Monday, October 25, 2004

Choon of the Week - Depeche Mode "Enjoy the Silence" (Ewan Pearson Extended Remix)

A variety of exciting new categories will be appearing on MMM in the near future and here is the first - Choon of the Week (COTW or something like that).

The inaugural choon is a classic song that has gotten a modern reworking. Depeche Mode are kings (although Martin Gore might prefer to be a queen) of many great musical things. They rank with Kraftwerk and New Order as the most godfathers of band-based electronic music. David Gahan, as a singer that has died, come back to life and then squeezed himself back into leather trousers again, is the stuff that rock royalty is made of. And in the realm of the remix, no other band has enlisted a more impressive or sensible collection of collaborators than DM (K&D, DJ Shadow, Fancois K, Goldfrapp, Timo Maas, Danny Tenaglia, and Underworld just to scratch the surface), which is why their upcoming 3CD remix collection looks like a must own.

Ewan Pearson is an interesting musical figure, as he has developed his reputation almost exclusively as a remixer, particularly with the Chems' "Golden Path" and Goldfrapp's "Train." Perhaps what makes him a successful remixer is that he never re-invents the wheel when putting together songs, but rather keeps the essential parts of tunes and adds certain trademark sounds, generally minimal plastic-sounding clicks, bells, and disco rhythms, which clearly indicate the source of the remix. That balance of old and new plays out very smoothly on "Enjoy the Silence." None of what makes the song such a perfect 80s synth-popper is lost in Pearson's working, particularly the sublime keyboard hooks, but there is just enough rhythm augmentation to toughen it up for some techno-style rug cutting. The second half of the mix is decidedly harder, boardering of mild acid-techno, with the vocals limited to the more subdued first part. There is nothing revolutionary in Person' vision of "Enjoy the Silence," but a good remix sometimes just needs a slightly different context (from the right person, of course) than the original to make it interesting.

Oddly enough, even with 3CDs, there is not enough room for this on the new collection, and it is only available as a b-side of the Timo Maas remix of "Enjoy the Silence." Annoying that even with a 3CD edition (there is also a 1CD and 2CD version) there are still desirable tracks that have to be hunted down, but a Pearson re-working of DM will come in handy the next time you are creating a party playlist and you are craving sensible beats that you can sing along to.

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