Photay’s “All That I Need (Remix)” brilliantly sets the tone. Anchored by an irresistibly syncopated percussive line, it accumulates perfectly placed rhythmic layers and accents, then drops in Cesar and sister Sharin Toribio’s sparse vocals amidst touches of haunting modulating organ and Bernie Worrell-esque synth squeals, all while largely dispensing with traditional basslines. It’s an intoxicatingly moody (re-)arrangement, reflective of Photay’s uncanny ability to generate momentum and evoke stillness at once. And it’s reprised in a more stripped down iteration for his lovely Photay Lullaby Remix, which dials back the percussion and plays up a simple thumb piano melody from the song’s beautifully bridge for maximum emotional resonance.
Assigned with the task of reshaping one of Conclave’s most kinetic tracks, Love Injection Fanzine/Records extended family members Craig Handfield and Brandon Weems of musclecars’s “Alati Yeye Chege (Remix)” shrewdly emphasizes the soulful intimacy at the heart of the original. Gradually building from congas, the duo unfurls a joyous and percolating four-on-the-floor groove, piano and synth lines nimbly darting about Cesar’s layered vocals with the finesse of the dancers it will surely inspire. Best of all, though, is a surprise false ending that gives way to an exhilarating coda – an eruption of percussion and flute that closes out the track.
When Cesar sings, “It presents itself so naturally” on “Relax” he may well have been describing Jenifa Mayanja’s “Relax (Remix).” A study in the strength of subtlety, it stays predominantly faithful to the song’s original structure. But Mayanja cleverly reworks the underlying rhythms in stuttering fashion and peels back keyboard layers to reveal moments in dub where her gorgeous counter melodies – in the guise of vocals and synth – revel. By contrast, Mike Simonetti strikingly delivers the most radically re-envisioned version herein with his tension-filled “Rise (Remix).” Swapping out the original’s melodic progressions the track is here re-vamped with an insistent single-note bass pulse that brings it an altogether new urgency.
Together these re-imaginations accomplish what every remix project ideally aspires to: present the songs in exciting new contexts while reaffirming one’s appreciation for the original material. Listen, relax, and stay a while longer.
Arranged, Produced & Mixed by Evan Shornstein
Evan Shornstein (ASCAP)
Additional Production: musclecars
Keys, Synths, Bass, Drum Programming, Percussion: Craig Handfield
Flute: Domenica Fossati
Additional Keys: Brian 'Javonntte' Garrett
Jenifa Mayanja Remix:
Arranged, Produced & Mixed by Jenifa Mayanja courtesy of Bumako Recordings
Mike Simonetti Remix:
Arranged, Produced & Mixed by Mike Simonetti
All songs written by Cesar Toribio (ASCAP) and Scott Scribner (ASCAP)
Mastered by Walter Coelho
Digital Distribution by Seed Worldwide
Sync/licensing by Terrorbird Media
Front cover illustration by Lisa Rampilli
Layout by Paul Raffaele