Monday, January 31, 2011

On Repeat: Au Revoir Simone - Shadows (Bostro Pesopeo Remix)

Remixes are a bit of an old hat these days, with creative ones few and far between. Most are all too satisfied to toss in a guest verse or crank up the tempo and call it a day. Effective remixes are those that actually manage to reinterpret the song, while leaving the nuts and bolts in place. It's harder than it sounds. What many don't realize is that reinvention of a song doesn't have to mean transforming the song into some tranced out club-banger. Indie remixes have a higher batting average than most, and Bostro Pesopeo's remix of Au Revoir Simone's "Shadows" is a shining example of how to make a song your own.

The original version of "Shadows" is a zippy affair, feeling considerably faster than its 4-minute run time. The shuffling beat and keyboard twinkle leave the lyrics no choice but to take on a rushed delivery. Perhaps this was intended to be exhilarating, but is exhausting instead. With such a beautiful voice at the helm and sensitive subject matter, it's an odd production choice to say the least.

Pesopeo gets the pacing right from the very start, using a beat that is decidedly slower than the original, resulting in a remix with a 6-minute run time. But slowing down the beat doesn't necessarily mean he is sacrificing any of the energy of the original, it simply gives him the flexibility to fill in the new gaps with interesting sounds. The vocals are pulled and stretched like soft taffy, going from out-of-breath to looped ghostly whispers that are layersed alongside an urgent synth sample that would fit nicely in a car chase scene.

He also brilliantly teases the chorus throughout the song, repeating tiny snippets of it revealing piece by piece until it evolves into a full sentence. At this point, an new layer of stirring synths signify the song is still building towards something. They coalesce and then break like a wave, leaving a see-saw horn part to shuffle the song  through the bridge. The entire song can't use more than 2 lines of the original yet is still faithful and unique, the hallmark of a good remix. We should all be so inspired.

Au Revoir Simone - Shadows (Original)

Au Revoir Simone - Shadows (Bostro Pesopeo Remix)
I looked everywhere online for a streaming version of this song, and could only find small snippets. I'm devastated, but I believe it is on iTunes. Track it down, you won't be disappointed.

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