Artist: Dr. Almeja
Release Date: 2015 Jan 27
Genre: Pop / Dance
License: CC BY-NC-SA
Label: Self-Release / BandCamp
Dr. Almeja: RMXD is a release that has left me in a bit of a quandary. It’s a series of “remixes” of tracks from a number of artists from Madrid, Spain. That’s all well and good, and a neat concept, However, there are a few snags that I hit while checking out this release. Read on for more information.
Dr. Almeja: RMXD
The first thing that I find a bit difficult about this release is this: several of the tracks are remixes of pieces that weren’t released under a Creative Commons license. I know that might seem somewhat trivial given that the remixes are clearly marked as CC licensed, and given this note:
Thanks and love to all the bands that lent me their tracks without asking any questions. That’s the most generous act an artist can do, so I am deeply grateful for that.
It’s clear that all of the works are used by permission of the original artist. If that was all there was to this issue it wouldn’t be as complicated as it turns out to be for me.
Some of the tracks I like Dr. Almeja’s remixes as much as the original piece. Take the opening track, “Ray Muerto” for example. I like both Reikiavik’s version, and Dr. Almeja’s remix about equally. However, there are other tracks, like Moongardening’s Ghosts Talking at People Talking at Objects, where I didn’t really care for the remix. I love the original Moongardening piece. But guess what? The original piece isn’t licensed under Creative Commons, so I can’t really work with it.
But, then there are other tracks where I do like the original, and it does carry a Creative Commons license. For example, Tentacles Vitality. That track has a great poppin’ bass line that gets completely lost in the Dr. Almeja remix, a great disservice to the song. In fact, I feel the remix, while not horrible, just doesn’t do the original work justice.
And in one case, I was left wondering why the track was even selected in the first place. Take Sindrome Amok’s I think you know what I mean. It’s not all that great of a track in the first place, it seems more like a joke – a bunch of guys mostly fucking around with a few instruments and trying to piece something together. The remix doesn’t really make it any better. It just re-sequences and chops up the original, but doesn’t really do much else.
If anything, I would say that the majority of this work doesn’t do a whole lot for me. The re-workings / remixes don’t really bring out much (if any) new qualities in the original works. These remixes seem superfluous. In fact, in some cases I would argue that these are what I would call weak remixes, not really approaching the level of transformation that I like to hear in this type of release.
About the most positive thing I can say about this release is that it appears that Dr. Almeja has a true affection for these works, and these artists. The technical detail he does put into the production and engineering has a professional quality to it.
So, this is a release that really left me with mixed feelings. Some of the tracks are good re-workings of the original, but in most cases they seem superfluous. In some cases the original tracks are still better than the remixes, but a few of those tracks left me conflicted because they weren’t released under a Creative Commons license in the first place, putting me in the position of playing and listening to what amounts to an inferior remix, or doing without the track altogether.
Well, you can listen, and judge for yourselves: listen to both the remixes and the original tracks and see which you prefer.