If I’m being honest, Seattle quartet Beat Connection‘s original “Silver Screen” strikes me as a pretty lame track. It shuffles around with its hands in its pockets, tentatively moving from one dopey section to another. It’s too slow and timid to be a good dance tune, too busy to be relaxing or blissed-out. The synths never come together into a coherent sound, and the drum track can’t decide what it wants to be when it grows up. Even at a relatively brief 4:30, by the time it ends, it feels like you’ve been listening to it forever, and yet when it’s over, you find that it’s made almost no impact whatsoever. There are some saving graces – the charming vocals, a wistful pan-pipe melody – but all in all, they’re overshadowed by the song’s indecisiveness.
What we have here, then, is a master class in remixing, courtesy of London’s dreamtrak.
Remixing a track can be a lot like editing someone else’s writing. You approach it with a critical, objective eye, take note of what works, identify what doesn’t, and start cutting. In the end, if you did it right, you’re left with the core of what made the work good in the first place, stripped of all the stuff that was holding it back. You build a new scaffolding around that foundation, and voila, you’ve given something new life.
Gone, in this case, are the busy drum track and schizophrenic synths, replaced by a punchy kick, colorful auxiliary percussion, funky horns, and a fantastic bassline that reminds me of Baltimora for some reason. The wandering, emotionally flat structure is out too, in favor of a more traditional-sounding verse/bridge/chorus setup with higher highs and lower lows. But the original vocals and that great pan-pipe melody are given new prominence, and elevate this track above your average neo-disco/electropop dance tune. Turns out that Beat Connection were on to something with “Silver Screen” – they just needed a little outside help from dreamtrak to get there.