Mix of Life
- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2002 1 Oct
Sparrow Records has discovered a new low-cost source of revenue for their company – it's called the remix album. Unlike compilation albums however, there's an art to creating a good remix. It's more than simply putting a pop song to a new beat you can dance to, like so many past remix albums have done. There needs to be an element of creativity in the creation of the drum loops and sound effects. Thankfully, Sparrow's getting it right. Their first foray into the remix album genre was Avalon's
In some cases, the changes are radical and creative, but some of these tracks are little more than routine dance mixes. Jan Pulsford's "Anything Is Possible (Madame LaPulse Mix)" and Tedd T.'s "Even If (Prefab Mix)" are examples of the latter. Tedd T.'s "Even If (Prefab Mix)" trades the R&B textured hip-hop of the original for a heavy techno beat, but it's still a little predictable for a remix and it becomes uninteresting after seven minutes. The purity anthem "Dismissed (Omega B Mix)" as transformed by Aurel M. has more of an authentic hip-hop sound, and while Shon Lock's somewhat humorous rap is a welcome addition, there are a few too many "what's" and "uh-huh's" sprinkled throughout. "With All My Heart (Beatmart Mix)" is less successful in its transformation from funky teen pop to syncopated hip-hop. It starts with a rap that sounds tacked on, then shifts to a slower R&B groove á la Destiny's Child that doesn't quite work. Then there are the two "H20 Mixes" from Donnie Scantz, which generally strip down the originals for sparser arrangements. "Nick of Time (H20 Mix)" is kind of cool in its transformation from soulful R&B pop to industrial, but "No You (H20 Mix)" sounds like a second-rate version of the original with a distracting electronic squeal in the chorus that sounds like someone slipping on a banana peel.
These mediocre tracks are balanced with some excellent new renditions of ZOEgirl favorites. The best attempt at hip-hop appears in Kene "Ghost" Dell's "Living for You (The Ghost Mix)," which has a better integrated rap courtesy of GRITS and a very exciting though crowded arrangement. Most of the best tracks are handled by Tedd T., such as his "Turbo Radio Mix" of "Here and Now," which features a more vibrant sound with thicker drums. It's bolder and less bubblegum sounding, worthy of a spot on a movie soundtrack. Some fans may struggle with Tedd T.'s "I Believe (Trip Rock Mix)" which changes the dance-pop sound of the original into an acoustic pop arrangement with an explosive rock chorus. It works so well not because it's now a rock song, but because the music accentuates it as an anthem of faith that's inventive and different from the original. Similarly, the teen-pop ballad "Plain" is given a rhythmic folk/R&B treatment in Tedd T.'s "Beautiful Chill Mix," reminiscent of Lauryn Hill and Nicole C. Mullen. Probably the best track is Tedd T.'s "Nova Mix" of "Waiting," which is a faster and more energetic hip-hop shuffle than the original, with some light jazz instrumentation later in the song.
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