Remixes, reboots, rerubs, revamps, relicks… Read all about it.
For those who love a good version excursion, we asked our editorial team to highlight one or two of the many beautiful remixes that have been created this year. As always, this isn’t a chart or a rank or a best of in any way – just persy favourites from a team of writers who care about music and want to share it with as many ears as possible.
With vibes ranging from deep dubstep delight to full-on neuro naughtiness, there’s something here for everyone… And plenty of rabbit holes to get lost down over the Christmas break. Enjoy.
Buunshin, take a bow… His re-work of Apashe and Geoffroy’s already powerful Distance landed as part of the accomplished Renaissance (Remixes) LP in February via Kannibalen Records to wide-spread acclaim, and for good reason, too.
Truly an impressive body of work, the full LP featured a spectacular roster of remixers with the likes of KOAN Sound, Matroda, Macky Gee and loads more adding their spin to Apashe’s cinematic originals, including IMANU’s simply stunning future house rework of I’m Fine.
From the offset it was clear this was a project that really allowed each artist to think outside the box, challenge themselves and push the boundaries of what might be expected of them musically.
Renowned for fusing electronic soundscapes with elements of orchestral and classical compositions – Apashe laid an already stunning foundation which allowed Buunshin to truly flourish and take Distance to the next level – and by next level I’m of course envisaging a level where Buunshin is the final badass boss.
Featuring that warm, smooth as butter vocal from Geoffroy, the track is so well produced, yet retains all of it’s soul and powerful atmospherics. It’s astounding how many layers a track that’s just 3:46 long can showcase – not to mention the fact it breaks usual conventions by featuring just the one drop – a true testament to Buunshin’s incredible technical talent.
“You don’t even know what you like and you don’t like,” sings Geoffroy. Gonna have to disagree with you there, mate. This one absolutely bangs. (Maja Cicic)
IMANU’s take on Apashe’s I’m Fine stands out in the crowd of 2021 remixes. This remix has received widespread appreciation across the world of bass, and for good reason. After coining his high-quality style in drum and bass, IMANU has transferred his technical abilities to the world of house and created a tantalising musical experience with this remix.
It is both intense and calming, building suspense and anticipation at times with his signature sound design, then bringing us back down to earth to be hypnotised by the smooth bassline and melody. A true soundtrack of 2021 and a perfect example of a remix revolutionising an original. (Hannah Gowen)
What a link up! Bristol’s finest takes on a remix of this already fiery Belgium-meets-Manchester production. Both Bredren and DLR are masters in their own right at keeping it simple and bass-heavy – perfect grounds for MCs to put down their best bars. So taking Bredren and T-Man’s 2019 banger and applying his fat, limit-pushing production, the Sofa King has given it a new life in 2021 and beyond. The driving, distorted low-end and brutal bass stab is executed perfectly – I was dying to hear it on a system, and it certainly did not disappoint. (Sam Yates)
Danny L Harle & DJ Danny – On A Mountain (Flume Remix) (Mad Decent)
Arguably the best vocal hook of this year got a huge rework by none other than Flume…
In case you’re not aware of the original, Danny L Harle’s hardcore rave homage is rife in equal measures of breakbeats and dreamy textures. But in Flume’s hands, it’s a whole other story as offbeat rhythm and effects increasingly glitch, morph, stretch and brilliantly dramatise the huge hook by vocalist Eyelar, magnifying her performance to perfect levels. The result is intense without breaking the bank; it’s intense but nothing competes for your attention, leaving plenty of room for the mix to breathe.
An essential mood booster of recent months, Flume’s take on On A Mountain is euphoric and uplifting, even after countless plays. And while his other gem from 2021 – The Difference – might have earned him a fourth Grammy nomination, still this remix is another future bass classic. (Michael Janiec)
Dopplershift – Keeper (Myth Remix)
Although coming out at the end of December 2020 this is a remix that must be chosen! This is one for the fans of hard funk based beats and stomping analogue basslines! Myth (one half of Bristol’s Ill Truth) comes with a massive remix taking the tune from South Africa’s Dopplershift and injecting it with the funky Bristol flavour we have come to expect from its vibrant drum and bass scene. This tune morphs the top melody line of the original into a timpani like bass stab with some of the funkiest rolling drums with crackle over the top and are sure to get you off your seat and onto the dancefloor. (Jake Williams)
Future Cut – 20/21 (DLR Remix) (Future Cut Recordings)
As one of those tunes that did the rounds as a dub, DLR’s modern refresh of Future Cut’s naughties classic is an absolute weapon. He upgrades the drums with his trademark percussive precision whilst retaining the unmistakable haunting and eerie atmosphere of the original. However, more than just an incredible interpretation, DLR’s version came at a pivotal time in the UK. After the anticipation built up pre-pandemic, when select DJs teased us with it before clubs closed their doors, the release equipped headliners and warm-up acts alike with one of the deadliest tunes around. Not only were people bursting to get back onto dance floors, but they were able to hear that remix on a rig. Take this as a demonstration of how to execute the release of a prized track. (Purav Parmar)
Levela’s turned in some outstanding remixes of the highest levels in the last 12 months, including Ram Trilogy, Waeys, DC Breaks and, most recently, Noisia. But if there’s one reboot that really rattled dancefloors and cages it’s his recent take on Gydra’s Hangjaw.
