Monday, May 19, 2008

Theo Parrish – “Falling Up” (Carl Craig remix)

Carl Craig is one of the most prolific remixers on the scene these days. While some of his stuff is a bit ‘miss’ for me, he does occasionally produce something that is genuinely jaw dropping. For examples, check his remix of “Domina” by Maurizio, or his reworking of “Nairobi” by As One on New Religion. Both of these remixes trawl the deeper and more emotional recesses of dance music.

On this remix of “Falling Up”, Craig does something that looks much more to the dancefloor, and in the process creates an absolute monster.

Starting off with an even-tempo clicky rimshot-driven beat, it loops round and round for a minute or two, before the pivotal sound of the remix fades in. It’s a grinding, droning one-note chord noise, pulsating in time with the beat. It covers three devastatingly simple notes over 2 bars, then returns and starts the cycle again, over and over. It’s like the techno interpretation of the scene in “Close Encounters” where they are determining the perfect way to communicate with the aliens.

“Root note.”

“Root note again.”

“Go up a perfect fifth.”

“Up another perfect fourth, and hold it.”

“Ok – keep repeating that.”

Once this pattern starts to burn itself in your brain, and the beat is locked in, then the kick drum drops and the intensity cranks up another notch. This is a ferociously addictive record. (What is it about mantra-like repetition in music that appeals to a certain part of your brain?)

Another couple minutes of the thudding kick drum, the neatly clicking rimshots, and the grinding, pulsating, insistent synth, and then a set of neatly shuffling brushes are added to the mix. Suddenly, the kick drum has a lifting offbeat to play off against, a slice of freshness is added to the unrelenting drive of the chord drone, and from nowhere, the track has bounce.

Another minute, and a held synthline comes in, hanging on the 5th.

There’s something about suspended notes over driving drumbeats that is magnetic, and for some reason, none more so than the suspended 5th. As it grows and grows, suddenly there is a slight phase, and dissonance, and suddenly the suspended synth note starts to wobble and diverge, with two identical notes slowly parting tuning company. The further they go apart, the more harmonic friction is created, the more energy is released.

And all the time, the grinding chord is pulsing out the 3-note pattern, over and over. This is a heavy riffing monster of a track.

Released in 2006, it’s slightly old now (and a bit hammered, as it was understandably wildly popular when it came out) but it’s difficult to believe that this won’t be one of “the” remixes that will withstand the test of time, and end up rightly regarded as a classic.

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