dance music

REVIEW: Marillion (as “Remixomatosis”) – You’re Gone (2005 promo EP)

Welcome back to the Week of EPs! Each day this week, I’ll be checking out a variety of EP releases, both famed and obscure.

MONDAY: Aerosmith – The Other Side (1990)
TUESDAY: Wolfsbane – All Hell’s Breaking Loose Down at Little Kathy Wilson’s Place! (1990)
WEDNESDAY: AC/DC – ’74 Jailbreak (1984)

REMIXOMATOSIS – You’re Gone (Promotional 2005 Intact records)

REMIXOMATOSISEager to cross over to new fans, in 2004 Marillion released an album called Remixomatosis.  It was a 2 CD set of fan remixes of tracks from 2001’s Anoraknophobia.  Hogarth-era Marillion have not been remix-shy, having done something like this on 1998’s Tales From the Engine Room EP.  Aware that chances of being played in the clubs were slim, the following year Marillion released a promo EP of three more remixes under the band name Remixomatosis.  The name Marillion appears nowhere on the sleeve.

99% of the time, I really dislike remixes, especially when songs are danced up.  I bought this for the collection, but let’s give it a spin.  “You’re Gone”, originally from Marbles, sounded very little like the “Debonair Dub Mix” on this EP.  All I can hear from the original track is Hogarth’s vocals.  Maybe some keyboards, but who knows because the dominant part of the song is an annoyingly repetitive synth & beat.  This goes on for an agonizing 7:55.  This is not a song I would listen to for enjoyment.

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The “Plasma Dub Mix” of “Between You and Me” is almost twice as long as the “Marillion Vs. Plasma” version on the Remixomastosis CD.  This track adds a new bass line consisting of four notes that repeat over and over and over and over and over.  Then a little bit of Hogarth’s vocal is dubbed over synthesizer lines.  There have been better remixes of this song, notably the Mark Kelly remix from the “Between You and Me” CD single.  After a couple minutes, the remixer Robert de Fresnes throws in some acoustic guitar from the original song, which really only makes me want to hear the original song.  If you like repetitive music made by computers, go for it.

The closing track is the best (and shortest) one, the “Into the Fire Mix” of the superb “Don’t Hurt Yourself” from Marbles.  As arguably the best song on Marbles, it is a difficult track to ruin.  The remixer Cameron Lasswell wisely leaves Steve Hogarth’s vocal intact.  The vocal hooks on this song have always been fetching.  They are now cloaked in spacey synths, which I prefer to dumb repetitive synths.  It sounds like a song by Lights, perhaps, or one of her soundalikes.

I can’t rate this EP very high.  This is a collectible, pure and simple.

2/5 stars

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REVIEW: David Lee Roth – “Stand Up” promo 12″ remix single

It’s THE WEEK OF SINGLES!  Each day this week I’ll be bringing you reviews and images of a recent CD or vinyl single acquisition.  Craig Fee picked this up for me at Jerry’s Records in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Monday:  Van Halen – “Best of Both Worlds” 7″ single
Tuesday:  Deep Purple – “Above and Beyond” CD and 7″ singles
Wednesday:  Aerosmith “Dude (Looks Like A Lady)” 12″ single

IMG_00001369_editDAVID LEE ROTH – “Stand Up” (1988 Warner promo 12″ remix single)

I had no idea this even existed!  Craig found this one knowing it was something that I would find very interesting.  Indeed!  Promo discs sometimes do have exclusive bonus material on them, although most do not.  I generally only value a promo disc if it has some kind of rare versions on it.  This David Lee Roth 12″ has two exclusive remixes that I’ve never heard, nor heard of, before.  Both exceed 7 minutes.  These mixes were probably done in an attempt to get the song “Stand Up” played in dance clubs, a fairly common practice.  Aerosmith, for example have many such remixes, released on commercial singles.

“Stand Up” is a good choice from the Skyscraper album for such an attempt.  It was already the most pop and dance-like of the 10 tracks. These remixes were done by François Kevorkian, a name that made me chuckle a bit at first.  Craig however immediately recognized the name, and told me that he’s actually a well known mixer.  His name can be found on the credits of Depeche Mode’s Violator and Kraftwerk’s Electric Café albums, among others.

I’ve always said that remixes aren’t my thing, but I actually like these two versions of “Stand Up”.  They are both similar in style, but have traits in common.  They both have a similar sparse style that brings forward isolated elements of the mix to the forefront.  There are some vocals here that you probably haven’t heard before, because they were never that prominent.  Same with Steve Vai’s lead and rhythm guitar, which is actually used generously in these remixes.  I’m not a big fan of dance-y rhythms, but it works on “Stand Up”.

The two remixes are the “Swank Remix (E.Z. To Swallow)” and “Extended Edit (The Long 1!)”.  These unbearably annoying names had me expecting the worst, but I find this single to be quite listenable.  I kind of like them actually.  Bonus: the so-called “extended edit” has plenty of cowbell.  Cheers to François Kevorkian!

3.5/5 stars

More DAVID LEE ROTH at mikeladano.com:

Sonrisa Salvaje (Eat ‘Em and Smile 1986 – Spanish version) – Skyscraper (1988) – Your Filthy Little Mouth (1994 Japanese version) – DLR Band (1998) – Diamond Dave (2003)

REVIEW: The Darkness – “Girlfriend” 10″ shaped disc

THE DARKNESS – “Girlfriend” (2005 Warner 10″ star-shaped picture disc)

I fuckin’ love this song.  It’s not in any way typical of the music I normally like.  Maybe it’s the expertly arranged backing orchestra.  Maybe it’s Justin Hawkins’ ever more ridiculous falsetto.  Maybe it’s the key-tar solo.  Maybe it’s the sheer joie de vivre of the thing.  Whatever it is, I heartily endorse the album version of this fun, frivolous tribute to the 1980’s.

There were (I think?) four remixes of this single done, and this 10″ contains two of them.  Usually I’m well on record for disliking remixes, and the “Space Cowboy Hard & Fast Remix” is a good example of why.  It’s repetitive, and congested with noise, burying the killer hooks of the song.  One of the only things I like about the remix is that it brings out Richie Edwards’ bass a lot more, helping to humanize its robotic nature.  There’s also a moment at about the 4 minute mark with the orchestra section isolated, and I like that.

The better remix is “The Freelance Hellraiser ‘Screaming Jay Hawkins’ Remix”, whatever the hell that means.  This one featurings a backwards vocal hook, and all the familiar elements rearranged, creating what essentially sounds like an original song.  This one delivers plenty of catchy bits here and there, familiar but presented in new surroundings.  This is what I would call a great remix.

What’s the score, then?  Well, mathematically, this one works out to:

3.333~/5 stars