From a piece dedicated to the Shah of Iran, to a Beyoncé pop hit, Poles have tampered with lots of different songs. See for yourself in this remix playlist compiled by Culture.pl.
When editing and re-editing songs, musicians play around with the order of verses and loop some of the sounds. Mash-up is the overlaying of two songs. The changes introduced in a remix may only slightly change the way it sounds, make a certain sound more prominent; or, on the contrary, they can extract individual sounds from the song and turn it upside down, invalidating its previous meaning.
Sometimes musicians invite specific artists to remix their songs - this way they show respect towards their style and their achievements. At other times, they put their work on the internet and appeal to the world's music producers: ''do something fresh with this''. And if someone does answer that call and the resulting piece is of real value - a collaboration may begin. In The Open Work, Umberto Eco wrote,
"Work in movement" is the possibility of numerous different personal interventions, but it is not an amorphous invitation to indiscriminate participation. The invitation offers the performer the opportunity for an oriented insertion into something which always remains the world intended by the author. In other words, the author offers the interpreter, the performer, the addressee a work to be completed.
Welcome to the poetry of remixes! The following list reviews Polish remixes of songs by international artists. From the big names of contemporary music (Iannis Xenakis), to techno celebrities (Sven Vath, Shed) and pop music legends (Beyonce, Pharrell Williams), a plethora of artists have been mixed, edited, superposed, recorded and synthesised by Poles.
Sven Väth – Strahlemann Und Soehne (Recognition Mix)
Sven Väth, producer, DJ and co-founder of the cult trance labels Harthous and Cocoon Recording, got word of the remixes of a Polish musician hiding under the pseudonym Recognition. It turned out to be Jacek Sienkiewicz, one of the pioneers of techno music in Poland. Sienkiewicz deepened the sound and added an air of uncertainty to the cheerful piece. Väth didn't just like the remix - he released Strahlemann Und Soehne (Recognition Mix) on vinyl. A year later, he invited the Polish artist to Cocoon Recordings, which then released his second LP.
Yelle – L'amour parfait (The Phantom Remix)
Under the pseudonym The Phantom, Bartosz Kruczyński (known from the duo Ptaki) mainly remixes house songs, although he's just as comfortable with experimental music (with the Polish label Sangoplasmo, he released the cassette MC 1 - a showcase of new age improvisation). He's also the author of a couple of self-produced singles and recently brought out his first long-play album – LP 1 (released by the Belgian Silverback Recordings). He has many interesting remixes in his portfolio. We chose this particular remix because it stands out from what Phantom produces every day.
Shed – Citylicker (Echoplex Soundlite Touch Remix)
Shed is actually René Pawlowitz, who has been setting trends in European techno for over a decade. The German producer's song was remixed by Echoplex, that is, Piotr Śliwiński, a musician from Poland's capital. He studied at the Fryderyk Chopin Music University, played percussion and sung in a Gregorian choir. He later moved to Canada where he discovered synthesisers and electronic music. His songs can be heard on albums by Soleil, Synewave, Kanzleramt, Tresor and many others. His remix of Citylicker come out on a 12-inch single called Remixes In Four Parts: Part 2.
Pharrell Williams – Happy (en2ak Laid-Back Flip)
en2ak is one of U Know Me Records' best known faces. The Warsaw label specialises in broken nu beats. en2ak has released three LPs, but apart from that, he really enjoys remixing. He's taken on Rihanna and Pharrell Williams. The latter is known for his cheerfulness while in en2aka's version, called the Laid-Back Flip, he comes across more meditative and sentimental.
Zbigniew Karkowski – Doing by Not Doing (remix of Persepolis by Iannis Xenakis) for tape
In 1971, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, called the Šâhanšâh (described in Ryszard Kapuściński's brilliant reportage Shah of Shahs), organised the celebrations for the 2,500th anniversary of the founding of the Iranian monarchy (the Persian Empire). Iannis Xenakis, a Greek-French composer passionate about mathematics, game theory and architecture and the man to whom we owe the present form of new music, was asked to compose a monumental piece for the occasion. He created the electronic music piece Persepolis. The composition exemplifies musique concrète and was written for 8 tapes, to be accompanied by a stunning light show. In 2002 Persepolis + Remixes. Edition 1 came out. The album contains a remix of Persepolis by Zbigniew Karkowski, a sound artist who passed away in 2013.
Karkowski was a composer who criticised how contemporary music was being taught. He named Iannis Xenakis as his sole master in the world of academia. In 1989, he learned the UPIC computerised music composition system created by the Greek composer and took part in his lectures at the Université de Paris.
Karkowski's music is best heard from a set of good speakers and in a better quality than the Youtube copy. The Warsaw Museum of Modern Art makes that possible on the 22nd of August when pieces by Xenakis and Karkowski will be played.
Thieves Like Us – Never Known Love (Kamp! remix)
Thieves Like Us is a Swedish-American band from Berlin, Kamp! is a trio from Łódź. What they have in common is their love for songs derived from electronic music. Kraut rock, new wave and French house permeate their sound. Kamp!'s version of Never Known Love is softer than the original.
Magic Wand Edits – Lonely Night (Ptaki Edit)
The British label Magic Wand specialises in edits. The remix by the Polish duo Ptaki found a home on their newest and 10th vinyl. Ptaki's area of expertise is remixes, and they delve into relaxing disco, sometimes bordering on house, other times reminding of languid "Balearic" melodies.
This time the Birds (translation of Ptaki) went for a piece by an 80s band of white men with extremely luxurious hair - the Scorpions.
Read our guide to 4 decades of Polish disco, also featuring Ptaki.
Spotkanie – Czemużeś Mnie, Matulenko (Margaret Dygas Impulse Remix)
Margaret Dygas is the Polish-born Małgorzata Joanna Dygasiewicz, who was raised in the U.S. and now lives in Germany. Music-hungry clubgoers can meet her in the Berlin club Panorama while Culture.pl readers can listen to a piece which she recorded for an ethnic music mix tape that revolutionised the genre.
Contemporary German ethnic music is made up of an oddball mix, including a Georgian producer who remixes old Bosnian sevdalinka songs, Croatian klapa music (a form of traditional a cappella singing) remixed by a pioneer of German electronic music Gudrun Gut, and the electronic version of a piece sung by a Berlin choir of Koreans. This piece appears on the album New German Ethnic Music-Immigrant's Songs From Germany Electronically Reworked released in 2014 by Karaoke Kalk on CD. Dygas' ethnic-electronic hit can be found on the vinyl single promoting the album.
Moody – Freeki Mutha Fucker (Catz 'n Dogz Edit)
Discogs.com reports that Catz 'n Dogz have recorded 58 remixes, not a bad number. Our review includes their most famous one - an edit of Moodyman's Freeki Mutha Fucker. The song is a club classic. The Catz 'n Dogz remix was stolen from the Polish producer duo and released on vinyl without their consent. The Poles decided to therefore make the piece downloadable for free online.
Beyoncé – End of Time (Jimek Remix)
Few DJs get a Skype call from Beyoncé in the middle of the night. Jimek's remix stood out from 3,000 edits of End of Time and the Pole was well rewarded for his hard work. Jimek produces electronic music. Apart from Beyoncé, he has worked with Pezet and a lot of his solo productions are scattered around the internet.
(Our remix review is ongoing. If you want to keep up with the newest Re-Polished pieces of international artists this is where to look for them. Did we miss any remixes? Let us know in the comments section!)
Author: Filip Lech, translator: MJ 28/07/2014