Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Miguel - Waves (Tame Impala Remix)

Last week, Miguel surprise-dropped a five song collection of remixes of "Waves", a standout (and personal favourite) track from 2015's otherwise hit or miss Wildheart album. Rogue Waves, as it is called, features one version of the RnB number so arresting I felt the need to share my thoughts on both the song and the artist in question.

Opening with a chorus of very dreamy ooh's and ah's, Kevin Parker's interpretation of the track really kicks into gear around the 25 second mark: a pulsing drum fill covered in a thick layer of phaser effects brings in a wave of even more effects-laden guitars and airy keyboards - filling up and tripping out the track in the best possible way. Tasteful synth lines and production tricks are peppered throughout too, and Parker's signature bass lines from Currents return, willing to take their up their role again as a steady anchor-slash-unsung hero to the rest of the song. Through all 4 minutes and 13 seconds of the remix the clarity and precision of the the bass stands out, it contrasts with the hazy wall of sound the rest of the instrumentation has fused into, taking our heads slightly out of the clouds and grounding the production before it becomes overwhelming. 

This heavy focus on instrumentation doesn't detract from Miguel either (even if it does sorta steal the show), his crisp vocals still shine through the cacophonies around him, they've just got a little more reverb added. That alone is proof that this is a masterclass in remixing: as Kevin is able to put his own mark on the product without the original elements which made it great falling to the wayside.

That, essentially, is the beauty of the track, and Tame Impala's music. With Tame Impala, Kevin Parker interprets old musical tropes, genres and cliches - be it Nuggets-era psychedelia or the New Wave music that soundtracked the rise of Reaganomics - and spits them back out as something new, exciting and beautifully produced. His mixing is so good because he understands the history, balance and dynamics of songwriting, he lets every element of the track shine, and he never forgets the basics - and bass hasn't been this cool since Grady Martin plugged one into a fuzz pedal.

I'd recommend everyone check this purely for a blueprint on how remixing should be done, fans of Miguel or Tame Impala are sure to get a kick from this too.

Jack McGlone

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