Musical Discovery: ‘Don’t You Feel It’ by Sub Focus feat. ALMA (Sub Focus & 1991 Remix)

Whilst the original version of Don’t You Feel It showed that Sub Focus (real name Nick Douma) had adopted a more deep house style, it’s his latest remix with 1991 which takes us back to the drum-and-bass style of the DJ’s previous two albums.

It’s a remix fit for clubs and gigs. An atmospheric introduction calms the crowd whilst emphasis is placed  on ALMA’s vocals, then it quickly progresses into the DnB at the centre of the track itself. However, the balance between vocals and rhythm isn’t exactly 50/50, with the song eager to progress to the next hook: a loop of the line I need to be close to you which repeats one time too many. However, when combined with the lyric don’t you feel it too, the rhyme and vocal melody fit together seamlessly.

As for the beat drop, the first half sees drums underneath the original chorus, before a synth tune is introduced. It’s the light trill during this section which is a joy to listen to. The blending of euphoric and fast-paced music, although unequal, keeps the track moving forward in a satisfying rise-and-fall motion – getting listeners excited for the next drop whilst also offering the space to breathe in between.

As a whole, this new remix seems to suggest that Douwma hasn’t forgotten the drum-and-bass vibe of his sophomore album, Torus. Now, with a third album approaching, here’s hoping the DJ establishes the perfect balance between old and new which will keep long-time fans happy.

Musical Discovery: ‘Galway Girl’ by Ed Sheeran (Martin Jensen Remix)

After his original track Solo Dance made radio airplay in the UK, now is the time for the Danish DJ Martin Jensen to secure another club hit to cement his position in the dance music industry. With his new release – a remix of Ed Sheeran’s Galway Girl – Jensen is back with another smash tune.

The best remixes are always those with a hint of change in the original. Any large-scale changes to a track which is already successful doesn’t bode well for the DJ in question. Thankfully, Jensen was able to make the slightest of adaptations to shift the song from being an Irish ode to being a tropical club remix.

Sheeran’s vocals remain unedited, and so it’s the fluttering instrumentals underneath which is where the All I Wanna Do DJ can flex his muscles. With bouncy synth and drums, there’s more of an exotic feel in Jensen’s versions. It’s even something apparent with the chorus, where we hear the traditional violin melody switched into a light marimba-sounding synth tune. Similarly, the line ‘I just want to dance‘ becomes a fitting build-up to this aspect of the song.

With singer-songwriters such as Ed Sheeran, there are certain tracks which require some soul to give it a bit of a ‘kick’ (read more about that in my review of his new album Divide here). Fortunately, Galway Girl already is an emotive song, and Martin Jensen only heightens that specific feel in this exotic dance remix.

Musical Discovery: ‘Call on Me’ by Starley (Ryan Riback Remix)

It was a trend which started with Mike Posner’s I Took A Pill in Ibiza. A personal, emotive song about being known as a one-hit wonder ended up being the artist’s second top 10 single – rather ironically – when it was remixed by the Norwegian DJ’s Seeb. Now, Ryan Riback has continued the pattern by injecting some feel good vibes into Starley’s mellow track, Call on Me.

Adopting bouncy guitar riffs and synth effects underneath smooth vocals, the original version is calmer in nature – with a slower tempo. Whilst the chorus is more upbeat, the quiet tone remains and encapsulates the emotion of a song which was written when Starley was at a low point in her life.

“I wrote it in my bedroom late one night, on the keyboard,” she says in a press release. “Since I can remember, all I’ve wanted to do was write and sing. I even moved country to pursue my dream and spent years in London, struggling with money, but still believing I would make it.

“I’d finally got to the point where I was feeling helpless and wanted to give up. I was thinking of walking away from music altogether. That reality was heartbreaking for me. One night, this song just poured out of me. It became a way of telling myself it was going to be ok, almost like an encouragement.”

It’s an optimism present in the original, but no doubt heightened in Ryan Riback’s remix. It preserves the delicate, Olly Alexander-sounding vocals of Starley in the verses – with an exotic touch to begin with – before slowly pushing the tempo towards the chorus to suit a more electronic style. Here we see the original synth melody combined with sharp piano chords, before this is replaced with a more gritty bass sound to give it more of a dance feel.

As well as the club remix highlighting the song’s uplifting message, it’s brought a lot of attention onto Starley, with the official music video currently standing at 22 million views compared to the initial track’s 399k clicks.

Now, as the Australian singer continues supporting Clean Bandit on their North American tour, it’s worth paying attention to Starley over the next few months. The last time the band behind Rather Be picked a support act, it was 2014 and the group in question – Years and Years – were just about to make their debut.

With a successful debut single under her belt, one can hope that it’s a success mimicked by Starley in 2017.

Musical Discovery: ‘Shape of You’ by Ed Sheeran (Jack Wins Remix)

Shape of You was Ed Sheeran’s offering to the tropical house scene. With synth melodies similar to that of Sia’s Cheap Thrills, it was a song destined to make its way to club nights, discos and more. Now, the number one single has been given a fresh new burst of house in a remix by the Dutch DJ and producer, Jack Wins.

