Remixes of dance classics are a type of remix that is pretty common, but often scoffed at. The reason is that the amount of necessary creativity to create such a remix is often seen as pretty small. On the other hand, many people like re-brushed versions of familiar tunes because they remind them of good times without sound out-dated. I do understand both positions, but I think there is some truth to both.
Some examples: New Order‘s classic “Blue Monday” from 1983 is probably one of the biggest electronic dance anthems. I really do love that track, but if you listen to the original, you have to admit that it starts to show its age.
The original version still sounds fresh to me, but I can well understand that this does not appeal to a lot twenty-somethings who weren’t even born when this came out. However, there is a very nice remix by Hardfloor that made this great track accessible to a new generation of music lovers.
This remix is already 15 years old now – maybe it’s time for a decent 2010 remix?
One other example: The Utah Saints had a major hit with their track “Something Good” in 1991. I really liked that track when it came out, but didn’t listen to it for several years. It turns out that I didn’t miss much. The original version is a bit hard to listen to if you like current dance music. With its badly-looped “UTAH SAINTS!!!!”-shouts and a sound that has “90s” written all over it, this would hardly be a dancefloor filler in 2010. However, there is a newer 2008 remix, and it even has a funny video.
What I am trying to say here is that sound changes over time. Or to be more precise: The expectations on how a “modern” dance music track is supposed to sound changes over time. If there are no new versions of older tracks, these tracks either become timeless classics (it happens, but it’s very rare) or are more or less forgotten and only appreciated by those who were young when the track was released.
In a way, a “recycling remix” is a way to explain a great track to a new generation of music lovers. Doing a remix like that means translating an idea from the language of the past to the language of the present.
Many people believe that art is something that should be valued by preserving it in its original state. I believe this isn’t quite true. To prevent a piece of art from being forgotten, you have to re-imagine and re-interpret it again and again. In a way, remixing a dance classic is a way of paying respect and preserving it.