I'm pleased to say that I have a track on the newly-released Marcy Playground remix album, Indaba Remixes From Wonderland. My contribution isn't my remix of Star Baby, which you've already heard on this site, but another track, entitled Thank You. To be honest, I think Star Baby is the better of my two remixes, but Marcy's John Wozniak and EMI Canada chose Thank You for the official release, and so I won't dispute their wisdom on the matter!

The original version of Thank You is a ballad, and mine is a, er, slightly louder ballad. It has more guitars, and I tweaked the chorus structure slightly to hopefully make it sound a little more 'epic'. You can hear a clip from Amazon.com >here<, where you can also preview and purchase the songs individually as MP3s or in their entirety as a CD album. Some of the other tracks are very fine too, with Ben Crea's electronic take on Gin and Money and Assaf Spector's wonderful Beatlesque interpretation of Blackbird being two obvious highlights, so I'd humbly suggest that the whole album would be a worthwhile purchase.

Here is my remix of a song called Webs by the Berlin-based and uber-talented singer and multi-instrumentalist Madeleine Bloom. The original song is a delicate, silk-woven thing befitting its title, with light and airy vocals overlaying crystal-clear harps and soft chromatic percussion, all accompanying some wonderful Borgesian lyrics about time and infinity. Nothing so subtle from me, I'm afraid; I did want to retain much of what made the song so frail and spidery, but as usual ended up beating it over the head with my guitar. Still, in its own way it turned out alright, don't you think? You could bounce around the room to it easily enough - and feel free to join in the hand claps with an appropriately inane grin on your face. Check out the remix below. Hey! You at the back! I'm not hearing any clapping...!

Also, check out Madeleine Bloom's debut album, Minutia, where you'll find the original version of Webs, and which you can preview and purchase from madeleinebloom.com.

Webs (James Merrifield remix)
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I had my own 'J.R.Hartley' moment recently, when I had to track down and purchase a copy of my own record on ebay. It was a promo CD for the Crystal Method single Come Back Clean, and featured my remix as the B-Side. The single was a digital-only release, but the label sent these CDs out to radio stations to get some airplay. There's a sticker on the back with the promotional spiel on it, and which ends with the words, "The single also features an outstanding remix from James Merrifield taking the original in a more guitar-laden, pop direction." That's me!

I know, I know... buying your own record is kind of sad, but since this was my first ever official release I wanted a hard copy, and the label never sent me one. In fact, I only found out by accident that it had been released at all. Also, in the iTunes and Amazon stores they have spelt my name wrong. Three cheers to everyone involved! Seriously though, I'm grateful to The Crystal Method for allowing me to get an official release under my belt, even if I'm now considering whether I need to change my last name to 'Merrified' to maximize the exposure.

The Creative Commons terms under which the remix was submitted still entitle me to give the remix away for free, which is why you'll continue to find it available for download here and on the Music page even though it's now on sale in all the major digital music stores. However, if for some reason you feel like making a 69p donation to Amazon, Black Hole Recordings, and The Crystal Method, please feel free to click here.

I finished this remix just before the events described in the previous post. It was for a remix contest whose deadline was back in December. To my knowledge they still haven't announced the results, so let's just pretend I won, shall we?

Sourya are a band I know very little about. The biography on their Myspace page says they're all native Parisians, but to my ears the accent of their lead singer has a Mancunian lilt to it. Perhaps I'm imagining this, or maybe the guy learnt English by listening to Stone Roses and Happy Mondays records. Actually, the biography does state that the band have been fiercely championed by Alan McGee, so maybe the Gallagher brothers have been dropping round for a chat.

Sourya's original version mixes elements of indie guitar pop and electro-dance into a light, spacious, and crisply-performed unit. My remix retains the basic structure of the song, but becomes an indie rock number that you might generously say has elements of Dog Man Star-era Suede about it.

To be honest, this remix is not one of my favourite efforts. But if you've already downloaded all my other remixes and still have some free space on your hard drive, feel free to add this one to your collection. Now, how's that for a sales pitch! How can you resist!

When you've had your fill of my remix, the original version of Stockholm 1973 can be found on Sourya's current album, Dawdlewalk.

Stockholm 1973 (James Merrifield remix)
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Hello, and thanks for dropping by. As you may have noticed, I've been away for a while. In my defence, I do have a pretty good excuse. Shortly after my last post I was diagnosed with a brain tumour, and then the resulting surgery left me paralyzed down my right side. See, I told you I had an excuse! Thankfully the paralysis has not been permanent - but whilst basic stuff like being able to walk or hold cutlery returned within a few weeks, regaining the dexterity to play a musical instrument has taken considerably longer. Right now I'd guess I have sixty, maybe seventy, percent of the ability with the guitar that I had previously - but that number is increasing steadily. The finishing touches to my debut record will wait until I can perform them a little better; in the meantime, I'll be trying my hand (literally) at some more remixes. So, over the next few months you'll get to hear more indie pop songs, and I'll get some practice and physiotherapy in the process.

I'm happy to say I haven't been idle in the interim; my enforced sabbatical from music has given me the time to write the bulk of my first novel, so from now on you can expect my usual entries here on music and remixing to be interspersed with the occasional one on writing and philosophy. Also, as you can see, I redesigned this site. Like it? Internet Explorer 6 is no longer supported - those handful of remaining IE6 users will be redirected to the old design - but all modern browsers should be fine. If there is demand I'll produce a simplified lo-fi/mobile version of the site as well.

