Ella Fitzgerald Gets The Maya Jane Coles Treatment

Maya Jane Coles‘Blue Skies’ was a song originally written in 1926 by Irving Berlin for the musical Betsy, it thereafter went on to be one of the most popular records of the 20th century with iterations being released by Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Willie Nelson, Eva Cassidy and Rod Stewart to name but a few. So when London producer Maya Jane Coles decided to remix the track she was not short of options for vocalists.

She opted to use the 1958 version recorded by Ella Fitzgerald, an edition which consists predominately of ad-libs from the Queen of Jazz. Coles uses said improvisations consistently throughout the record to create compelling rhythm sections, the first cases of which you will notice as soon as you press play. The track begins with a series of layered ad-libs backed by a rather subdued sounding bass synth before the introduction of a simple hat and snare pattern missing every strand of low-end. 45 seconds in and the bass is no longer subdued but out in full force, a kick and open hat have found their way in to the minimalist drum beat and the unmistakable voice of Fitzgerald is echoing around your room.

One aspect of Coles’ production that makes her a standout from the current crop of house producers is that she never settles where others might, 60 seconds in to this remix you could be forgiven for thinking that that was as complex as the remix was going to get: big house beat, throbbing bassline, impressive manipulation of vocals are all present so what else is there? Well soon enough an understated piano riff emerges, adding one more layer of bounce and swing to the already head-bob inducing record, and this is before the incredible saxophone melody interjects!

This remix amongst many others is out now on the Verve Remixed: The First Ladies compilation from the legendary Verve Music Group.

Everyone Wants To Remix Ciara

CiaraAn influx of female R’n’b vocals have often appeared to be a producer’s Christmas come early, just ask Cassie and Aaliyah, and the catalogue available on Ciara’s new eponymous album is no different, leading to an inevitable flood of remixes hitting Soundcloud.Earlier today Jacques Greene dropped remixes of two songs by the R’n’B songstress, the sultry ‘Body Party’ and autobiographical ‘Sorry’, this got me thinking back to all the other remixes that have dropped this year.

Greene takes the tracks and works in a heavy set of wind-instrument synths bouncing from minor chord to minor chord. Greene has always been able to produce very emotive music, and these two are no different, ‘Body Party’ is stripped of all sexiness and instead the lust and longing is ramped up, epitomised by the hypnotic chants of “I’m on you”. In similar fashion ‘Sorry’ lets the vocals encapsulate the mood but adds significantly more layering than the comparatively stripped back ‘Body Party’. Here synths, pianos and stabs all come in and out of focus over the first minute or so before allowing the verse to punctuate through.

Earlier this month Brighton-based producer Knightley (formerly Bailey) dropped his version of ‘Sorry’. The song skips along on beat of electronic hats, 808 snares and various congas with a piano chordal backing, not to mention a distant saxophone accompaniment. Warning: this song is addictive!

Third up is an entry from the ever-impressive Soulection crew, this one comes from Japanese producer RLP. Here the often unrecognisable Ciara’s vocals are distorted over a trap beat and bouncing organ synths to create one of the more sultry remixes in the collection.

Finally comes the oldest remix of the set from Vancouver-duo Kutcorners & Marvel of The Freshest. This remix incorporates trap-style drums with a thudding video game-inspired bassline and distorted backing chords and hears Ciara plead “don’t stop” over and over. Add to that the repetition of “Cause tonight it’s going down, tell your boys it’s going down” and the track changes from commentary on a night of passion to that of a night of unadulterated carnal desires.

“Walk Around Like You’re Bigger Than Prince”

Hot Since 82If you’ve been following this blog for a while the name Hot Since 82 should not be new to you, he did co-produce BITR8’s No. 10 EP of 2012 after all.

Daley Padley has over the last few years built up a reputation for creating bass-orientated, club-ready house music having released records on Noir Music and Moda Black and accumulating quite a collection of remixes, including last month’s edit of Rudimental’s ‘Right Here’.

He’s now back with another remix, this time of Chicago electronica pioneer Green Velvet and “Bigger Than Prince”. To start with the track maintain’s the original’s minimalism but, as you’d expect of a remix from the Leeds-based producer, the record is packed full of bounce and bass not to mention a constant sense of indecision as to the correct pitch of the vocals. The track incorporates everything that has made Hot Since 82 a BeatPort-conquering success: a big, fat house beat incorporating a wide variety of percussion and a masterful ability to control distortion on his throbbing bass synths.

