Sunset Review :: Thomas William – ‘Deccan Technicolour Remixes’
October 31st 2012
Many people have a skewed view of what remixing is, which is partly due to the fact that so many producers approach it with a specific recipe in mind.
To start, gently twist the main hook so that it seems fresh and exciting but is still recognisable. Next, let the hook sink into some unused drums you found floating around the back of your hard drive. Layer the main vocal from the original mix over the top and slap on some other random sounds so that it sounds like an ingenious reinterpretation has taken place. Oh and we can’t forget the essential breakdown – halfway through the cooking process, cut away most of the track, bar the melody. Then proceed to pull sheets of swelling white noise over the top, until it all becomes too much and the whole creation gets dropped, resulting in a nice bassy bit which will hit you in the chest for 16 bars or so.
I’m being cynical here, but that technique does work and it’s good fun. However, if a remix is to be more than just “fun”, it often has to completely reinvent the original. The beautiful thing about Thomas William’s Deccan Technicolour is that it’s a delicately constructed web, and to take any single element away is to make the entire work feel wrong. Furthermore, to completely remix a whole track is to destroy it, so that classic remix formula just doesn’t work. What this means is that it’s basically impossible to remix this album in a predictable way.
I suppose the construction of the original material doesn’t really matter after all considering people like Galapagoose and Dro Carey are on remix duties. Rather than using the original mix as a base for their track, they – along with the other contributors to this remix album – often take inspiration from the smallest sample and slowly watch the new piece of music evolve as their creativity runs wild. What follows is a sonic bliss-trip full of unexpected left turns. It’s music for your ears, not your feet (much like the original album) but that’s certainly not a bad thing.
‘JHA’ is a glitchy, off-kilter hip hop jam that contains everything from isolated jazz samples to flying pieces of chipmunked vocals, all while somehow retaining a tropical feel. It’s incredible, but infinitely strange. What’s even stranger is the way in which Kane Ikin has managed to transform the track into what could easily be part of the soundtrack to a psychological thriller. Perhaps the protagonist in this narrative finds himself underground, where it’s so easy to become lost and disoriented. A prisoner of his own mind, he refuses to come to the surface for any more than 10 minutes at a time; his dark emotions festering over time until they can no longer be kept under control. Laughable movie pitches aside, it’s a damn menacing piece of music.
Option Command takes the understated hip hop swing of Williams’ ‘Andromeda’ and pushes it overboard. Drums stutter and smack, shifting on and off the beat as they please, while somehow the melodic samples have been cut up even more than they were in the original. These further cuts are scattered all around the aural spectrum, always giving you something new to listen to.
It initially seems impossible to remake an album such as Deccan Technicolour. Intertwining rhythms and melodies are abundant, and reveal themselves seemingly at random, while in reality it’s anything but haphazard. It is possible though, and each track taken from Deccan Technicolour Remixes is so unique, intricate and delicately pieced together, that when put together it is truly a brand new album unique of the original.