Music: The Remake and the Remix, An Expansion of Taste, by Adam Nathan
There aren’t many things in life that you can’t see, touch, taste or smell but can evoke such a powerful emotional response as music can. Sure, seeing a live act may enhance, or ruin, an experience, but the frequencies that create music are a very powerful tool capable of taking us on a journey through joy, pain, anger, or excitement. Whether it’s a quiet companion that kills the silence in your day, or a driving beat that picks you up and moves you across a dance floor, music adds an emotional element and a soundtrack to your life. It is definitely a vehicle that transcends time and space and may be enjoyed indefinitely.
Something that comes hand in hand with us being a unique spark of creative energy is our individual interpretation of our existence. Few know more about this truth than the great musical creators of the world, as their existence thrives in releasing their creations into the ever-expanding historical jukebox for all to enjoy. As there will always be great music that is written, there will be those who are inspired and influenced by these works, and some will feel the calling to pay homage to them in the form of a remake.
One such instance is Seal’s 2008 release Soul, an album of remade classic soul tracks. The album showcased his renditions of Otis Redding’s ‘I’ve Been Loving You’, Al Green’s ‘I’m Still In Love With You’ and Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes’ ‘If You Don’t Know Me By Now.’ Being a huge fan of Motown, the original versions of these songs are among some of my favourites so I was interested to hear how he envisioned them.
I have always found Seal to have a very unique and powerful voice and, although Soul isn’t a bad album, it was the remix of his version of Al Green’s ‘Here I Am (Come and Take Me)’ that moved me the most.
Ah yes, the remix – what a glorious opportunity for a producer to give their own flavour to a piece of music, and British producer/DJ Jimpster (Jamie Odell) did just that. Although Soul was released many blue moons ago, I just recently caught wind of Jimpster’s mix… so it’s been on heavy rotation with me lately.
When a producer is given the task of remixing a song, he or she usually listens to the original piece and goes through the individual music parts to see what they can extract, expand upon, and emphasize to create their best interpretation. It is not uncommon for the remix to be completely different than the original as it might have been a strum of a guitar or the roll of a bassline that the producer felt was the part that would be the hero of the new piece. However, with Jimpster’s remix, it was the vocals that made the cut.
Opposed to music that is produced for masses where most songs follow a strict arrangement sequence, dance music provides the opportunity to really draw out a track allowing it breathe over a longer period of time. The elements of dance music are designed to have a strong foundation in rhythm and groove and, if done well, can create a progressive journey that makes people want to dance. And Jimpster does just that.
The mix starts with a bouncy synth line and rhythm setting clap that sets the tone for Seal’s lush and throaty vocals that soar overtop, quickly creating a slick, sexy, and edgy groove. Over the course of the 6 minute journey, Jimpster lays a funky and driving bed of evolving percussion, deep rolling basslines, and growing and weaving synth lines.
By stripping away all of the original parts, Seal’s voice is put on a musical pedestal allowing it to be bare, blossom and expand, making it worthy of his offering – ‘Here I Am (Come and Take Me).’
Adam Nathan is the Principal and Creative Director of Jellyfunk – a borderless creative boutique outfit of design and music. He was heavily entrenched in the global underground dance music scene as a DJ and a founding partner of Juno nominated Release Records until his departure from the company in 2004. He felt creatively and emotionally stifled and a break from the scene was what was needed as he had many questions about himself, the Universe, and life, in general. His path led him through a multitude of experiences, teachings, people and places, and all roads led to today. The appetite for knowledge and truth hasn’t left him and neither has music. His own forthcoming imprint Jellyfunk Records will be what he would like to see more of – quality and uplifting funky music that gets you moving.