Taking the Russian badmen’s barnstorming original (which was as huge as any neuro tune could get during lockdown) he flipped it into this exciting and unique fusion of beats and techniques that sits somewhere between footwork, tech and neuro in a totally unique way. Maintaining the atmosphere and tension of the original, Levela’s drums bring in a whole other energy as they repeat the same phrase as the other instruments in the riff. The result is an entirely unique and high energy blend of cuts, bumps, slams and stomps, which is truly one of a kind and exactly what you’d want from all parties involved in this remix.
But not everyone agrees with this. Check the comments and see how Levela has single handedly killed neuro and seemingly insulted the families of many Gydra fans. Bookmark and use liberally instead of salt on your Christmas dinner! (Dave Columbo Jenkins)
As a subscriber to VISION’s Patreon, Joshua Meur was entitled to download the stems to IMANU’s Monochou last December. Fast forward one zip file and two months and the Dutch producer was more than deservedly announced as the winner of the remix contest!
A quite superb drum and bass powered flip on the original, it’s clear to any ear as to why Trinist was declared the winner. Managing to capture a true sense of euphoria in the build-up, the track continuously evolves through three separate drops, with each offering a variety of mood, arrangement, and synth work that keep you hooked as a listener from the first second to the last.
Ever-evolving, immersive, and uniquely futuristic in its sound and approach, Trinist managed to take the track into a brand new direction whilst still incorporating the techy and genre-bending essence that made the original what it was. (Charlie Cummings)
Another year goes by, and it’s yet another fruitful year for much-loved French producer, DJ, artist and all-round sparkling soul purveyor Redeyes. Whether on his immensely promising new label Five Alley (established alongside ‘fellow Toulouse kindred spirits Eva Marquis and Tom Fotom’), or his integral artistic role at The North Quarter, a Redeyes production is always, always a special occasion.
Of all his productions this year – and there’s been many stellar ones – this remix of the simply wonderful Kemi Ade’s silky smooth R&B lick Promise, originally produced by London duo Blue Lab Beats, is arguably my pick of the bunch. Released via Tenwest, it’s a perfect match between Ade’s sugar-sweet, velvety vocals and Redeyes’ typically immense production, meeting in the middle in a deft collaboration of angelic harmonies – hypnotic. (Cal Sorensen)
When acclaimed Italian dubstep don & Numa Crew member Ago dropped his guest mix for Bristol brand ESO back in June 2020, this was the tune on everyone’s lips (14:25). Combining the flowing, heavyweight vocal stylings of scene stalwarts Killa’s Army (Killa P, Irah & Long Range) with Ago’s much sought-after ‘I Got’ (originally released on the ‘Good Luck! / I. Got’ 2-track vinyl release on US label Innamind), we’re treated to a hybrid remix of truly epic proportions, completely flipping XL Mad’s – also of Numa Crew – cracking original.
Whether it’s the pinpoint, unique production itself, repurposed and slightly altered by Ago for this remix, or the sheer unadulterated greez from the leading Killa’s Army outfit, the combination makes for one of the most impactful tunes this year. Each vocalist, as per, brings something entirely different to proceedings, whilst Ago draws for those instantly recognisable guitar plucks, super snappy percs and booming 808s; an eclectic collection if I’ve ever seen one. Seriously, that guitar is something special – cue chaos in the dance. (Cal Sorensen)
Kings of the Rollers featuring Chimpo – Shella (Halogenix Remix) (Hospital Records)
“This one’s a shella…” As soon as you hear the beat coming in, its bass faces at the ready, with this absolute stinker of a remix from the mighty Halogenix who can always be relied on to smash remixing duties. The original was released back in 2019 but this remix has brought the tune back into the limelight again. The bassline is ridiculous and fits perfectly with the (amazing) lyrics from Chimpo. Sounds unreal played on a proper soundsystem and, even though it’s getting rinse across the board (and rightly so), I’m still not bored of it. I’ve got a lot of good memories associated with this tune – whenever I hear it, it will take me back to 2021 – easily my favourite remix of the year! (Louise Lake)
Lady Blackbird – Collage (Calibre Remix) (Signature Recordings)
INSTANT GOOSEBUMPS: melting hearts from the moment those trembling pianos strike into the mix, this remix of rising LA jazz singer Lady Blackbird has to be noted as one of the standout cuts this year. Lady Blackbird’s vocals are pure manuka honey, Calibre’s treatment is wonderfully spacious and understated, every element sits in the right place. Emotional, not over-thought and faithful to the original; remixes don’t get much better than this. Even the original track is well worth a check and will take you down a whole other rabbit hole… Collage was originally written and performed by James Gang in 1969 and still sounds far-out and majestic 52 years later. Thank us later. (Dave Columbo Jenkins)
Pheonix Laoutaris – Flowers (Lenzman remix) (WEAREBLK)
Every now and then you come across a track that gives you pure goosebumps every time you play it. The kind of tune you can’t bear to skip a second of. This is that track for me, and I’m sure many other liquid D&B fans will have experienced a similar feeling. It’s such a unique vocal from Pheonix Laoutaris (and probably quite a challenging one to work with), so Lenzman has done wonders transforming it into the dreamy D&B number it is. But who are we kidding? We’re talking about Lenzman here! He always brings the goods. (Jake Hirst)
Selecta J-Man – Sekkle Yourself (L-Side remix) (Born On Road)
For many people, the original Sekkle Yourself release went a little under the radar, which is criminal. Released as part of Selecta J-Man’s Dubpack Vol. 1, only a limited number of heads managed to get their hands on the tune’s hearty wobs. But now the L-Side remix has opened up a whole new world of listening opportunity for the masses. I think we can all agree it’s an absolute stinker capable of shutting down any dancefloor. I’ve only seen it dropped a handful of times in the rave, but every time it gets the big reaction that ridiculous bassline deserves. Love to the Born On Road gang and L-Side for this monster! (Jake Hirst)
Special Request – Pull Up (Tim Reaper Remix) (Hooversound)
I can’t help but smirk when I hear people say “jungle is making a comeback!”… Jungle never went anywhere, people. It’s been bubbling away, thriving and evolving in the good hands of worthy alchemists. Alchemists like Tim Reaper and Special Request.
Take Reaper’s suave re-work of Special Request’s Pull Up as Exhibit A: Landing in February on Sherelle and Nania’s forward-thinking Hooversonic imprint alongside three other remixes from Special Request’s Zero Fucks LP, it’s a perfect example of pure, authentic jungle – his signature calling card.
Remixing the brilliant Paul Woolford is certainly no easy feat, especially when the Mary J Blige vocal sample is a direct reference to Krust’s The Only One (under his Glamour Gold alias) but Tim Reaper understood the assignment and took Pull Up into deeper, cosmic territory.
Special Request’s original packed a sharp, in-your-face punch, whereas the genius in Tim Reaper’s remix, for me, lies in the cool, calm and collected way he builds on that punch through genius progression. The intro instantly sets an atmospheric, futuristic tone, all the while drenched in an unmistakable nostalgia. That nostalgia continues right through into that delicious, low-end rumble in the drop, followed by those infectious amens. Throw in the beautifully arranged piano in the breakdown and this is truly a spectacular piece of art.
The way Tim Reaper is able to pay homage to the foundations of jungle, all the while propelling it into the future is truly an artform in itself – one he’s mastered with pure style and grace.
Old-skool, yet futuristic: Just how jungle always was… It’s safe to say this music is alive and well for those who know where to find it. (Maja Cicic)
Sub Focus – Last Jungle (Mefjus & Camo & Krooked Remix) (RAM Records)
A great remix can elevate the original track to a whole new level. Sub Focus’ Last Jungle has received an almighty makeover from titans of the scene, Camo & Krooked and Mefjus, as they freshen up the jungle hit with a sprinkle of energy, a dabble of drama and a hefty dose of tech. The entire Reworks I project is littered with incredible takes on classic Sub Focus anthems, but this one is the cherry on the cake. Powerful, gritty and soulful all in one, this remix has everything you could hope for from some of the scenes best technical producers.
The spirit of the original is not lost, rather brought to life again in a completely different way. Hearing the mix in full glory on a club rig is almost a spiritual experience, with the earth-shattering bass and punchy drums cutting through the dancefloor like a knife through butter. (Hannah Gowen)