By now, Sumsun has a reputation for transforming songs by digging the jewel out of every track remixed and stretching it over the entire length of the new version. When he's not working on his own stuff (check out the new "Lulla Drone" demo just posted) Judson Rogers has been busy lately with a spate of new recreations based upon acts with Florida ties -- Sleigh Bells' Derek Miller used to play in Pompano Beach post-hardcore act Poison the Well, ANR is based in Miami, and Sea Things hails from Sarasota.
Listen to all three new remixes as well as their original versions below.
Sumsun's remix of Awesome New Republic's "Big Problem" (off Stay Kids)
is probably the best example of the stretch approach -- especially
because the song is already so grand and sweeping. Not just in sound, but
in gesture: consider the reference to the BP oil spill in the title's initials.
Slowed down and swaying spookily, this version of "Big Problem" is even more well-suited to the video (snippets of a Lucas Levya-directed slasher flick made in conjunction with Borscht that we discussed here earlier). Sumsun makes sure that the song never digresses too far from its eerie, Halloween theme-inspired intro as it materializes from scratchy, muffled whirring at the beginning and stays within earshot for a long, long time. The beat, now slamming harder, creeps its way in, briefly dropping off and then defiantly reappearing for a breakdown that could only be described as steady (the BPM in the remix have decreased significantly). And then it all melts away.
Maybe it's the introduction of DJ and dance track extraordinaire The Get to Sumsun that prompted such a Flying Lotus-inspired project, like this Sea Things' "Sad Girls" remix. Sea Things is producer and visual artist Michael Floering and his album, See Thangs
(available for free download at his BandCamp here), is a
hip-hop heavy landscape of glitchy, fragmented samples and synth that
morph into beautiful whirls of color. With Sumsun in the picture, it's a
head trip of audial exploration.
The original "Sad Girls" starts out quite literally booming. Remote layers of Bollywood soundtrack vocals and swirling synth are nearly crushed by the song's banging mass. Then the kaleidoscope shifts into something more melodic, rhythmic, before the beats fall and melt into what sounds like a digital ice cream truck, delicate but supremely loud. An epic near-collapse characterizes almost everything Sea Things touches.
That quality is nowhere to be found on Sumsun's remix of "Sad Girls," but that's okay. It's a magical transformation, more about a buildup than a breaking down. The depth isn't lost, but instead it's stretched out and softened into a structure that's good for dancing, not just bugging out. The last bit of the original song -- the aforementioned twinkling ice cream theme -- is layered heavily throughout this version, and it glows.
The remix, via Soundcloud.
Sea Things - Sad Girl (Sumsun Remix) by Sumsun
All of Sleigh Bells' tracks are so structured for hype that they lend
themselves to remixes and mash-ups by virtue of existing. Just type in
their name on Hype Machine and try to find a version of your desired song that hasn't been remixed.
Add Sumsun to that list of skilled re-workers. Pre-Sumsun, Sleigh Bells' "Run The Heart" (off 2010's Treats) has the same effect as a siren: shocked surprise before the ear settles into it and finds its accidentally musical rhythm. (That's when Alexis Krauss' breathy vocals get really pretty and things get danceable.) While the Sumsun remix of "Run the Heart" follows the original outline -- especially that anxious buildup -- here it gets starry-eyed treatment, veering into a realm that resembles something fit for daydreaming or space travel, albeit with a glittery, still-heavy, dance-floor veneer. Yes, "Run The Heart" disappears into a cloud of smoke here and reemerges as something that's classic Sumsun. And that's a good thing.
The remix via SoundCloud: