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Markus Nikolai – Bushes (Remixes) review

Few singles get such an illustrious and star-studded cast of remixers. The list of talent on this release is frankly insane and clearly Southern Fried have really outdone themselves here. Topping the bill must be label head Norman Cook, who not only serves up an edit of the acoustic guitar-driven original but also a club remix that uses the sweet and pastoral female vocal to great effect. He loops up the “in the bushes” line in trademark fashion before dropping into a gloriously jacking beat – capturing the original’s slightly cutesy vibe but also giving it a heavy funky swing. NT89, who started out as the Bloody Beetroots engineer, goes in a different direction by giving it a full-on techno makeover as well as lethally altering the pitch of the vocal to create whole new melody lines. Manchester’s Audiofun (another recent signing to Southern Fried) does what his name suggests and mucks about with some wild pitch-shifting before dropping into the solo acapella, rebuilding the tune smartly back up around it again. The mysterious Up & Coming Hasbeens go deep and lowdown on their mix and accompanying dub, layering the vocals over an acid bassline and 909 hats.

Boris Dlugosh turns in an Italo-influenced monster of a mix, matching the fragility of the vocals with a delicate melody and even some harps on the breakdown. The legendary Derrick Carter gets three whole mixes to strut his stuff with, paring things down nicely on the two “Versions” mixes by keeping the funk flowing with some effortlessly perfect drums nestling among the acoustic guitars. His Mo’Bushes mix is a more funky house-styled mix and again, done to perfection. Japanese producer Fantastic Plastic Machine creates a lot of indie-fun with “Bushes”, adding guitars and 4/4 beats and creating something brilliantly poppy yet club-worthy. Yet another change in direction comes from Freeform Five who up the adventurous stakes by adding lap-steel guitars over a nu-jazz beat, and a samba-chorus just for good measure. The range of different approaches taken by this stellar crew of remixers is simply flabbergasting and deserves a thorough listen to take in all this genius at work.

Review: Oliver Keens