In today’s electronic music landscape, defining what constitutes a remix is not that obvious anymore. What should be a new artistic expression from the sum its original parts, has unremittingly mutated closer and closer to new original material, with only some, if any, reference to the original. Remixes today, are like new songs altogether, whereas in the past, they might have merely supported the purpose of extending a track for the dance floor. At the forefront of redefining the music comes some new music today from Four Tet and Oneothrix Point Never.
Four Tet’s remix of OPN’s Sticky Drama is probably the furthest we’ve got from the original ideas of a remix. It takes OPN’s 4-minute pop-informed track from Garden of Delete and transmutes it into an hour-long cinematic masterpiece accompanied by images taken at the Barbican in London. The parts from the original songs are often recogniseable as the untainted samples from OPN’s track, with Four Tet, putting them back together in very distinct phrases that come together almost quite like a DJ set or an operatic score, with unique songs built from the same theme through various acts. There appears to be a lot of focus in softening up Oneothrix Point Never’s harsher sonic qualities during the opening phrases, with Four Tet really letting that contrapuntal opening riff sink in with the listener, before the original almost returns unchanged during the crux of the remix.
Boiler Room‘s visual accompaniment is perfectly timed for the music, giving the viewer a stimulating tour of the Barbican as a kind of contrast to either emphasis the subtler passages, by moving slowly through empty spaces, or not to distract from the music, by hiding in darkened corners. The imagery is not just a passive accompaniment in the way that a music video might have been in the past, but actually takes on the form of a crucial element of the entire experience. Through the moments of complete silence, they work as an extension of the music and while these moments might test the viewer/listener’s patience, alongside the imagery they act like catalysts for creating tension in the narrative. Who would have ever thought that a remix could employ anything as concise as a narrative, but this is exactly what Four Tet, and in this case Boiler Room, manage to do through the hour-long remix, yet again redefining the idea of a remix in our modern age.
Stream the entire thing above as a live stream for another 48Hours and you can read an op-ed feature on remixes here.