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.