No matter what Padley does or where he goes on a record he has an incredible ability to make your head bob, whether you want it to or not.

Dusky Just Cannot Help But Make Bangers

DuskyWill Saul, the head honcho at both Simple Records and Aus Music has decided to adopt himself a new alias. Saul is set to release his debut LP, Getting Closer, under the alter-ego Close. Almost a month ago Saul shared with us the second single from the album, ‘My Way’, which features vocals from Fat Freddy’s Drop’s Joe Dukie, and since that date a steady stream of remixes have been fed up.

This remix is by London-based duo Dusky. In a time when the genre of revivalist garage-tinted house music is heavily over-saturated it can become difficult to avoid categorisation with many other upstart producers trying their luck, however Dusky are an act who have successfully sidestepped such a potential pitfall with much-needed sonic creativity. Whilst incorporating many generic elements such as overtly brash hats and claps the pair just have a knack for song structure, layering and, in particular, applying bass synths in an ridiculously catchy fashion.

The ‘My Way’ remix includes all of the above elements but also sees Dusky manipulate the vocal sample like never before. Usually accustomed to merely EQs and pitch shifts the duo begin and end the track with a series of frantically chopped elements that only add to the pulsating, move-your-feet feel of the record.

The Getting Closer album comes out June 10th on !K7 Records.

Baauer Isn’t Hiding Away

Baauer 2In most cases, artists who receive incredible amounts of internet frenzy will find it hard to lose the initial premonitions that people have for them, however the creator of cyberspace phenomenon ‘Harlem Shake’ is not letting anyone get the wrong impression of him. New York trap maestro Baauer has joined the ever increasing amount of producers helping to fuel the incredible hype surrounding the release of Disclosure‘s debut LP Settle by remixing single ‘You & Me’.

If you thought that Baauer – real name Harry Rodrigues – was just going to stick to what he’s known for and introduce nothing but obnoxious percussion and whining moombahton-esque synth melodies then think again. This song is all about bass. Increasing the tempo by about 10BPM he adopts a generic deep-house synth but uses it in a urgent, staccato fashion and for the opening minute the percussion is nothing more than an ever-present 4-4 clap. Once the track drops the whole record lurches consistently as the frenetic kick-hat pattern and the more heavily voiced synth chords are active for only 2 beats of every bar.

The original vocals of London’s own Eliza Doolittle are pitch-shifted to multiple different octaves throughout the record and are heavily reverbed. She moves from being the sort of classic Disclosure accompaniment, see The Face EP, to become a driving force and catalyst of the sheer weight of the record, even getting her own melody via manipulation at the 3 minute mark.

As a guy who genuinely enjoyed ‘Harlem Shake’ before it became the unintended pariah of trap i’m pleased to see that Baauer hasn’t hidden away as a result of the hysteria, and with this remix he’s come out in full-force.

Synkro Does What Synkro Does Best

Synkro 2Lowb is Andy Barlow, one half of British duo Lamb, and he is currently prepping his first solo effort in the shape of album Leap and the Net Will Appear which is out June 3rd on Distiller Records. Before that however Barlow is releasing an EP based on the album’s first single ‘Inward Outburst’ and has invited low-end supremo Synkro to do a remix.

In complete Synkro fashion we are exposed to absolutely miles deep low-end which shakes you to the core throughout the whole record. The track begins with some sweeping oceanside chords before trading places with a series of plucked guitar arpeggios. The vocals have been transformed from the original, from straight-up vocal arrangement to massively reverbed and delayed vocal yearning, the dynamics of which fluctuate with such regularity as to feel entrapped, longing for escape. The track is laden with windswept synth patterns as Synkro takes you through his entire arsenal of synth settings across 4 octaves, such layering only further enhances the sense of mystery and intrigue as no individual part really comes to the fore, asserting itself as the sole melody.

The most impressive element of the record though is the fierce percussion that is in a state of constant escalation throughout the tracks duration. He has always used unapologetically electronic and metallic percussion instruments but there is a new sense of aggression present in this record. During the remix the kick pattern never fluctuates from a straight 4:4 rhythm whilst the hats and rim shots float around it. When the track breaks down at 2:40 the track appears to tail off as if to end before the vocals are once again employed in an almost ‘come hither’ way. The usual escalation continues but takes an even more aggressive turn with the introduction of the type of kick synonymous with a certain Massive Attack track, and accompanied with the rapid hats it makes for one of the most compelling beats you’ll hear.