If you haven’t seen James Zabiela play, then you haven’t had the chance to see a technical wizard put his spell on a pair of CDJs. Zabiela is not only known for pushing the boundaries of DJing beyond the limits, as he is also a great producer who knows his way around the studio.
Today, the British DJ releases his latest single “Vines”, which he claims is a personal project, a labour of love that came based on inspiration rather than schedule, on his own imprint Born Electric.
I never think of a dance floor tune when I hear the word "personal", as it evokes the artist wandering with their thoughts and trying to reflect them sonically and musically, but this is exactly the case for his electronica track ‘Vines’. Here is when remixes come in handy, as Zabiela chose two of his favorite producers to re-interpret it: HOLOVR and Earlham Mystics.
The original track by Zabiela is the kind of track that takes you into the realm of your consciousness. The track is the exact opposite of a dance track, leaning more towards a meditative piece of music and sound art, which puts it in a more special place among his catalogue of releases.
Halfway through, the track changes direction from laid-back and mellow to hyped up, with the introduction of high-intensity glitched drums, finally resolving and leaving the glitched vocals and introspective pads.
“Vines only felt ‘finished’ after I came up with some lyrics and spent time mangling them through my OP1 sampler. I had fun glitching them out with some broken tape deck effects,” explains Zabiela.
The remixes come courtesy of Luke Abbott’s Earlham Mystics project and looming ambient artist HOLOVR, who portray their own interpretation of the single with two different remixes that contrast Zabiela’s original work.
The first takes it to a grittier side, more tailored to a club environment, by adding a firm classic 4/4 house beat and stabs. In contrast to the original track, Earlham Mystics’ remix portrays an “older” sound of electronic music, with a crisp mix, a gated snare and a not-so-tight-to-the-point-that-you-know-it-is-computer-music mix.
HOLOVR takes us to a smaller place with minuscule sound design philosophy. From the small arp and gentle acid sequence to the subtle drums, it works for both home and club environment. My first listening experience to this one directly transported me to a cartoonish pink and baby-blue space, filled with white rounded creatures.
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Buy the EP here.