Right. On with the show...

Little Boots, aka Victoria Hesketh, seems to have had a good year; I wouldn't be surprised if her debut album, Hands, makes it on to more than a few 'Best Of 2009' lists. She seems about ready to pull her hair out in the above photo, though - possibly after hearing my remix of her latest single, Earthquake. Oh, come on Victoria, it ain't that bad.

Time constraints meant that I couldn't exactly break the mold with my remix - it has the same basic Killers-meets-Duran-Duran vibe going on as I've used previously - but I'm still quite pleased with this one. Once I had the main guitars in place, everything else came together pretty quickly.

I know most artists don't like to be compared to others, but when I first heard Little Boots' original version of Earthquake it reminded me what a great band Dubstar were, especially back around the time of their debut album, Disgraceful. After I'd finished with the remix I dug that old album out for another listen, and it certainly stands up amongst the current crop of synth-pop revivalists. Little Boots even looks a bit like Dubstar singer Sarah Blackwood, don't you think? But anyway, there's more than enough quality, and variety, in Hands to justify the hype around Little Boots, so you should definitely check out the album if you haven't already.

In the meantime, my remix is available for streaming and download below, and also on the Music page. Thanks for listening!

Earthquake (James Merrifield remix)
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Here's a remix of a song by Brooklyn-based duo Matt and Kim. This is probably the least I've ever done to a song when remixing it, so if you like this track then the glory is almost all Matt and Kim's. The vocals, synths, strings, and general structure and arrangement is all there in the original version, and I just dubbed simple drums, percussion, guitars, and bass over the top.

I tried to keep the organic, 'hand-made' feel of the original; I suppose it now sounds something akin to early-nineties Cure, which is no bad thing in my book. I've no idea what the lyrics are about, but to me they conjured up visions of Tim Burton-esque animations and Robert Smith's spidery hair, hence the direction of my remix.

To hear more songs from Matt and Kim, including the original version of Good Ol' Fashion Nightmare, check out their latest album, Grand, or visit their website at mattandkimmusic.com.

Good Ol' Fashion Nightmare (James Merrifield remix)
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This was one of those happy occasions where I got to discover a great new band via their remix competition - which is precisely why they run them, I guess. The original version of Pick Up The Phone features the 80s production style so popular right now, but thankfully Dragonette also have the tune to back it up, finding the catchy chorus that eludes so many of their contemporaries.

Many of the choices I made when remixing this song were based around trying to accommodate the short echo that had already been grafted on to the vocal. I'm sure you'll notice it; the effect makes singer Martina Sorbara kind of sound like she is inside a small Turkish bath, and it works just fine in the context of the original mix, but such pre-determined effects treatment inevitably poses problems when trying to place the vocal alongside your own dry recorded tracks. In the end I chose an equally effects-laden approach for the instruments in order to blend everything together - which led me to channel the song into a vaguely Cure-esque direction. The Cure have always been a strong influence on my music, so it was good to be able to turn this remix into something of a homage. Hopefully you'll enjoy listening to it. For fans of both Dragonette and The Cure it should be, er, just like heaven...

The original Dragonette version of Pick Up The Phone can be found on their new album, Fixin to Thrill, which hits the UK on the 23rd of October.

Pick Up The Phone (James Merrifield remix)
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This is my guitar-based, power-pop remix of a song called Paparazzi by some new unsigned hopeful named Lady Gaga. Just doing my bit to help her along in her career. If only this shy, wallflower of a girl could be coaxed out of her shell, I reckon she just might go on to become the next Tiffany or Debbie Gibson. Here's hoping, eh?

This one is a little similar to my earlier remix of La Roux's Bulletproof, but with more emphasis on the guitars. It also has a guitar solo; normally I dislike them, but the middle part needed something to be the lead instrument, and my Les Paul Studio drew the short straw.

You can hear the finished track below or on the Music page, as usual. I hope you enjoy it, and thanks for listening.

Paparazzi (James Merrifield remix)
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Heavy guitars and a ton of reverb often don't mix well, unless it's a big wall of noise that you're after - which is pretty much what I was aiming for here! Star Baby is one of two Marcy Playground remixes I've just completed (Thank You being the other).

The original version of Star Baby is a very strong song, so once again my remix was really just about doing something different purely for the sake of it. In his notes on the Indaba Music website, singer John Wozniak suggested that Star Baby could stand to be speeded up a bit, since they play a more raucous version of it live. In the end I kept the original tempo, but piled on the distortion nonetheless. Basically I decided I just wanted to make a racket in the chorus - essentially the inverse of the original mix, then, which drops to half time at that point.

Somehow my version seems to have unintentionally gained an almost melancholy overtone - which is surprising considering how jaunty and light-hearted the Marcy Playground version is. Fans of the original will no doubt be sorry to find the line 'and I don't miss that girl' missing from the middle-eight, but in the context of my mix there wasn't really a place for it, so I had to take it out.

You can stream the song from the music player, and the track will be available to download from the music downloads page shortly. I hope you like it, and thanks for listening. Also, do check out the latest Marcy Playground album, Leaving Wonderland in a Fit of Rage, from which Star Baby is taken.

Star Baby (James Merrifield remix)
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