Welcome to this week’s Remix Radar! To begin, the Grammy-nominations are out and — of course — there is controversy. First, The Weeknd who received critical acclaim, as well as, massive streaming numbers and ravenous fan reactions for After Hours received ZERO nominations. It’s honestly shocking and truly a mind-numbing snub that makes zero sense. Some are speculating that The Grammys did it as payback for him accepting the Super Bowl halftime performance, which happens the week after The Grammys. Who knows if this is true, but it’s a travesty that he didn’t get a single nomination.
Other issues with the nominations come from the lack of diversity with the most prestigious category, Album of the Year, and the nomination for Dr. Luke. On the former, only two people of color received nominations. One is biracial singer Jhené Aiko and the other is Eric Burton of the duo, Black Pumas, whose album came out last Grammy cycle and scored them a best new artist nomination. Even if I love the Black Pumas, it’s still head-scratching that somehow their deluxe release of the same album would garner them nominations this year. Beyond that, there are arguments for quite a few other acts to replace some of these albums of the year nominees. Let’s be real for a second, did anyone remember Coldplay released an album this year? What about Post Malone? I feel his album was not as well-received as his last. You may be wondering, what albums from people of color deserve to replace these. Well for one, The Weeknd. Outside of After Hours, Stormzy scored massive buzz for Heavy Is The Head. Jadakiss released Ignatius and received critical acclaim. Kehlani’s It Was Good Until It Wasn’t was another massive album. Brandy’s B7 has a higher Metacritic score than Coldplay and is also a veteran, which usually helps get the nomination. There’s also Chloe x Halle who received nominations in other categories. Like I said, there are arguments to be had and it feels like the Grammys missed an opportunity to raise interesting acts from People of Color during a year that has been marked by a strong movement of racial equality.
Now to the Dr. Luke controversy. The veteran hitmaker received a nomination for Record of the Year, for his production work on Doja Cat’s “Say So”. While you won’t see his name listed, his alias Tyson Trax is listed. The name is one of several monikers he’s operated under, since the accusations from Kesha surfaced. While that case is still working its way through the courts, it’s a bit disheartening to see his work appreciated and celebrated in the forum that are the Grammy awards. This is only two years post Kesha’s performance at the Grammys where she fought through years to sing about the abuse she says she endured from her former producer. Crazy that after the MeToo movement that this still happened.
One last issue that I find a bit humorous. Somehow Taylor Swift scored a nomination for “Beautiful Ghosts”. Her song for the Cats. Yes, the movie that was obliterated and laughed at has somehow received a nomination over Billie Eilish’s well-received and critically acclaimed “No Time To Die”. I guess that’s the Taylor Swift effect.
Some positives from the awards. We did see all five nominees for Best Country Album and all six for Best Rock Performance come from women or women-fronted bands. A massive step towards equality that was a massive topic for the Grammys last cycle. We also saw the “Urban” category title tossed out, which is another step towards equality.
Now back to Remix Radar! This week we feature the incredible collaborative project KUU, the final Cassius record, and a daring remix from Fakear. Scroll down for the fun!
Dua Lipa Ft. DaBaby – Levitating (KUU Remix)
Both fresh off Grammy nominations, Dua Lipa and DaBaby scored quite the roaring success for “Levitating”. The ultra-groovy, almost-disco tune gets the remix treatment from KUU, the collaborative project between Alex Metric, Riton, and Shungudzo. The project is one of the best and most exciting of the year. You can learn more about them by reading our interview here. They bring about a timeless sound that has modern sensibilities. They bring that sound to “Levitating” and bring a more surly club feel back by modular sound design that works wonderfully. You can never go wrong with Dua Lipa’s vocals on an refined and refreshing sound.
The Tribe Of Good – Siren Song (Cassius Remix)
I can’t believe it’s already been over a year that Philippe Zdar tragically passed away. This remix of the London-based collective The Tribe of Good was the last work Zdar finished prior to his untimely passing. All signs point to it being the final act of Cassius as Boombass has indicated that the project will be retired and he will continue as a solo act. The Cassius remix of “Siren Song” is quite a groovy tune and one that reminds us of the incredible work that the duo created over the years.
Grand Soleil – Sables Mouvants (Fakear Remix)
If you’re in the need of something mystical with fluttering whimsy through the prism of House, this remix is for you. Grand Soleil is the project of brothers out of France that are making some absolutely incredible music that blurs the lines of Techno, Trip-hop, House, and everything in-between. They also use a heavy dose of samples from film, video games, and anime to create an ingenious sound. I highly suggest giving them a listen after checking out the Fakear remix of “Sables Mouvants”.
