Editorial 06-05 - Don't try this at home - Discussion

Talk freely about the scene, the world of remixing, or anything off-topic unsuitable for the "Fun Forum".
Chris Abbott
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Post by Chris Abbott »

gotta remember when firelord 1st came out there was still simple sid to midi remix's with the drum patterns changed a little and some more "modern" synth sounds floating about getting orange faces and so forth
Um, no. Before Firelord there had already been three Back in Time CDs and Nexus 6581, and many remixes of that kind were already getting yellows or less. Unfortunately the CDs tend to get airbrushed out of history at times when they're actually hugely important.

As for DHS, I left him off the list for the same reason as Instant Remedy (though I overlooked Clystron): they're brilliant at taking pieces into certain styles, but since they add a lot of personality to the mix, they're not what I'd term definitive. Excellent, inspired, brilliant... but not definitive. Of course there are probably obvious exceptions.

Also, the musical public actually doesn't work the same as musicians do: tunes which hit the imagination often go timeless: lots of people do technically superior versions over the years (better production, more intricate), but mostly the definitive version is loved despite its faults. That's why some people still love SID above remixes.

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Post by Boz »

Here's my tuppence, Chris. Liked your editorial as usual, and I can't think of a good enough argument to disagree with any of the tunes you mentioned.

As you said, it's an "editorial" and therefore it's YOUR personal list, so others are probably going to have their own version of some of the choices; then of course there's the possibility that they will misinterpret what you meant by "definitive". For me, it doesn't have to be The Best Remix In The World Ever... EVER (tm) to be definitive; all it has to do is make you stare at the PC / stereo / whatever is making the noise, nod slowly and say "yeah, that's what the SID was trying to do."

As for your comment on the picture at the end: I've been eating plenty of bran, so it isn't constipation, honest! ;)

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Post by Chris Abbott »

Boz wrote:For me, it doesn't have to be The Best Remix In The World Ever... EVER (tm) to be definitive; all it has to do is make you stare at the PC / stereo / whatever is making the noise, nod slowly and say "yeah, that's what the SID was trying to do."
That's a large part of what I was trying to convey :) I think the word definitive is overused in society at large: literally it means it defines something. Lazy journalism is to blame a lot of the time.

Plus I think the psychological primacy effect means that the first remix someone hears that nails something is generally the one that people would have the most impact on their tastes.

I'd liken it to a party: someone turns up with a huge keg of beer, and everyone else goes "oooh, that's just what was needed" and hides their six pack nonchalently behind their back. The beer isn't champagne, and it may not be the best beer technically, but it nevertheless defines the party by matching the spirit and the mood perfectly. Boz knows this, being the definitive expert in such matters ;-) Definitively speaking!

To me a definitive remix says: "OK, you guys, there's nothing left to bring to the party now, unless you can find a tapdancing clown with a rocket strapped to his bum", which would be the classic alternative to beer :)
Boz wrote: As for your comment on the picture at the end: I've been eating plenty of bran, so it isn't constipation, honest! ;)
I think your avatar needs some of the bran too :eekout:

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Post by Boz »

Chris Abbott wrote:I think your avatar needs some of the bran too
Ah, that was taken before my "move to Sweden and shock body by actually eating something healthy" days ;)

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Post by xo »

This is what I thought you meant by definitive, Chris:

The remix that no other remix of the same material can improve without remixing the actual remix, i.e. by walking the same path.

That sort of implies that no two given styles for the same given remix can be made without one being inherently inferior than the other.

I'm not so sure that's always the case, but perhaps it is for many songs. And the original always has a particular style of its own of course which by definition has to be the definitive style. :)

To me a definition is something which identifies some thing or class of things and in the context of remixes, the definitive remix is the remix that identifies what the original should have been but could not be due to constraints at the time. The perfect realisation of remix - some times of course, it may already be perfect by conception in its "constrained" form.

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Post by Chris Abbott »

exoskeleton wrote:This is what I thought you meant by definitive, Chris:

The remix that no other remix of the same material can improve without remixing the actual remix, i.e. by walking the same path.

That sort of implies that no two given styles for the same given remix can be made without one being inherently inferior than the other.

