Sharon Redd "Activate (MF Gill Re-edit)" - Oh shit! A fourfour exclusive! After reading a mostly negative, but nonetheless intriguing review of late boogie diva Sharon Redd's Love How You Feel (1983), downloading it and falling in love with its first track, "Activate," I shared it with the armed-and-extremely-dangerous Michael F. Gill. He wasn't so into the main vocal of the 8.5-minute synth epic, so he chopped it off and otherwise toiled to reconfigure the track into an icy dub. I love that by Michael's touch, you don't get a sense of what is too be activated (a bomb? bleach?) until much later in the track (it's actually your "love machine," which, ew). But also, yay, as this song's simultaneous combo of slick and tacky is what I love most about it. It's kind of in love with itself -- all dolled up in the finest effects '83 could offer, sounding rather fuchsia and whorey. Michael rinses off some of the studio wizardry, and slightly de-gays it by snipping off most of the diva-growly verses. He makes up for the chopping with his intro that stamps his and fourfour's names on the track. It's about as entertaining as the track itself and totally over-the-top. That's my boy.
Annie "The Wedding (Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas Remix)" - Despite having been temporarily been hypnotized by Anniemal's charms, and still believing that "Me Plus One" is among the best pop songs of the past 10 years, I kind of hate Annie. I hate white chicks who can't sing but do anyway and I hate, hate music that's disproportionately treble-y. Annie and the currently fawned-over Robyn are headache inducing with their sonic equivalents of fluorescent lighting. I feel like the ridiculously reliable Lindstrøm and partner Prins Thomas are right there with my hate, though, as they scrub clean Annie's mess of an original (which appears exclusively on her DJ Kicks, a dire collection that doesn't even deserve to be called a mix), and then shit all over her. Is their invocation of the ode-to-almost-legal-ass "My Sharona" a jab at Annie's age, which she hilariously says is 26? (A side note: a friend that works at a magazine saw untouched proofs of Annie's shoot for said rag and says that she does not have the face of a 26-year-old.) Even if the "Sharona" reference isn't meant to mock Annie, plenty of the remix's elements do -- the passé, "House of Jealous Lovers"-esque percussion, the parade of irritating synth lines that spiral into key clashes, the fucking cowbell at the end. Because it's so damn ugly, I don't know if I could even consider this a dance song, proper. It'd certainly be a risky track to drop into a DJ set, though if I heard this shit playing faintly at a convenience store, I'd totally ask the cashier to turn it up so that I could dance in the aisles. Vitalic "The Chase" - I'm really confused about this one, mainly because Vitalic was said to have remixed Giorgio Moroder's "The Chase" a few years ago. But the remix circulated is very different than what's here (the remix is twice as long and four times as noisy). This track is billed not as a remix, but a cover, which is also confusing. If Vitalic did, in fact, remix this track a few years ago (and there's no listing on Discogs to support the claim, btw), it's bizarre that he'd tackle it again. Where's the line between "remix" and "cover" in electronic music, anyway? Regardless, this track, which closes out his mostly underwhelming and under-blended Colette mix, is awesome -- it speeds up the Midnight Express until its pistons pop in your face. In another stroke of genius, Vitalic adds a high hat so as to connect the pretty distant past (Italo) with the not-as-distant past (early Detroit techno). This "Chase" (if pitched down) could work alongside the year's best track, Lindstrøm's "I Feel Space," which should serve as a reminder of how far we haven't wanted to come. And that's Vitalic's point with this aggressive salute to genres that have served as his inspiration, a sort of love letter designed to give you paper cuts. New Order "Bizarre Love Triangle (Richard X Remix)" - Yeah, "Bizarre Love Triangle" wasn't exactly screaming for an update, but if it were, this would be the way to do it (and certainly not that tweetronic version that currently can be heard on that commercial shilling cars or whatever). Richard X is all about beautification, adding a more robust 4/4, turning up the original's busy, hi-NRG bass line and pushing its driving guitar to the back (what used to be a steering wheel is now just part of the scenery). If Vitalic's "The Chase" was a love letter, this is a muscle-worshiping massage. What I find most endearing about Richard's remix is his affinity for the mechanized voices that sing the chorus during the original's breakdown. Here, they underscore Bernard Sumner on every chorus. Richard X also pulls back the sonic slingshot so that on his own robot-voiced breakdown hurls the song to heaven. This is gorgeous, gorgeous stuff that undoubtedly comes from a place of respect and adoration for the original.
Ashley feels love . . .
. . . do you?