Remix albums have long been an established part of dance music culture, with roots stretching back to the instrumental dub albums of the 1970s, and the post-disco dancefloor collections of the early â80s. Over the years, the format has given us some genuine gems â Imaginationâs Night Dubbing, Gwen Guthrieâs Padlock, The League Unlimited Orchestraâs Love & Dancing, and Massive Attackâs No Protection, to name four that quickly spring to mind â but also some badly conceived fluff. For every well thought out set full of brilliantly inventive but respectful revisions, there are ten or more collections designed primarily with sales and marketing in mind.
Traditionally, successful remix albums tend to fall in to one of two camps. There are those that enlist one or two producers to deliver dub-style revisions in their particular dancefloor style. The other, more-often pursued option is to hand over the master tapes to a handpicked selection of producers who can be trusted to deliver interpretations that take the original material in a variety of different directions. Itâs this latter approach that Golf Channel Recordings boss Phil South chose for Orange Cloud Version, a set of reworks of tracks from 2013âs Spike Wolters retrospective, Orange Cloud Nine.
In some ways, Woltersâ original recordings were ripe for reinvention, despite their lo-fi nature. While often eccentric and out-there, the Dutch artistâs music was always inventive, evocative, trippy and emotion-rich, with clear nods to blue-eyed soul and drowsy, psychedelic pop. Such rich and colourful source material gave the chosen remixers plenty to play with.
Even so, Orange Cloud Version could have been a bit of a mess. That it isnât is, of course, down primarily to the skill and inventiveness of those involved, though praise must go to South for his choice of remixers. He was always on solid ground selecting, say, Juju & Jordash for the project, and their version of âBaby Loveâ â all drowsy, dreamy vocal loops, Balearic chord progressions, fuzzy guitar solos, clattering percussion and post-punk bass â is one of the collectionâs most mesmerizing moments.
Interestingly, itâs the reworks that donât try too hard to please dancefloors that often live longest in the memory. While Sexicanâs version of âSometimesâ sounds like a future post punk disco anthem, it lacks the tactile, early morning warmth of Mark Eâs deliciously wide-eyed take on âGoodnightâ, or the dubbed-out psychedelic bliss and tropical humidity of Abelâs brilliant revision of âCar Crashâ.
In the end, itâs the remix that finds a midway point between these two extremes that really sparkles. It comes from Staffordâs Mind Fair, whose own 12â excursions on Golf Channel tend towards the live and loose, yet still retain a clear dancefloor focus. Their version of âFooling Aroundâ â a sparse, reggae-influenced chunk of saucer-eyed lo-fi pop â is little less than a total overhaul. Over the course of 12 spellbinding minutes, the duo reinvents this hazy gem as a groovy, stretched-out chunk of baggy dub disco complete with jammed-out electric piano solos, meandering horn lines, Latin-influenced piano solos and tumbling guitar riffs perfectly complimenting Woltersâ effortlessly loved-up vocal. Itâs everything that youâd want for a remix, and much more besides.
A1. Baby Love (Juju&jordash Re-Dub)
A2. Goodnight (Mark. E Remix)
B1. Car Crash (Abel’s Remix)
B2. Orlando Du Montereas (Sexican Remix)
C1. Sometimes (Sexican)
C2. Kanti Dadum (Abel’s Remix)
D1. E.s Rever (DJ Nature Remix)
D2. Fooling Around (Mind Fair’s Secret All Night Carnival Version)