I'm not so sure that's always the case, but perhaps it is for many songs. And the original always has a particular style of its own of course which by definition has to be the definitive style. :)

To me a definition is something which identifies some thing or class of things and in the context of remixes, the definitive remix is the remix that identifies what the original should have been but could not be due to constraints at the time. The perfect realisation of remix - some times of course, it may already be perfect by conception in its "constrained" form.
I think that's what I was trying to convey, in that last paragraph of yours (nice edit!). A remix can be excellent without being definitive, and the original being remixed often has its own style which dictates what a definitive remix can be. Firelord was born to be orchestral: it sounds that way, and the composer says it was supposed to be that way. Hence Glyn's Firelord orchestral is definitive, unless Ben gets the London Symphony Orchestra to do another Orchestral Firelord.

Marcel's Knucklebusters is definitive because Rob Hubbard heard it and commented that it sounded like what he meant it to be. Same with Reyn Ouwehand's "Deflektor", where Ben went so far to comment that it was as if Reyn went into his brain to get that track. And Trap was always orchestral, although Ben's solo version would have had more bagpipes. I'm not sure if people know that the string section in our Trap remix (first section) was played by Ben himself pretty much real-time back in 1998.

There's an added wrinkle though: sometimes a remix is so powerful or persuasive compared to the original that it surpasses it by suggesting the ultimate form of the SID: like Armageddon Man, where any future cover would sound weak and underpowered by comparison with the sheer beauty of a human voice.

I'd argue that a lot of Martin Galway and Jeroen Tel's stuff is already "perfect", since it wasn't written to sound like any particular style in real life.

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Post by DHS »

My humble 2 cents.

There's nothing "definitive" in life, except, maybe, for death.

As there's always room for improvement and learning, just thinking "this is a definitive remix", for whatsoever reason (including "this is the way the original composer would have done it"), has no meaning for me.

All the remixes Chris listed are top notch, no questions about that.
Definitive? yes. Unless Mr.X pops up and redo it in a better way, may it be strictly technically speaking or musically. So, there would be no sense in the word "definitive".

Just think, tomorrow, a HGW-alike guy pops up and remix/redo Rastan...

Or the twin brother of mr. Armin Van Buuren remixing Selfmade.exe.
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Post by Chris Abbott »

DHS wrote:My humble 2 cents.

There's nothing "definitive" in life, except, maybe, for death.

As there's always room for improvement and learning, just thinking "this is a definitive remix", for whatsoever reason (including "this is the way the original composer would have done it"), has no meaning for me.

All the remixes Chris listed are top notch, no questions about that.
Definitive? yes. Unless Mr.X pops up and redo it in a better way, may it be strictly technically speaking or musically. So, there would be no sense in the word "definitive".

Just think, tomorrow, a HGW-alike guy pops up and remix/redo Rastan...

Or the twin brother of mr. Armin Van Buuren remixing Selfmade.exe.
You're thinking like a musician, not a historian :) Even if Mr X came and improved one of the remixes in the list, the old one will still have historical primacy. The listening public doesn't think in the same terms as we do, where art is never finished and music is an infinite variety of possibilities.

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Post by Chris Abbott »

Actually it's always been frustrating to musicians when they do new stuff which is technically and maybe musically better than their old, and yet the audience continue to listen to the old stuff.

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Post by xo »

Well obviously there's always room for improvement, but if the definition was so narrow as to not include remixes not absolutely perfect in every way then it would be basically empty. There's always some thing that can be "tweaked". You could've (okay, a biggie) used a real orchestra (well you would've if you could've :) ), the guy playing the third cello could've not had an off-day, the guy playing the violin could've used a Stradivarious, the air could've been more acoustically right, you could've used better microphones, you could've used a better format, you could've mastered it a bit different, etc, etc.

The other aspect of this is of course: noone, I think, would like just one definitive remix and no variations. I don't know if Mahoney's Armageddon Man remix is definitive in the sense that its the definitive style, but its definitely the coolest I've heard. Although I like rarely remixed gems to be remixed, I also want superbly remixed legends to be remixed again; now part of that may be the further striving for a perfect realisation, but part of that is the search for variation and a new take on an old friend.

