Thursday, November 05, 2015

Throwback Thursday: La Roux - Quicksand (Boy 8-Bit Remix) [Review]

This is the first in my TBT series, in which I'll review the most influential tracks from my past. What better place to start than with the most played track in my iTunes, my favourite track of all-time and arguably the most influential for me in many ways. Flashback to 2009 when I was still just learning about the vastness of the world electronic music (not yet called EDM). I had just returned to school after summer break, armed with a new secret weapon, Fake Blood; thanks to my guru who had shown me Fake Blood's killer remixes (Any Way You Choose To Give ItI Want Your Soul, Stuck On Repeat). I then showed my friends at school and we agreed to go see Fake Blood when he came to town. And unbelievably he was coming just a couple months later, with the biggest crew I've ever seen at Sound Academy; Aeroplane, Annie Mac, Boy 8-Bit, Calvin Harris, Fake Blood, Laidback Luke, Nero, Toddla T, and to top it off locals Zeds Dead and my boy Meech. Since it would be a waste to go only to see Fake Blood, I set out to familiarize myself with the rest of the lineup and the one that immediately caught my ear, was Boy 8-Bit. His combination of video game inspired sounds and progressive and playful electro style was everything I wanted in a producer. I was lucky enough to find a discography torrent, complete with a large number of mixes he had done for various radio shows. I was particularly enamored with the following video in which Annie Mac gives the first play to Boy 8-Bit's remix of La Roux, Quicksand.

Being that the world was becoming more familiar with La Roux's unparalleled vocals, through both the Skream and Skrillex remixes of "In For The Kill," I was craving anything and everything Elly Jackson touched. The Boy 8-Bit remix is more or less my standard of perfection, both when it comes to getting the most out of brilliant vocal and lyrical content, and sheer production prowess.

Immediately upon pressing play, you are transported into a nightclub with that pulsating and jacking beat, shattered snare drum, rising waves of ambiance and subtle steel pans in the distance. The introduction minute is pure perfection, setting the mood, bringing in and progressing loops. But then everything fall quickly into place once Elly's vocals are introduced. Boy 8-Bit always works the fills and effects exquisitely around the eargasmic vocals. My favourite effect comes at about the 1:30 mark, where B8B seems to use a Star Wars vehicle taking off. It's these subtleties that really take this track to the next level, and if I can get preachy for a second, I believe it's what missing in a majority of today's cookie cutter tracks.

As the vocals and lyrical content become more intense so does the music underneath. That might be my favourite aspect to Boy 8-Bit's productions; while he may use the same sample and loop over and over he seemingly grows tired of it congruence and is always subtly tweaking, bending and manipulating them to serve a higher purpose. Just as the intensity seems it's about to boil over we hit a wall and everything disappears and waves of silence. Again, in one of those trademark B8B effects, he puts the pan (effect; left to right, etc) to good use and ups the feels by rebuilding everything piece by piece, led by the steel pans until everything is back in its place, but that's not enough for B8B. Once everything fits it's time to flip things back on their heads; a quick scoop of the flange and filter, and just like that we're transported into an all out rave.

Composition 3/3
Dynamics 2/2
Improvisation/Progression 3/3
Melody/Harmony 3/3
Originality 2/2
Sonic Quality 2/2
Lyrics 3/3
Vocals 2/2
TOTAL 20/20