’ve always loved the refreshing feeling of creativity that comes with the release of a remix album. There’s just something so special about the ability of a producer to reimagine & recreate someone else's track that I can’t get enough of.
With this being the case, Excision’s newly released ‘Apex’ remix album gave me lots to think about. Re-imagined tracks from the likes of Mastadon, PhaseOne, Downlink & Subtronics, the LP was looking set to be a dubstep fans wet dream.
Ranging from G-Rex’s experimental, psychoactive recreation of ‘Exterminate’ to Champagne Drip’s bass-boosted reverb-clusterfuck take on ‘Hoods Up’ - every track on ‘Apex: The Remixes’ glistens with its own sense of ingenuity.
A crowd favourite from the original LP, Slander & Shadient's take on ‘1 On 1’ managed to de-clutter the originals metallic soundscape, flipping it instead into a euphonic stream of winding, high-pitched synths. The loss of some of its 'oomph’ might displease some, but the stretchy, echoing beats still give the final product plenty of firepower.
On the other end of the spectrum the squelchy riddim of brothers Squnto & Boogie T was clearly reflected in their reworks of ‘Fight Through The Pain’ & ‘Fall’ respectively, each toning down the bass to make way for a wash of stop-start beats & wacky samples, trading metalstep out for a bouncier, more minimalistic vibe.
Whilst creative, the constant bunny-hopping between beats & samples felt ultimately disruptive to the flow, and the pair paled in comparison to Subtronics’ equally jumpy remix of ‘Vault’. Dubbing his own samples sparingly over the original, he seamlessly combined dubstep and wonky riddim into a concoction that never felt like it slowed down.
Contrary to the opinions of Excision’s fandom ‘Apex’ was by no means flawless, and some of the tracks still failed to jump out at me despite their rework. Kompany’s edits on the fairly lackluster ‘Power’ improved the sound design but failed to make the track feel any more memorable, while Blunts & Blondes’ flip of ‘Where Are You’ added more bass, but sadly at the cost of the ominous vibe that was the only memorable feature from the original.
Where some failed to impress, others undeniably blew me away. Spag Heddy found a sensational balance between trap synths & dubstep breaks with his vocal remix of ‘Home’, whilst PhaseOne & 12th Planet’s metalstep adaptations of ‘Die For You’ & ‘Wake Up’ creatively flipped two vocal-laden tracks into bass-boosted, monstrous forms of their original self.
Taking it from someone who knows nothing about producing music - the key to crafting a good remix lies in finding that clean sense of balance. Mastadon’s shrill metallic bass added depth and tempo to the already ominous ‘Tonight’ whilst Downlink’s echoey edits of ‘Rumble’ couldn’t help but enhance an already perfect track - each remix adding new elements while still finding that perfect level between new & old.
If I was forced to choose a favourite, it’d be hard for me to look past Black Tiger Sex Machines reinvention of the wonderfully rounded ‘Gold’. Flipping that balance between dubstep & trap into a smorgasbord of future bass & drumstep, all the while maintaining that overwhelming sense of power that came with the original - you couldn’t have asked for a more well-rounded product.
Altogether, ‘Apex: The Remixes’ is well worth an hour of your time. Featuring wonderfully creative tracks from some fantastic talent, the finished product feels as much like an enhancement original as anyone could have wanted, with a little something for everyone. Make sure to give it a listen HERE.
As always I hope you enjoyed the read. Party safe, stay hydrated, and I'll see you next time.