[Originally featured on the Border Movement]
Remixing is a delicate art. Whilst some of the most scintillating remixes in dance music has resulted from the subtlest of realigning, the slow deconstruction of some our favourite tracks has left equally memorable scars within our psyche.
Yet creativity and the dancefloor don’t always see eye to eye. With that best-of-both-worlds outlook in mind, here’s a brief look at the better remixes to come out of Sri Lanka in the recent the past:
05 Jay Deep & Shiyam – Hi Colombo: Asvajit Remix
Asvajit takes this somewhat uninspired original and turns it into a funk-laden bumper that has traces of early Atlantic Jaxx and tribal house. The trademark attention to detail is here, vocal snippets echoing around jazzed-up keys. But the swaying, kick-less breakdown in the middle is where it really shines, the absence of the overpowering kickdrum revealing the track’s effortless swing — the sort of lazy, stop-stutter ditty that Luciano would drop early morning on a rooftop — a nod to its real promise, and that of Asvajit’s future work too.
04 Sweatson Klank – I Shouldn’t Be Here: Daffy Maestro Remix
The most prolific producer to come out of Sri Lanka, trumps a formidable Seatwson Klank original with this remix, armed with fleeting garage-vox and golden-era DnB flutter. Everything is afloat: the drums are unforced to the point of understated charm, the arrangements are spacious to the point of a lucid dream, its strings yearning in the track’s backyard. Although his range and versatility has almost barred him from developing a signature sound, this is the work of a producer who is getting frighteningly good at his craft.
03 ‘Zadeh – Skepsis: Anuradha Jayathilaka Mix
UK-based ’Zadeh’s “Skepsis” is an atmospheric slow-burner that cuts deep with raw snare hits and piercingly reverberating synth stabs. Anuradha Jayathilake stretches out the soundscape, tightens its dance-floor grip with a nimble bassline, and lends it an infectious forward drive with a subtle, snappy snare. All this is done while keeping in tact the cinematic edge of ‘Zadeh’s synth work. The result is a track of colourful restraint, restraint that is rarely found in Jayathilake’s original work, but which he seems clearly capable of.
02 Typeß – All Things I’ve Got to Remember (Take On Me)
This Typeß track (which samples a perennial favourite, A-ha’s “Take On Me”) is an interesting amalgamation of pop and bass music. A somewhat seasoned hand in the DJ circuit, Typeß seems equally adept at producing: Deep like the Hutu, the plinking and rasping percussion here slither — in true Ramadanman style — around clipped “Take On Me” chords. The imaginative use of A-ha’s strings, plays perfect conductor to the scattershot drums that define the track. More an original than a rework, we just had to feature “All Things” on this list, as a testimony to the art of reworking a sample into original programming.
01 Asvajit – Orientation: Daffy Maestro Remix
Straight Outta Compton: Daffy Maestro flips the keys, backward-peddles his kicks, adds phase 90sque reverb, and brings the house down with an Apocalypse Now bassline. Charlie Chaplin’s historic words are (aptly) the precursor to a monster, the sort of heater that could give you a freezeburn. Creepin’ through your hood, it’s dinosaur dubhouse, burning jazz-funk, sound design that would make Rod Modell proud. Pulverizing the structural frame of the warehouse where it may get played, it’s what Funktion One rigs are built for.