Review of Asaf Avidan, ‘One Day / Reckoning Song’ (Wankelmut Remix)
What makes a perfect remix? This question was the impetus for trawling the 18 days of music held in my iTunes library. What resulted was a diverse selection of ‘mixes’ and ‘remixes’, ‘refixes’ and ‘rerubs’, ‘versions’ and ‘edits’, encompassing a variety of styles and genres. An exhaustive list would be impractical, but a few favourites which made the cut included a lively reworking of ‘California Soul’ by A.Skillz; Norman Cook’s big-beat anthem, ‘Brimful of Asha’; and The Neptunes’ take on the Rolling Stones’ smash hit, ‘Sympathy for the Devil’. From the diverse tracks which this search turned up, one thing was clear: an excellent remix is not made by changing a few values on the desk; nor is production greatness to be found in mutating a solid track into something entirely different. In the best cases the producer has found the essential flavour of a track and infused it with fresh elements, seasoning the mix.
So what prompted this musical soul-searching? I recently downloaded Beatport’s excellent ‘Beatport Pro’ application. Excuse the plug––it really is good. While surfing the most popular dance-floor bangers, one record in particular stood out. The most frequently downloaded track across all genres was Wankelmut’s ‘One Day’ remix of Asaf Avidan’s ‘Reckoning Song’. Something as unusual as a minimal remix of a folk band topping the Beatport charts was bound to attract attention.
Asaf Avidan is an Israeli film student turned musician and driving force behind the band, Asaf Avidan and the Mojos. The record, ‘The Reckoning’, is a varied bag of acoustic folk tracks, clearly influenced by Simon and Garfunkel, which sounds somewhere between Damien Rice, and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (if you’re wondering about that reference, try ‘Rubberband Girl’). While ‘Reckoning Song’ is doubtless the highlight of the album, tracks such as: ‘Maybe You Are’, ‘Her Lies’ and ‘A Ghost Before The Wall’ are strong enough to justify the album for folk fans.
In the light of this, a minimal techno remix could sound pretty implausible; nevertheless, Wankelmut’s version is skilfully realised. ‘One Day / Reckoning Song’ is Wankelmut’s second release of 2012, his first being a reworking of In Golden Tears’ ‘Underneath The Balance’, which successfully alternates between a broken-beat and four-by-four vibe.
From the outset ‘One Day / Reckoning Song’ has all the hallmarks of classic minimal techno: four to the floor kicks; quirky samples in the drum arrangement; percussion suited to deep house. Then out of the blue Wankelmut drops guitar samples from the original track, fusing two seemingly disparate genres. The impact here is achieved by the remixer’s knowledge of how best to use appropriate elements of each genre. Changes in the pitch and intensity of the vocals are used to create strong build-ups, before letting the track drop into a smooth, deep break. The construction of the track is not dissimilar to that of Deadmau5’s ‘I Remember’. The two tracks are completely different atmospherically, however; ‘One Day / Reckoning Song’ is distinctly more acoustic.
It seems an interesting choice to mix acoustic folk with minimal techno; yet, due to the care taken in the arrangement, it works very effectively. ‘One Day / Reckoning Song’ is not dance-floor dynamite in the vein of the M.A.N.D.Y. remix of Tiefschwarz’s ‘Damage’, or Aril Brikha’s reworking of Deetron’s ‘I Cling’, but it does not pretend to be. Wankelmut may be a German noun meaning ‘fickleness’ or ‘inconsistency’ but, on the grounds of these remixes, if Wankelmut promises anything, it’s a consistency in delivery.
Review my Matthew Linehan