Halogenix brings Come & Go up to D&B tempo without losing any of its sensuality or vibe. Smooth, sexy but still barbed with a dark bite; there’s a class, soul and sense of feel-good sass to this that’s up there with the best of M.I.S.T or Future Cut. Comparisons don’t come any higher. (Dave Jenkins)
Total Science – Lightweight (Break Remix) (CIA)
Remix of the year? Yep. It’s been played through countless mixes and livestreams this year, I can’t wait to hear this dropped when raving resumes. Amusingly named Lightweight, don’t be fooled by its title; this one is only for the hardcore. What happens when you take an existing drum & bass anthem and get Break on the remix? One absolute weapon! It’s littered with Total Science samples, and stays pretty faithful to the original, though albeit with added madness. With rising tension from the offset, you can’t help feel excited knowing what the track is leading up to (come on, it’s Total Science & Break); a drop weightier than a black hole. Stabs, growls, hoovers, it’s all there in a frantic hypnotic swirl that makes this addictive roller seriously stand out for any bass head, released on CIA, this one is a serious security threat to your ears. (Liohness)
Workforce – Your Loss (Halogenix Remix) (Must Make)
Peak 2020 times? Spectrasoul breaking up. Creme de la 2020 creme? Workforce.
Capping off an extraordinarily successful year of Dragonforce, merch runs, collaborations (shoutout to Alix Perez for Perfect Stranger) and vinyl releases, Halogenix dropped this monster of a remix on us – seemingly out of nowhere. It makes sense that Halogenix has been working with Spectrasoul since long before member Jack Stevens embarked on Workforce, his solo project, as this track lays bare a proximity between the pair. A certain amount of intimacy is needed for a remix as succinct as this.
Halogenix’s remix stays true to the original vocals and bouncy bassline, but diverts slightly from minimalism, blending in a sustained breakbeat drum sample, heaps of filter and the odd few piano notes in an 8-bit Mario Bros. style. The overall effect is legendary. (Martha Bolton)
Bonus Bootleg: Koffee – Toast (Clipz Bootleg)
Okay, it might technically be titled a ‘bootleg’, but this ain’t no average backyard bootleg. Clipz flipping Koffee’s runaway hit Toast last year was always destined for glory.
Last year saw the highly-anticipated return of the jungle don, following a 10-year gap between productions while he absolutely bossed his Redlight alias. He burst back into the scene with a vengeance last year and has treated us to some downright gully productions like Down 4, Again and most-recently his remix for the above-listed Disclosure.
This version was part of that comeback. Made especially for Carnival last year (and bubbling on dubplate thereafter) there was something about it that made it feel like a real anthem and moment in time. It takes something really special to make a credible bootleg, and there are certain artists who carry enough clout for it to be an exciting moment when they find inspiration and unleash one. This is a perfect example. When it finally landed as a free download just before we all retreated to our homes in isolation, it gave us that final taste of freedom and hope – a final taste of rave days gone by. Welcome back Clipz you absolute legend (Maja Cicic)