Torren Foot Ft. Tinie Tempah & L Devine – More Life (John Summit Remix)
Torren Foot scored quite the success with “More Life” and the subsequent vocal version the features Tinie Tempah and L Devine. We get the John Summit remix of the vocal version and it’s slaps with devious delight. On the remix, there’s more rumble to the bass and low-ends, plus extra volume added to that really great — of what I believe is — wailing saxophone. Overall, there’s a bit more spice from John Summit’s remix that sends this to greater heights.
CRi Ft. Jesse Mac Cormack – Never Really Get There (Gerd Janson Remix)
I’m a big fan of CRi. Not that long ago he released his debut album Juvenile, which is magnificent and one that everyone needs to listen to. You can read our exclusive interview with CRi about the album here. The debut single from it is “Never Really Get There”, one of my favorite records of the year. This week we received the Gerd Janson remix of it. The underground veteran remixes it into something more synth-wavy with a more funky groove that works well to build an enjoyable sound that’s different from the original.
Moby – Too Much Change (KAS:ST Remix)
Moby has released some straight heaters with his recent remixes. The KAS:ST remix continues this string of incendiary remixes. The Parisian duo sends “Too Much Change” to the depths of sullen darkness from which radiates a steeliness and haunting sound waves. In simpler terms, this remix is a great melodic Techno experience. If you dig this remix, check out KAS:ST’s other work and you won’t be disappointed.
Felix Jaehn Ft. Nea. & Bryn Christopher – No Therapy (Toby Romeo Remix)
Felix Jaehn has been in the midst of releasing the remix pack for “No Therapy”, which has included spins from Brazilian heavyweight Vintage Culture, the fast-rising Black V Neck, and the most recent from the burgeoning act, Toby Romeo. His remix of Felix Jaehn’s highly successful record keeps the playful and warm tones, but. adds brighter textures that are backed by a piano melody. Toby Romeo does a good job at doing something different while retaining what made the original a success.
Brandon Lucas Ft. Dr. Cornel West – Got That Hope (Seth Troxler Remix)
I really dig Brandon Lucas’s original version of “Got That Hope”. It has a groovy, Caribbean type feel that creates an uplifting and warm atmosphere that anyone can enjoy. It gets the remix treatment from Seth Troxler and Seven Davis Jr, which are both great. Of the two, I prefer Seth Troxler’s spin as I always dig his work, but most importantly, he brings a thicker beat and sultry groove decorated in melodic vibes that I really enjoy.
Romy – Lifetime (Planningtorock ‘Let It Happen’ Remix)
Romy of The xx dropped her debut solo single, “Lifetime” only a few weeks ago. The sound is quite 80s, synth pop and it drapes her vocals to radiate a shimmering glamorous vibe. Honestly, I’m surprised by how well this upbeat and colorful sound works for Romy considering that her work with The xx, Jamie XX, and her other features skew to a more reserved or somber sound. The remix of “Lifetime” from Planningtorock takes the record to a ravier sound and one that feels inspired by the 90s underground or Acid scene, which comes due to the heavy use of the Roland 909. It’s a great transformation that breathes life into a new sound and one that I quitie enjoy.
Disciples – I Got You (CINTHIE Remix)
Speaking of glamorous, this CINTHIE remix of “I Got you” fits the bill. The rising act remixes the Disciples to bring about a melodic House sound that has a shiny feel and an atmosphere that clings to the air, unleashing prickly warmth over those who listen. CINTHIE is definitely one to watch in 2021 and I highly suggest checking out her most recent releases.
Steve Lawler – Dissonance (Kevin & Dantiez Saunderson Remix)
Kevin Saunderson of the Belleville Three and his son Dantiez team up on the remix of Steve Lawler’s “Dissonance”. The record carries really nice sound and one that is hard to classify. It has elements of Techno, piano-House, and underground highlights that come together to form a really interesting and brilliant sound. This is exactly what I want from a dance record.
ONE FROM THE VAULT
The xx – On Hold (Jamie xx Remix)
With Romy releasing the remix above, it sent me down the Jamie xx rabbit hole who I’m a huge fan. Two of my favorite live experiences ever, come from Jamie xx. One was his tour for In Colour, which I saw multiple times including The Shrine LA and Coachella. The other was his appearance at Outside Lands where he spun a truly magical set as a foggy mist rolled in through the trees that surrounded the stage. Honestly, he’s easily one of the best live DJ acts and one that you must see. For this week’s Vault record, here’s his spin of “On Hold” from his group with Romy and Oliver Sim. It’s nothing short of amazing.