'..it illustrates how the remixer's art can be sensitive to the integrity of the...
Martin Longley 2004-05-14
Salif Keita's glowing 2002 album is remixed for the electro-dancefloor by a largely French-based crew. "Madan" and "Moussoulou" are the most popular subjects, notching up three versions apiece. This process is anything but repetitive, as each knob-twiddling team manages to shunt off in wildly contrasting directions.
Gekko's "Madan" is given a trouncing momentum, decorated with near-intangible swirls, bolstering Keita's female chorus. The Tim Paris alternative involves a bluntly thudding minimalism, its simple-minded bass beat underpinning a repeated n'goni string-figure. Salif himself is noticeably absent. Then, The Boldz funk up the same song, justifying these multiple trips.
"Moussoulou" fares even better, perfectly illustrating how the remixer's art can be sensitive to the integrity of the original work, yet still boldly experimenting with the raw material. Plenty of acoustic content remains. Ark (Guillaume Berroyer) dices and chops, interrupting Keita's vocals, cutting the track's naked matter up into thin slices. New rhythms are created from vocal fragments. Then, Osunlade lends a Sly'n'Robbie backbone to the same song, using a sped-up dub reggae bassline and glancing snare-strikes.
The lone appearance of "Ana Na Ming" turns out to be a wise choice for La Funk Mob, stuck right near the end, but still a pronounced highlight. It revolves around a compulsive melodic line, quite simply handled. Its climax features a massing of instrumental activity, settled down on a burbling synth-line. This is just as enticing as some of the more radical re-thinks; relatively pure when set beside the preceding electro-collage tendencies.
"Here" has two alternatives.Frederic Galliano throws down a gruff house beat, overlaid with tiny loops, taking pulse-repeats to their shortened limit. Stark and pointed.Doctor L's extended remix has significant instrumental additions,with heavy cello riffs and a willowy flute.Things settle down into a mordant mood before breaking out in complete dub fragmentation.
The project's chief problem could be the under-usage of Keita's voice itself, but in a spread of stripped-down interpretations this can have a striking effect when he does rear up into the mix...