Paul Jackson Music

Paul Jackson Music

Saturday, 10 October 2015

#28: The Remix Album

Alongside the studio albums, occasional live albums and compilations, there is another album type that might show up in an artist's catalogue: The Remix Album. That little package of 12" extended remixes that gets sandwiched between studio album releases which may consist of a handful of usually 6 - 8 previously released, or forthcoming, 12" single tracks. As an avid collector of a band's recorded output, you may already own most of the tracks on there, or if you missed out on the now hard to find 12" releases, it's a good way of obtaining the mixes in one go, often at a budget price. To some it may be viewed as a cashing in of repackaged material, and to others a chance to obtain the extended and re-edited tracks aimed at the dancefloor. My reference point lies in the early to mid-eighties where bands such as the Pet Shop Boys followed up their debut album Please with the six track remix album, Disco. Soft Cell had followed up their debut album, Non Stop Erotic Cabaret, with NonStop Ecstatic Dancing, and Howard Jones had followed his debut Human's Lib with the straight to the point album, The 12" Album. We've also seen Madonna's You Can Dance collection and also The Human League's follow up to Dare with Love and Dancing released under the name The League Unlimited Orchestra.

The Thompson Twins did things a little differently, and instead of releasing a separate remix package, they added them to limited edition releases of their albums. In fact, for their albums Quick Step and Side Kick and Into The Gap, a limited run of the cassette album release came with either an extra cassette, or a second side of various remixes.  Their 1985 album Here's To Future Days contained a 12" single of five remixes including exclusive mixes of some of the album track all with different titles. As someone who finds artist's catalogues fascinating, these sorts of releases add extra interest to the run of singles and albums that make up a band's recorded output.

The remix collection has never really gone away, and often you will find artists, doubling up their CD releases with an extra disc of dancefloor reworking’s, if not a standalone release.

While the PetShop Boys have continued their Disco series with a remix album popping up every few years, they also included a second CD of remixes to accompany their Fundamental and Yes albums, titled Fundamentalism and Etc, respectively. 

As for the remixes themselves, these were often either extended versions of the single releases, with added instrumental passages to turn a 4 minute pop track into anything up to 7 or 8 minutes. Other mixes may include additional sounds, riffs and hooks. One of my favourite remixers was always Shep Pettibone, whose remix work would pop up on records by Pet Shop Boys, New Order, ThompsonTwins and Madonna, and while usually staying faithful to the song structure, he would often add lots of extra percussion sounds. If it was a 12" mix that opened with cabasas, shakers, cowbells and extra hi-hats, then it might just be a Shep mix. Then there are remixes which take just a few elements of a  track and add a new backing track giving a different feel to the original track. It could be a dance version of a previously mid-tempo ballad. Or a chilled out ambient mix of a previous up-tempo pop track.

And so with my recent Production material that has followed the classic release structure of 7", 12" and album (albeit in digital form), I now pay homage to the Remix Album concept with a collection of six new remixes titled Proud. Among them are examples of previously mentioned remix ideas and little tributes to some of the artists, remixers and releases that sit in my collection.

Now available at

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