"Ah, so happily we live, Without misery among those in misery. Among people in misery, We live without misery." From the Dhammapada
The Children of Pop write music for people who live among those in misery. Bringing joy to people during shattered moments in their lives is a gift. Many musicians plead with us to share their desolation, too willing to sell songs of sadness with the hope of us understanding them. Underneath the layers of voices on songs like "Jealous Lover" and "Taking Over" are reminders that at the end of the day, everything is going to be just fine.
On the other hand, when the same songs and their digital stems find their way into programs where the practice of cut/copy and paste can reshape their meaning, then new forms emerge.
The Pre Madonna REMIXES showcases many of this city and state's vanguard musicians influenced by the history of the remix aesthetic. Each remix bears each artist's distinct fingerprint; yet each song also bears the mark of respect for the original composition.
Yung Slutty makes jealousy feel so playful and wistful. With block piano chords and chopped vocals, "Jealous Lover" bounds and rebounds around shimmering keys, occasionally pausing to shift the rhythm between time and space. Promenade's reconstruction of the same song, however, begins to take a straight ahead approach until a brilliant touch of screwed down sounds turns the song into a soulful ballad of regret. The two remixes together share the song's original point of contemplation without sacrificing its intent.
Uniquely gifted songwriters in their own right, Josiah Gabriel, LIMB, Ronnie Heart, (aka Alan Palomo of Neon Indian), and WEZ deconstruct Children of Pop's "Taking Over," exposing their musical prowess. The cavernous sounds of the original are brightened with pitch-affected vocal accents and rhythms with muted swagger. Josiah Gabriel fills the spaces of the original with flashes of sonic interruptions before fading over time.
WEZ transforms "Taking Over" into a piece D'Angelo would approve of. Like the most intimate exchanges between people in the wee hours of the night, his vision of Children of Pop's original challenges the listener to look away. Flirtatious, yet cautious, the track bends, but doesn't break. It carefully courts the listener to the break of dawn.
Ronnie Heart and LIMB push forward the finer elements of "Taking Over's" musicianship. On one hand, Ronnie Heart turns the song on its head, forcing the guitar's funky charm to take precedence over the original's meditative presence. Conversely, LIMB generates a confident refrain that resembles more of a demand than the song's original sentiment of compromise. Summoning Afrika Bambaataa's beatmixing reminiscent of his sampling of "Trans-Euro Express," he turns the downtempo original into a house party masterpiece.
The innocent charm of Children of Pop's "Jealous Lover" and "Taking Over" is hugely engaging from the start and its diverse remixes never fades over time. These remixes are neither superior nor lesser than their predecessors, but flattering installations of how to correctly reinterpret music in the 21st century.
Check out Children of Pop's Pre Madonna REMIX Party at Fitzgerald's Friday, January 16th at 8:00 p.m. with Josiah Gabriel, WEZ, Ronnie Heart, Promenade, LIMB, DJ Yung Slutty, and visuals by FLCON FCKER.
Listen to the Pre Madonna REMIX here.