Thursday, March 6, 2008

bits to pieces

Oh my Dear: remixes by the numbers/for the numbers

Matthew Dear is definitely one of minimal’s golden boys – good looking, affable, genuine, and of course, overflowing with god-given talent. His output over the last couple of years has been very impressive in both depth and breadth. ‘Mouth to Mouth’ and his other Audion smashers endeared him to the dancefloor, ‘Asa Breed’ gave him indie cred (whether that is a good thing or not is another matter) and his appropriately titled album, ‘2007’, on m-nus was a standout for the label and him alike. But I am now starting to wonder whether a bit of that shine is starting to wear off. Let me explain.

Undoubtedly one result of the huge success of ‘Mouth to Mouth’ is that Dear has recently been doing plenty of remixes under his Audion moniker. And most of them have been pretty good. He managed to save the Chemical Brothers from themselves, put a nice spin on Hot Chip, add some oomph to Jesse Rose and perhaps most notably, turn a Blackstrobe stinker into one of the best tracks of last year. But a few months into 2008 and I am starting to get a bit sceptical about the Audion touch. My suspicions were first raised by his by decision to remix Dubfire. I have never heard the original version, and I presume it sucks, but either way, the Audion remix is so flat, dull and ineffective. But plenty of djs still put it in their charts. Huh? Then I heard his by the numbers job on Matt John’s latest. Yeah, the remix is alright, but again it is not particularly convincing. And finally I heard the most recent remix, which prompted this post. The Audion remix of Sasha. ‘What? You mean the prog dj Sasha?’ I hear you ask in a surprised tone. Yep, that’s the one. And boy does the remix stink. It reeks. The typical Audion tricks do absolutely nothing to save this track. The remix is entitled ‘Audion ain’t got no friends mix’. How appropriate. Seems like Dear is aware of how nasty his mix is.

What struck me going through and listening to the Audion remixes from the last year or so, which I did as I wrote this post, is how structurally similar most of them are. All go for about eight minutes and definitely have an Audion formula – the big builds, the effects, the whooshes and so on. I think with most producers the pattern would have got tiring long ago, but it is testament to Dear’s talent that the Audion remixer 5000 template has taken him so far. In this regard, it reminds me a lot of a couple of years ago when the market was flooded with Robag remixes. They seemed to appear on almost a weekly basis. After a while I was convinced that Robag had a machine he’d put the track in to and five minutes later it would spit out a remix with all the Wighnomy bells and whistles. Robag’s weekly efforts got old very, very quickly and I must admit, I still struggle with the Wighnomy’s because of it (kind of like a bad experience with a kind of food or alcohol). Of course, we are a long way off that happening with Mr Dear, but lets just hope he eases off on the Audion remixes for a while…

One final thought on this topic is that thinking about it gave me new found respect for Carl Craig and Ricardo Villalobos. Both are two of the biggest remixers around - I am sure they must have a constant flow of people asking for their magic fairy dust. What I am now starting to realise is they've both resisted following a set template with their remixes. And not sticking to a tried and tested formula when given the task of knocking a remix out must sometimes be quite tough. So kudos for sticking with it. Lets hope Mr Dear gets back on track soon. Given how much talent his has, I am confident he will.

Season’s Favourites

Dave (a fellow ssg) suggested compiling some of our favourites from the season just passed December – February, which is summer down under. Without putting too much thought into it, here are my tops:

Favourite dj: Marcel Dettmann
Favourite producer: Pawel
Favourite album: Rod Modell ‘Incense and Black Light’
Favourite track: Donnacha Costello ‘Black Bag Job (737)’

It is hard to pick a favourite liveset or podcast, as I go through them pretty quickly. All the ones I’ve enjoyed the most I’ve posted on this blog at some stage, though…

A Birthday Treat

The usual custom is that whoever’s birthday it is gets the present. Luckily for us, this time it has been reversed. To celebrate the three year anniversary of Mobilee, the host of Berlin Mitte Institut für Bessere Elektronische Musik, Fresh Meat, was joined by Mobileers Anja Schneider, Karol Kasi and Ralf Kollmann. The result is a fantastic three hour mix which does an excellent job of showcasing the label’s sound Definitely worth a listen for those who like the Mobilee sound. While I am not convinced about some of their roster, it is hard to argue with the talent at Mobilee’s core. I am a particularly big fan of Anja Schneider. I am firmly of the opinion that this is one girl worth paying very close attention to. I wouldn’t be surprised if she ends up becoming something like the female Sven Vath. We shall see. Anyway, you can download the set directly from the Berlin Mitte Institute here.

Get Well Soon...

One of my favourite websites is the fantastic Betalounge. For those who haven't yet come across this site, it has an amazing archive of streaming sets spanning almost a decade now and 752 shows. So much good music here to sooth the soul and mind. Unfortunately, the server went down about a month or so ago and is still not up. Lets hope Betalounge gets well soon. I can honestly say that not having its music archives available for my listening pleasure has had a noticeable impact on my life. Fingers crossed Betalounge will be fixed...


  1. I have to admit the remixing of sasha was a strange road to take & its probably one of his worst if not the worst.
    I have to disagree on his remix of dubfire listen to the original which is a pile of shite (generic tech house) then see what he has done. i think its anything but flat i love the wonky melody and the awkwardness of the track heard it out many times and it always goes down well, in the middle of a deep set in the early hours.
    I think he has some new music coming out on spectral soon.

  2. that is a fair point about his dubfire remix. i havent heard the remix, so i dont know how good a job dear has done of saving the original. nonetheless, i dont really enjoy it as it stands by itself. then again, it may work well out...

    none of this has dinted my faith in dear, but these remixes just raised a bit of a question mark... i heard a new track of his 'sunday adventure club' - which is great.

  3. Yeah sunday adventure club is spot on as is the other track on that unreleased EP "more bees please" ive not heard that its coming out though have you heard anything ? btw he is doing the radio 1 essential mix tonight both under dear and audion ...something to look forward to i think.
    GMT - 3am - 5am bbc r1

  4. i think audion as a whole is very over-hyped. i definitely rate matthew dear as a whole, but his audion guise i think is very sensationalised. that said, i think his remix work is often better than his original productions under this name. i would agree that they have a 'flat' sound but when put into a set well, as a means to link one track to anohter, then they can be very effective.

  5. "one of minimal’s golden boys – good looking, affable, genuine ...
    it is testament to Dear’s talent that the Audion remixer 5000 template has taken him so far."

    More likely it's a testament to his good looks and affable nature that he's managed to score so many jobs despite obviously churning out formulaic pap that you admit you've gotten tired of despite your idolization of him.

    "[Craig and Villalobos have] both resisted following a set template with their remixes"

    Comparing the genius of Carl Craig, whose career has been constantly active since 1991 and has covered more genres of music than the other two combined, to these two relative newcomers, is flawed at best, and a downright crime in my opinion.

    I fail to see the logic in the comparison, too. You start out by saying that Dear Mattie's remixes are formulaic, then mention two remixers who, according to you (Craig, yes, Villalobos, enh, I don't know his oeuvre well enough to judge) aren't formulaic. You're talking out of both sides of your mouth. If you're tired of Dear Mattie's remixes that's ok!


Say something constructive, bitte. Or if you're gonna take a swipe, at least sharpen your nails.

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