Jack’s style has always seen him introduce vibrant piano chords into his releases, and this remix is no different. Once again, he maintains Sheeran’s original vocals, with the true transformation coming with the deep house undertones. It’s still the same old Ed, but with a completely different vibe – a balance which a great remix should always aim to achieve.

With his growing list of high-profile remixes getting played by radio stations and fellows DJs alike, Jack Wins’ remix of Shape of You comes at a time where there’s a lot of excitement around Ed Sheeran’s upcoming album. Good timing and the fact that it is a refreshing remix means it’s likely to get a lot of people’s attention.

Musical Discovery: ‘Rockabye’ by Clean Bandit (Jack Wins Remix)

Rockabye as Clean Bandit’s latest release built upon this new style the trio had started to create ahead of their next studio album. However, with messy vocal chop-ups, the appearance of ‘love him or hate him’ artist Sean Paul, and it being their first track without Neil Amin-Smith, Clean Bandit’s new song got off to a bumpy start – taking three weeks for the single to make it to number one. Whilst Rockabye is quite calypso and tropical in nature, fans who miss the band’s more pop-sounding style may enjoy a remix by the Dutch DJ, Jack Wins.

 

After all, at the core of the track is a build-up and drop with vibrant piano/synth stabs, which will take listeners all the way back to Clean Bandit’s earlier releases such as Rather Be and Extraordinary. Alongside a fast-paced tempo and bubbly instrumentals, Jack breathes life into Rockabye with a remix full of colour and emotion – which is a refreshing change from the laid-back original.

However, as well as being transformative (including offering an interesting alternative to Sean Paul, with Anne-Marie singing his lines instead), the track remains heavily faithful to the original – with the vocals remaining untouched and a slight hint of strings heard in the original. It’s a version which balances old and new – and that’s exactly what a remix should be.

Overall, Jack Wins’ style is wonderfully up-beat, tapping into the vibrant piano/synth chords trend we see adopted by DJs such as Sigala (Ain’t Giving Up) and MK (Piece of Me). Jack has already been noticed by key DJs and radio stations, and now, with another high-profile remix under his belt – this time in the form of Clean Bandit’s Rockabye – something tells me it won’t be long before Jack Wins makes even bigger waves on the house scene.

Musical Discovery: ‘Smoke Filled Room’ by Mako (Elephante Remix)

As I waited eagerly for Elephante’s debut EP, I am the Elephante, to be released, I searched the DJ’s long list of remixes and singles to see if there was anything I missed or might enjoy. I first discovered the artist through his remixes, after all, and after looking for a while, I found this. Smoke Filled Room by Mako (Elephante Remix) is this week’s Musical Discovery.

I had already heard of Mako before I discovered this remix. Dannic’s radio mix of Beam is a track I stumbled upon a while back, and little did I know that the duo appeared on Children of the Wild with Steve Angello. However, I had not heard of Smoke Filled Room before Elephante’s remix and it’s great that I can now check out the original. Thanks to Elephante (real name Tim Wu), I have discovered new artists such as Penguin Prison and new tracks from people such as Galantis.

What happens next is another reason why I respect Wu’s style of remixing. As I track down and listen to the original, I notice that they are rather similar. However, that’s not a bad thing. Elephante’s remixes accentuate the best aspects of a song whilst making small improvements here and there to create a reinvented feel to the track. This is something which is very clear in this version of Smoke Filled Room.

The fluttering and trickling melody at the centre remains the same, but with a more fuzzy style. The real difference comes with the DJ injecting a bit more life into the verses, with mellow synth melodies underneath the vocals. Whilst the original is atmospheric in the sense that the soft vocals create a more laid-back dance track, Elephante’s remix remains delicate, but manages to capture new emotion and passion in the vocals and melody which may not have come to light fully in the original. Smoke Filled Room is another impressive remix from Elephante, which demonstrates his talents as a DJ to really showcase a song’s full potential.

What do you think of Smoke Filled Room? Do you think it’s better than the original? Comment below!

Liam

Musical Discovery: ‘Summer on You’ by Sam Feldt x Lucas & Steve feat. Wulf (Club Edit)

A lot of songs have taken their time to grow on me lately. Whether that’s because the song isn’t something I’d usually listen to, or because I’m not in the mood for new music, it’s only after the third listen (or more) that a track starts to finally grow on me. Summer On You feat. Wulf, is one of these songs, and is this week’s Musical Discovery.

On the first few listens, I fell in love with the fuzzy synth melody, but the forgettable lyrics were enough to stop me from having this track on repeat for weeks and weeks. It was only after a few more listens that I realised that Wulf’s soft vocals create a nice juxtaposition between these verses and the loud, pulsing chorus. However, that being said, the chorus still dominates the song, with Wulf’s voice being an unimportant interlude between drops.

Most of us will remember Sam Feldt as being the DJ behind a chilled remix of Robin S’ dance classic, Show Me Love. In Summer on You, we still see this chilled style apparent in the vocals and the opening guitar strum, but for most of the song we see a different track from Feldt. In the dance/club genre at the moment, we’ve seen many tropical synth melodies, but this fuzzy tune really does stand out.

What do you think of Summer on You? Have you heard of Sam Feldt and his remix of the Robin S classic, Show Me Love? Comment below!

Liam