SONG OF THE DAY: Sia – Chandelier (Remixes)

As we all look forward to Sia’s forthcoming ‘1000 Forms of Fear’ album (due for release in July), the lead single “Chandelier” has been receiving widespread radio airplay. It’s quite fascinating for us long-term fans that it took her writing dance records for Flo Rida and David Guetta for many to appreciate her unique voice (both as singer and writer). The song itself has been reviewed everywhere, so let’s talk about the remixes that are beginning to surface.  Out of the gate are takes by Liam Keegan and Hector Fonseca. To preface this, let’s just say that to a dance music producer, the song, with its musical structure and instrumentation, is a challenge to make work in a club setting. The original 87 BPM tempo is in that “hell tempo” range that remixers often find difficult.
  
Liam Keegan does a good job by keeping it at 122 BPM and going in a mellow house direction – like a Clean Bandit feel, with a bit more oomph. Hector Fonseca amped it up to 128 BPM and on first preview, I figured this tribal-oriented mix would be perfect for prime time play.  Wow, I was surprised at what came through the loud speakers at the club – the stutter repeated vocals and beats are the closest thing to dissonance I’ve heard in a club record in a long time (going back to some of the more outre/experimental Jonathan Peters mixes from the late ’90s). If you have an adventurous ear (or an adventurous crowd) it could work, but a club kid even asked me if my mp3 was warped.  (Those of us who remember vinyl realize how funny that concept is.) If you don’t already know the song, Sia’s vocals become almost meaningless, and you have to wonder why he tried to make a full vocal mix anyway, unless it was a contractual obligation. Hector’s Tribal dub works a lot better and reconciles the disparate elements together in a more aesthetically-unified fashion. It’s a good track that doesn’t sound like everything else, and that’s admirable given how similar so much of contemporary EDM is happy being. But the vocals and the track don’t fit together in a way that people can groove on (though pitching the mix down some does yield much more interesting results and does let Sia’s voice shine through rather than be hammered into chunks as it seems at 128). 

As we await the rumored MK-inspired mix by Cutmore, I would encourage you to hunt down the exceptionally strong mix by Bit Error. The rising talent split the difference between Keegan and Fonseca by going in at 125 BPM, keeping the pretty pop feel and adding some tasteful electro in the mix.  The vocals are so well done that it would work perfect for mixshows, and an edit would fit just about every dance radio station. 

Image courtesy of RCA.

Notable Dance Podcast #050

Annie ft Bjarne Melgaard – Russian Kiss (Original Mix)

Kiesza – Hideaway (Gorgon City Remix)
Paul Sirrell – What Would We Do (Original)
Astronaut – Rain (Calvertron Remix)
Ron van der Beuken ft Demi Thomasson – Fire to the Rain
W&W vs KSHMR – BigFoot vs Megaloon (Hit Noize Bootleg)
Cole Plante with Myon & Shane 54 ft Ruby O Dell – If I Fall (Bit Error Mixshow)
D-Wayne – Africa (Original)
Klaas – Party Like We Are Animals (Original)
Hix – Alarma (Original Mix)
Martin Solveig vs Laidback Luke – Blow (Quintino & MOTi Remix)
DJ Chuckie – Dirty Funkin Beats (Original Mix)
TAI ft Rutedo – Just Smile (Original)
BT, Fractal & JES – Letting Go (LTN Remix)

(Picture with Cole Plante taken at Promo Only Summer Session 2013)

Notable Dance Podcast #050

SONG OF THE DAY (SUNDAY FUNDAY)  Zendaya – “Replay”

The stream of former Disney stars into the pop music world seems to be hitting a new peak with consecutive hits by Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, Bridgit Mendler, and Miley Cyrus all getting massive radio play and club play (thanks to exceptional remixes). Next up is Zendaya.  Fresh from her runner-up spot on Dancing with the Stars, the honey-voiced pop diva on the rise unleashes “Replay,”  a surprisingly edgy pop song with grime-inflected beats and a sickeningly catchy chorus that will play over “again and again” in your head after you hear it the first time.    For club consumption, stadium house-styled mixes by Riddler and DJ Kue stand as the strongest contenders, though Ralphi Rosario’s tribal take will keep the circuit boys happy. My attention is on producer Bit Error who has risen from the world of white label/bootlegs to construct an incredibly strong electro mix (minus the cliched buildup/drops) which will dominate commercial dance floors when it’s released with the second round of remixes. If you are looking for remixers on the rise, Bit Error is definitely one to watch (and be sure to check out his mix of Bridgit Mendler’s “Hurricane,” which didn’t seem to get the DJ love it deserved).

Image courtesy of Hollywood Records.