After listening to the three EPs that make up The Upbeats’ De-Evolution series, I found that each one had some average or good tracks and the occasional New Favourite Thing. Whether it was Elevator from the first, Mediums and Babylon from the second, or Veiled from the third, there was always something that I’d enjoy a lot. So when it was revealed that a new remix album – Re-Evolution – was coming in September, I was simultaneously excited and nervous. Seeing a new spin on an old favourite, or an outsider improved by remixing, is always nice… on the other hand, there’s always the risk that those old favourites can be ruined by someone else’s meddling.
Re-Evolution – familiar, but sometimes busy
The Malux remix of Dungeon doesn’t fall into this trap. It’s a little less subdued and a little more chaotic, but it still feels familiar enough to make you believe that the original spirit of the song is intact. The intro is slightly more menacing and it seems as though it gets into the action more quickly, but despite being busier and more effects-laden, the majority of the track still sounds as good as the original. Following on from this, Babylon’s Rockwell remix takes one of my favourites from the trilogy – an aggressive, fast, sweary number – and goes for a slightly more low-key approach with bloopy bass after the drop and lingering tones echoing through the intro. The new layers really add to what was already a great framework, and I’d have a hard time deciding whether or not I prefer it over the original.
The next track – Annix’s remix of Dr. Kink – is one that I caught a preview of when browsing Twitter feeds from Vision and The Upbeats. When I first heard the original track I thought that it did enough to hook the listener but lacked variety later on. This has a brand new stuttery rhythm replacing the slower, bigger hits, but still never really does enough with what it has to hold the interest for too long. After this we have Agressor Bunx’s take on Joyrider, which uses the same hooks but with more tuneful components delivering the melody. The beat is also a little busier than before, and much better for it.
Re-Evolution – DOOM is still good
The latter half of Re-Evolution opens with DOOM (Black Sun Empire Remix); I praised the original tune’s variety when covering De-Evolution Part 1, and again it seems to be an early favourite of mine when listening to Re-Evolution. The rhythmic high-pitched beeping in the intro is a curious substitute for the more incremental build-up that went before, but it’s not long before everything fades down to fizzling effects and a distant, deep drum about halfway through – and then the familiar tones creep back in and it’s every bit as powerful as before. Along with Babylon it’s one of my favourite remixes, and again it’s hard to say whether I like the remix or the original more.
Wrapping up Re-Evolution is a Memtrix remix of Say Go with a melodic bassy hook that seems to be more toned down from what went before – low rumbling tones replacing the haunting sounds of the original. The album then closes with Prism (Emperor remix), which deserves credit for getting through the intro a little faster and having a more interesting rhythm and hook than the “slow but steady” arrangement I mentioned in my coverage of the original track.
In any case, Re-Evolution does a lot with only seven tracks; the best original tunes have variations that are equally as good, and that alone almost makes up for things like the Dr. Kink remix. If you enjoyed the De-Evolution series, this is worth getting hold of.
Re-Evolution is out now and can be purchased digitally on iTunes or Vision Recordings. You can stream the album on Spotify here.