So to sum it up: variation is good but sometimes a remix comes along that "becomes" the song. Its not really that controversal a point I think. :)

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Post by Romeo Knight »

exoskeleton wrote:the air could've been more acoustically right,
That's what I love about Exoskeletor! :)

Now back to topic: I cannot really follow this discussion. IMO a list of definitive remixes is only another way of saying what someone likes best.
Yes, there are great remixes that can be called fantastic using mainly objective critera (as far as this is possible regarding music). Maybe another expression for this could be "definite". But we mustn't forget that time is flowing and these remixes can only be definite regarding the time in which they've been made. Music was, is, and will always be a matter of period, trends and zeitgeist. I'm pretty sure in 15 years lots of them will still sound good, but dated. Because we will be used to different sounds and styles. I got what you want to tell us, Chris, but then a "definite" list will be as subjective as anything and then it looses its sense IMO.
Sorry for repeating in bad english what everybody else has been saying before.:)

EDIT: On my personal list there would have been e.g.
Juha Kaunisto - Zoids
Mahoney - M.U.L.E.
N-Joy - Stormlord (Senecas Marble Pack Edit)
Last edited by Romeo Knight on 02/05/2006 - 16:31, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Chris Abbott »

Romeo Knight wrote:
exoskeleton wrote:the air could've been more acoustically right,
But we mustn't forget that time is flowing and these remixes can only be definite regarding the time in which they've been made.
No no no no no no :)

Look at something like "Tomorrow Never Knows" (Beatles) or "Every breath you take" by the Police. Both very much of their time, and yet still definitive, no matter how many covers people do of them. SID doesn't age for the same reason.

Glyn's Firelord will, IMHO, always be the definitive version, even if someone else covers it, because it changed the way people felt about the SID, and because it finally managed to convey something of what the composer intended.

Definitivity is, to me, a consideration of how a remix fits into history rather than how good it is: although obviously brilliant remixes and tunes fit into history a lot better, and mediocrity almost inevitably goes unnoticed. I might be wrong about a particular remix and its place in history, or a particular remixer and his place in history, and I've omitted lots, possibly controversially, but I don't think I'm wrong about this.

The best music is both in and of its time, but is also timeless. Like Galway SIDs, in many ways. It is what it is: part of the 80s, but so much more. Actually, some music ends up being timeless in the first place and so is not necessarily a product of its time. Oxygene, for instance. Lots of covers and even a sequel, mixed to high heaven, bettered in terms of sound richness, but still definitive.

OK, maybe our Grandchildren will judge these things differently, of course. ;-)

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Post by Romeo Knight »

Chris Abbott wrote: Look at something like "Tomorrow Never Knows" (Beatles) or "Every breath you take" by the Police. Both very much of their time, and yet still definitive, no matter how many covers people do of them. SID doesn't age for the same reason."
Why did I know you'd argue refering to The Beatles? :)
Well. I don't like the Beatles. :eekout:
I know they've been the most influential band ever, and they deserve this status, but I'd rather listen to recent bands being heavily influenced by them. (King's X for example). My way of listening to the Beatles. And I'm SURE if you'd put them on todays' music market noone would be interested in them. Ringo Starr could not play drums, btw. :)
IMO they've been great but they're dated now. Definite for their time.
And I don't think SID doesn't age. It only doesn't because of the things we do at this weird place.
Chris Abbott wrote: "OK, maybe our Grandchildren will judge these things differently, of course. ;-)
No, already your children will do. Much more than you'll want them to. :)
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Post by xo »

(I thought that comment would raise some eye brow. :D I don't pay attention to such matters in my everyday listening, but find it interesting.)

Let's see if this whole deal can be simplified to the extreme:

There is an original, that original has a particular style. Due to constraints the original never met its full potential according to the intent of its creator. That potential may be more or less difficult to decipher from the source material, nevertheless it is there to some extent.

Roughly speaking the remixer can do two things - create a totally different take on the original or create something that more closely matches a realization of that original intent and spirit. This intent has nothing to do with what's best, its simply that some paths are more aligned with the original than others. I think I agree with that.

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Post by DHS »

Chris Abbott wrote:Look at something like "Tomorrow Never Knows" (Beatles) or "Every breath you take" by the Police. Both very much of their time, and yet still definitive, no matter how many covers people do of them. SID doesn't age for the same reason.
Sorry chris, i'm a little mafioso spaghetti eater, so maybe i didn't get the "quid", but... following this philosophy, the "definitive" status will always be the SID themselves (and maybe, it's right so).
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