In this installment of the feature Year In Review, I take a look back at the best remixes and covers of 2013.
10 GRIZZLY BEAR / Sleeping Ute (Nicolas Jaar Remix)
Nicolas Jaar’s exquisite reworking of Shields highlight “Sleeping Ute” does a remarkable job of recharacterizing the track as a sprawling electronica epic, clocking in at over 8 minutes without overstaying its welcome. Like any great remix, it makes one appreciate the quality of the original as well as the time and energy spent in crafting a companion remix.
9 CHROMATICS / Tick of the Clock (Visione’s The Stroke of Midnight Remix)
Johnny Jewel’s music seems like a difficult entity to remix, as his music with Chromatics, Glass Candy and Symmetry is all seemingly broken down to their most basic qualities and stretched out for long durations of time. Visione’s remix of Chromatics’ essential track “Tick Of The Clock” rips right through the original with a surgical precision unlike anything else released this year.
8 HAIM / Falling (Giorgio Moroder Remix)
Days Are Gone, Haim’s debut studio LP, is the gift that keeps on giving. While it has led to many great performances, including a stint on SNL and Vh-1’s You Oughta Know broadcast concert special, it has also given us some great remixes, none better than legendary electronica artist Giorgio Moroder’s impressive touch on his remix to their early 2013 single “Falling.” The remix maintains the sisters’ thrilling energy while delivering it on a bed of soaring synthesizers and infectious robotic voices that act as a victory lap for both artists’ fantastic years.
7 SHIT ROBOT FEAT. REGGIE WATTS / We Got a Love (Paul Woolford Remix)
“We Got a Love” was one of year’s best house records regardless of Paul Woolford’s captivating remix, but it is true that Woolford put the song over the top, sending it straight to the stratosphere. Reggie Watts is one of the best underground performers around today, and Woolford’s playful manipulation of his vocals stretches their impact without diminishing their effect.
6 CAT POWER / Manhattan (Ryan Hemsworth Remix) [feat. Angel Haze]
“You’ll never be / never be / Manhattan,” coos Cat Power on Sun highlight “Manhattan.” Angel Haze’s inclusion on the track was rather timely when this Ryan Hemsworth remix was released, as it followed on the heels of the embarrassing and ugly and (very) public feud between Haze and perennial Twitter instigator Azealia Banks regarding Haze’s assertions in her raps that she “runs New York.” While that narrative was an initial draw to the appeal of the remix, its lasting power arises from Hemsworth’s fantastic ability to rework the song in a mold of Cat Power’s affecting vocals that also invites Haze’s lyrical dexterity.
5 DAFT PUNK FEAT. TODD EDWARDS / Fragments of Time (Darkside Remix)
Before most people could finish Daft Punk’s monstrous 2013 album Random Access Memories, Nicolas Jaar and Dave Harrington must have already been prepping their complete remix of the album, which features some outstanding remixes that rival the originals. The best moment comes on their remix of “Fragments of Time,” which repurposes the track as a hypnotic, dance floor filler as opposed to 1970s breezy AM affair.
4 LANA DEL REY / Summertime Sadness (Ryan Hemsworth Remix)
If there were justice in the world, Ryan Hemsworth’s seductive, enthralling remix of Lana Del Rey’s Born To Die track would have been the remix that made Del Rey into a radio force. While it was Cedric Gervais’ remix that became her calling card, the undeniably sublime Hemsworth reworking was able to stay true to the original while amplifying its best qualities.
3 DRAKE / Hold On, We’re Going Home (Holy Ghost! Cover)
The only cover to make the top 10, Holy Ghost! more than earned it with their perfectly timed cover of Drake’s standout single, “Hold On, We’re Going Home.” Not only performed with a complete respect to the original, HG! adds some 70s-era dance funk that coincides nicely with 2013’s nostalgic tint, courtesy of some of the year’s biggest singles (i.e. “Suit & Tie,” “Get Lucky,” & “Blurred Lines”).
2 A$AP FERG / Shabba (Remix) [feat. Shabba Ranks, Busta Rhymes & Migos]
“Shabba” was already one of the year’s best singles even before A$AP Ferg went and got the man himself on the remix. “Eight gold chains like / Sha-Shabba Ranks,” rapped Ferg on the original, with the face of the Mob itself, A$AP Rocky. With Shabba Ranks jumping on board for the remix, it acts both as a ringing endorsement of A$AP Ferg as well as a reminder as to why artists like Ferg look up to and respect the dancehall legend.
1 DISCLOSURE FEAT. ALUNAGEORGE / White Noise (Hudson Mohawke Remix)
The last thing anyone would think when listening to Disclosure’s collaboration with AlunaGeorge on “White Noise” would be, “This sure could use a remix!” But that’s exactly what Hudson Mohawke, he of TNGHT and Yeezus fame, did, and in the process delivering the year’s best remix. It’s a breathtaking display of what a great remixer can do for a song, and when the song reaches for and takes over the stratosphere around the three-minute mark, there is little to do but listen in awe at three budding talents reaching the apex together.