THE VERY BEST OF REMIXES REVIEWS

 

Uncut Magazine July 1003
Anti-remix Luddites unite: these mindless "reworkings" of classic Human League songs will provoke a "why?" from any music lover. A scrum of contemporary DJ berks commit serial degradation on "The Sound Of The Crowd", "Love Action" and "Open Your Heart". The quirky period charm of Oakey and Co's plugged-in ironies on human emotion are reduced to simple-minded '81 caricatures of witless electronic pap. The Ayia Napa and School Disco crowds will love it.

*

 

www.remembertheeighties.com June 2004 new

OK, I already know that there will be shouts of 'Sacrilege' at the very idea of messing around with old Human League tracks, and to an extent I echoed those feelings before I'd heard any of these new mixes, but you know what? They are fantastic and they are a very worthy addition to the Human League's already impressive catalogue.
We don't usually review singles but if you put these four releases together you get a fantastic compilation album of remixes - not quite a 'Love & Dancing' for 2003 but more of a Pet Shop Boys' 'Disco' sort of affair!

DISC ONE - 12" vinyl single (released 21/3/03)
A - The Sound Of The Crowd (Trisco's PopClash Mix), B1 - Love Action (Salmon & Jenkins Mix), B2 - Open Your Heart (Laid Remix)
You have no idea of the sense of trepidation I felt as I put on this first 12" single, but I can safely say that it was more than matched by my sense of relief as the music kicked in. Trisco's PopClash Mix of TSOTC is a very modern sounding dance mix - a distinctive pulsing beat gives a hypnotic feel as fragments of vocals from the chorus of the original record are thrown in and out as the song makes good use of varispeed effects slowing down and speeding up to great effect. . Salmon & Jenkins Mix of Love Action is almost immediately recognisable in its use of the the original tracks distinctive percussion clatter and squelching bass and opens into a fine feel good mix which makes particularly good use of all the vocals before speeding up and spinning into a trancey collage of vocal snippets and samples. The Laid Remix of Open Your Heart sounds so 'no'w that the bursts of chorus from the original version sound almost dated alongside the sleek and shiny production of this highly contemporary mix. A muffled opening gives way to a euphoric stereo swoop and the first burst of chorus sets a euphoric and upbeat high that continues throughout the track.

DISC TWO - 12" vinyl single (released 5/5/03)
A - The Sound Of The Crowd (Freaksblamredo), B1 - Love Action (Brooks Red Line Vocal Mix), B2 - (Keep Feeling) Fascination (Groove Collision TMC Mix)
Opening with a series of interesting clattering beats and odd percussion sounds the Freaksblamredo mix of TSOTC is a drum and percussion led dance track that makes effective use of the hollow chimes of the original leaving the vocals sounding oddly (yet effectively) stark against the dance background... a very difficult one to describe but well worth a listen! Brooks Red Line Vocal Mix of Love Action pulls out the clattering percussion and strong bassline of the original and weaves them together to give this mix a strong modern flavour yet keeping truer to the original than most of the versions in this series of releases - nice to hear the whole song remixed rather than laying odd effects snippets and sounds over a dance beat! There's only one new mix of Fascination in this series and we're given the full l dancefloor treatment in the Groove Collision TMC Mix which is an urgent 'hands in the air' pop mix pulling in bass elements and electronic effects that echoes the poppier side of New Order...

DISC THREE - 10" vinyl single (released 5/5/03)
A - Open Your Heart (Strand Remix), B - The Sound Of The Crowd (Extended Family Vocal Mix)
Not sure why this release is on 10" rather than 12", possibly to differentiate between the more straightforward pop/dance remixes on the other vinyls, and the electroclash styles of these mixes. The Strand Remix of Open Your Heart opens with a striking swirling vocal smaple and then kicks in with some dark dirty beats alongside the distinctive growling bassline making this a stylish and effortless update and one of the strongest mixes in the series, made stronger by the use of the whole song rather than just the chorus and other snippets, although it also makes free use of cut up samples of the original thrown in with style! TSOTC's Extended Family Vocal mix is possibly my favourite of the whole bunch (although i can't quite make up my mind!) with it's slighly faster beat and dark, edgy atmosphere it's a call to arms spanning twenty five years; sounding oddly contemporary while also sounding like a strong contender for the original Love & Dancing album!

DISC FOUR - 12" vinyl (released 19/5/03)
A - Don't You Want Me (Majik Johnson Original Booty Mix), B1 - Love Action (Salmon & Jenkins Dub), The Sound Of the Crowd (Freaksoldschooljam)
I'm glad that this project hasn't focussed on the ubiquitous DYWM, but judging on the single mix of it on offer here, maybe there could have been more made of it! The Majik Johnson Original Booty Mix is a great mix, opening with a very ordinary dance beat into which it gradually fades the distinctive bassline over a couple of minutes before bursting into a stylish update of the Human League's best known track; a truly modern version that loses none of the essence of the original. On the first listen the Salmon & Jenkins Dub version of Love Action was the only track that I felt was in any way a filler, but subsequent plays have proved otherwise - the track starts off with a fast dance beat and only gradually introduces the key elements of the original song - the distinctive bass kicking in alongside Love Action's definitive percussion rattle. The vocals are largely kept in the background making this a highly hypnotic and insistent dance track which eventualy (and all too soon!) slows into distortion and fades away. Freaksoldschooljam version of TSOTC opens with a sleazy cliched base line and then throws layers onto it, from vocal samples to electronic sounds and effects, this is a true dancefloor mix saved from being irretreviably cheesy by the quality of the original Human League material it uses.

If you're a fan of the Human League then this is an essential chapter, but if you're a fan of remix culture, electo, industrial, or electroclash then you'd do worse than looking here for new kicks!