Top Remixes of 2011
2011 was a vibrant year for the remix. Creating such masterpieces is not for the faint hearted and when I look at the producers behind each track on this list, it’s coincidentally a culmination of my most played artists. To me, a great remix takes the foundation of an original song and re-works it to tell a completely different story in a way that no one could ever anticipate.
Presenting my round-up of the Top 10 Remixes of 2011, a handcrafted list of the best musical stories told this year.
10. Adele – Rolling in the Deep (Jamie XX Remix)
Jamie XX’s remix of music maven Adele is like something I’ve never heard before. While offering a highly-danceable and chopped up bass line, the remix also lets her spectacular vocals shine through. I especially love what Jamie XX did when he intermixed Adele’s original vocal tone with a more masculine, slowed down version.
9. Foster The People – Helena Beat (Lenno Remix)
Like any monumental event in life, when I first heard this remix I remember where I was, what I was wearing and what I was doing. I was 14 mins. into The Knocks – Jetlag Jams Part 1 and this came on and stopped me in my tracks. I quickly referenced the tracklisting to find out it was a remix from Lenno, a 16-year old disco producer from Finland. From that day on, Lenno has found a comfortable spot on my go-to list for disco remixes. His musical stylings are quite promising and I can’t wait to see what he’s going to put out in 2012.
8. Empire Ants – Gorillaz (Miami Horror Remix)
Released at the beginning of 2011, this remix pairs Miami Horror’s disco sound with the dream-like vocals of Gorillaz to create a musically ethereal production. I’d like to think this is the ‘Crave You’ of 2011.
7. Fabian – Last Flight (Justin Faust Remix)
This chilled out disco remix from Justin Faust has popped up in several of my favorite mixes for good reason. It’s an infectious trip back into the days of 80s synths and simple lyrics.
6. Andy Murphy – Can’t Keep Me (Geisha Twins Remix)
If this song was out at the time, it would’ve been the song I danced down the aisle to at my wedding. It’s that damn catchy piano! To be honest, I can’t seem to find the original, but I’m sure it’s not as spectacular as this joyous remix the Geisha Twins have provided us with.
5. The Rapture – How Deep Is Your Love? (A-Trak Remix)
This track is proof that a good remix starts with a great original. Dedicated to the late French electro producer DJ Mehdi, A-trak turned The Rapture’s vocals into a dancefloor anthem. With some dramatic piano and electronic beats, the groove of this remix definitely deserves a Top 5 spot on this list.
4. Adele – Set Fire to the Rain (Plastic Plates Remix)
The award for most remixed female vocals of 2011 definitely goes to the ever-talented Adele. Although the original song is intrinsically powerful, Plastic Plates has successfully put his own spin on it. Like a great wine and steak pairing, both parties are great enough to stand on their own, but when combined create something equal to a musical Megazord (re: Power Rangers). Don’t forget to catch Plastic Plates in Toronto on January 13.
3. Niki & The Dove – Mother Protect (Goldroom Remix)
I love when songs kind of sneak up on you, rob you for all your worth then make you dance. Thanks to Goldroom and his Niki & The Dove remix, dancefloors around the world will never be empty. The subtle start of the song soon crescendos into a superb climax of head-bobbing beats and before you know it you are jumping around belting out the chorus. Since it’s release about a month ago, noted producers such as Aeroplane, Edwin Van Cleef and The Magician have featured this remix in their own mixes which has definitely contributed to its rapid success.
2. Deadmau5 – Raise Your Weapon (Madeon Remix)
2011 saw the rise of this French producer who, at the ripe old age of 17, has taken the house music scene by storm. Just shy of half a million SoundCloud listens and about 3 million YouTube views, this remix from Madeon is a showstopper. He’s taken the deep dark beats of the original and flipped them into an unrivaled party anthem.
1. Lykke Li – I Follow Rivers (The Magician Remix)
This one was a no-brainer. This remix of Lykke Li is the best transformation of an original track I’ve ever heard. Yes EVER. When you can take a melancholic, somber melody and turn it into an uplifting love song that is worthy of any dancefloor, you’re alright in my books. And what really amazes me is how by simply adding some piano chords and a catchy beat, The Magician can tell a completely different story and transform what was an okay song into an absolute work of art.