Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Ask Soft Cell. I shook 'em up...

Over-analyse the role of a remix and you could get lost in waffle - best to just treat it as a genre, an art in itself and judge the track on its own merits. Which is why this album of re-heated Soft Cell songs deserves singular attention. It's fucking amazing. A motley collection of hipper-than-thou producers and genuine 'Cell Mates' (The Readers Wifes, Richard X, Manhattan Clique, Yer Man, Cicada, Atomizer and George Demure) have taken Marc 'n' Dave's old C90 cassettes and digitized them into something as bright as a new pin.

Not all of the 26 tracks are the sharpest though. That's fine. And very in keeping with the state of most albums these days. But when it's good on Heat: The Remixes, it's VERY good. Yer Man pull off a stonker with the The Art of Falling Apart album track Heat and Readers Wifes tackle my FAVOURITE Soft Cell track Soul Inside. This single is refreshed and suitably whooped up into a frenzy. It's a project clearly accomplished with integrity: Marc and Dave were involved and happy with it.

Soft Cell were always into their remixes even before they knew what they were. They and The Human League followed up massive breakthrough albums with a remixed version. Dave Ball recalls in the sleeve notes: "The Human League and producer Martin Rushent had realised the potential of the remix at the same time we did - call it synchronicity. The remix versions were very important to us because it was the advent of club culture. In the early 80s we didn't have computers or recall for mixing, so it was all very physical... there could be four of us all with our assigned mute buttons and faders, so the mixdown became like a mini performance in itself. Marc Almond and I typically go into the studio and record all ideas for a track that would initially be around 7 minutes long. We would then reduce that to the best three and a half minutes for the single/radio edit. This process sometimes meant removing a verse or more. If you listen to the 12 inch versions of Bedsitter, Torch, Soul Inside and Memorabilia you'll hear lots of extras."

A Man Can Get Lost (Marcello Remix) - Soft Cell (zShare)
- They've managed to turn one of Soft Cell's 'non songs' into a song. And, dare I say, better it. The guitars give it a brand new edge.

Where The Heart Is (Marcas Lancaster Remix) - Soft Cell (zShare)
- A beautiful Soft Cell single given a Gok Wan-like makeover: it went into the studio feeling like an ugly duckling and came out a swan. Marcas Lancaster understands this song completely by not trying to outwit and overpower.

Sex Dwarf (The Grid Remix) - Soft Cell (zShare)
- This is Dave Ball's own re-think. He's given it a spit and a wipe and it's come up lovely. But still as filthy.

Surrender To A Stranger (MHC Remix - Edit) - Soft Cell (zShare)
- From the Last Night in Sodom album, it's a chunky refit that thankfully has kept the comi-tragic lyrics.

Read a great, comprehensive review of the album here at Underwuld Music.


V said...

Excellent, Phil! I'm looking forward to getting my hands on this collection of remixes.

I've always loved the original extended version of "Bedsitter" where Marc breaks into that "rap" part towards the middle.

Joseph said...

I finally picked this up at the shop this week and I keept forgetting to listen to it...which seems like an utterly insane thing to say. but there you go. I'll have to break into it and listen to it soon.

At the same time I picked up the deluxe edition of Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret. WHAT AN AMAZING ALBUM TAHT IS!