Friday, November 26, 2010

q/a : from porto to portland : remix artist collective goes live as rac djs

If you download music, a lot of free, legal music, then your media library is full of the innumerable remixes that go along with every new release.

In the days of Napster, the internet was already overflowing with mp3s but today’s technology has made everyone with a laptop capable of remixing another and posting it for the world. Proliferating the current, over-abundant remix phenomena is strong sense of cohesion and camaraderie between up-and-coming musicians. One artist will remix another and then the second artist will cover the first artist’s hit single after he or she has just remixed somebody else, and on and on forever.

Radiohead, like they often are, were notably a frontrunner in this trend. After offering the digital download of 2007′s In Rainbows for a pay-as-you-wish price, the band released the long-awaited-to-be-recorded “Nude” as the album’s second single and immediately launched a remix competition. Offering the stems for download on iTunes, fans could obtain the individual guitar, drums, bass, vocals and strings tracks, and the final remixes were posted and voted on. It’s now become standard that everyone from U2 to John Legend to Bloc Party will have various remixes of their latest songs floating around the internet free for download.

So whether you’re following one of countless music blogs, aggregators, Stereogum, The Hype Machine, RCRD LBL, or Pitchfork’s Forkcast, you likely have a RAC Mix in your music library and you don’t even know it.

Go ahead, search your iTunes for “RAC Mix.”

Obliviously, mine turns up no less than 10 results tagged with “RAC Mix”–some for artists I’ve never even heard of (or at least don’t recall downloading a mp3 of) and some of infinitely famous acts. Some remixes have become totally ingrained into my head, so permanent that I don’t even recognize the original, the album version, as being the song the artist intended.

The reason for this is Remix Artist Collective remixes are extensions of an artist’s catalogue. From Porto to Portland to Paris and NYC, the current RAC lineup includes founder/coordinator Andre Allen Anjos, producer/engineer/mixer Andrew Maury, and songwriter/producer/DJ Karl Kling–past RAC collaborators have included Aaron Jasinksi (Seattle) and Chris Angelovski aka “Crookram” (The Netherlands). The current trio produces an amazing number of remixes–”depending on how busy we are, we will often complete a remix in 3-7 days”–but pure quantity is not what RAC is about. Their style strays from the ubiquitously generic thump-thump-thump of Oakenfold/Tiësto/Van Dyk Euro club mixes, rather aiming to reconstruct and expand upon a song’s original structure by modifying the arrangements, adding danceable, hip-hop drum samples, synth sequences, melodic hooks, and fresh instrumentation by RAC members.

From the Yeah Yeah Yeahs to Empire of the Sun and Holy Ghost!, Kings of Leon, U2, The Gossip, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Bloc Party, Tokyo Police Club, and Ra Ra Riot to Portland’s own The Pragmatic (which includes Anjos and Kling) and Hockey, the Remix Artist Collective has remade them all. They’ve been featured everywhere, from major indie music blogs like Brooklyn Vegan to mass media outlets like AOL’s Spinner.

From production (for two years Andrew Maury was the front-of-house sound engineer for Ra Ra Riot as well as co-producing/engineering 2010′s The Orchard) to appearances in film (the soundtrack to the 2010 Sundance selection Holy Rollers), TV (Entourage, 90210), and advertising (Verizon, NBA, Coca-Cola, JCPenney), Porto, Portugal’s Andre Anjos and Portland’s Karl Kling (“officially the newest addition” to the international collective) have most recently formed RAC DJ after four years of studio remixes. Taking their impeccable tastes on the road begging this fall, the RAC DJs are back home (and home away from home) on Saturday, December 4th at Portland’s Whiskey Bar.

Read the rest on OMN.

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