Let me start by saying I am an idiot. I should never have given out three different tracks to remix, because it made this competition next to impossible to judge. Its hard enough choosing the best remix when everyone is on the same page with the same samples and track. And I knew that – I knew that because of the last remix competition. So thats on me, my bad. But what I also didn’t account for was some of you who entered last time got so much better with all aspects of you music production. Paul Bradley, Shaun Armstrong, JDubz, Sunny & Deck Hussy and Ben Venom, amongst others all just blew it out of the water. I would say roughly half of the remixes I got this time could have been released. Ok, some were not suitable for my label, and some were not quite up to scratch with clarity or production, but the essentials were there, the remixes were musically accomplished and just too good really. In the end, I had to disqualify or choose remixes over others just based on stupid nit-picky type issues – such as slightly too much bass lol. The eventual winner, Shadowplay, won by the slimmest of margins. I spent a few days just listening to my favourites, the top 8 or 9 remixes thinking “Shit. Shit. How am I going to decide?” I seriously considered flipping a coin lol – and even now, I am not sure if I got it right. What I do know is that we will be hearing more from all of the names mentioned above, thats a certainty.
Below are the winners, and then the runners up who will be appearing on the KFA EP. And I have asked all of the winners to submit tracks for future KF releases – thats how close it was and how impressed I was. Congratulations, and a huge thank you to everyone who entered. It was a brilliant and tough competition with talent to spare. Below is the stuff that I wrote about each competition entry usually as I listened to it, along with sound clips from those that didn’t quite make it!
In the end it came down to these four as my favorite remixes, and it was really hard to choose just one of them:
KF69 – VINYL 12” WINNER
Richie Whizz – Song Of Angels (Guess Who ’96 / Shadowplay Remix)
This one immediately grabs the attention with its heavy edits and tight, clever, hectic intro. Lovely rolling amens roll into a nice piano break with the vocals. This is the first remix to replay the piano and still keep the vocals in key. Lovely piano work as well. The name of the remixer is a little worrying though – who am I listening to? I hope its not Paul Elstak lol. Yes, a very good remix, a contender for sure!
KFA89.01 DJ Brisk – Make It Rough (Sunny & Deck Hussy Remix)
Like Jdubz and Hannibal Selector, Distrax and Paul Bradley, I find myself looking forward to hearing what Sunny & Deck Hussy come up with. Because I know its going to be a good one – and this doesn’t disappoint. What a fucking great breakdown this has. Really different and a very clever replay of the original stab pattern. I actually didn’t realise that was what was going on until it dropped it. And then the same trick again with the piano breakdown – the original riff, but changed and folded into something altogether original. Yes, very impressive indeed! I had to listen to this one, and the Shadowplay remix back to back numerous times before making the final decision, and in the end it came down to simple preference – I like the Shadowplay remix a tiny bit more – like, 1% more. It was a choice between best thing ever and other best thing ever lol.
KFA89.02 Jimmy J & Cru-l-t – Cant You See (Paul Bradley Remix)
Another remixer from the previous competition, whose work didn’t win that time around, but whom I tagged in my head for future KF work even so. He just needed a little time, I thought, to up his game. And this remix doesn’t disappoint. Nice fresh intro breaks, very rough and ready sounding but not in the production, which is tight and clean. Oh yes – using the original stab but messing with it, and then hitting hard with the beats. I like this one a lot!
Its also complimented by some nice little “I have the power” vocal snippets. The piano breakdown is the same as the original, but drops into a surprising accappella section rather than doing the obvious. Yeah, this is cool. Different, but in a good way. And from nowhere, it breaks into a lovely string section, which for a year or so was a pretty common trait in hardcore. The entire vocal time stretched over the breakdown is a risk that I am not sure pays off…but then it zig zags again into a different riff. This is a very impressive remix. Oh shit, “oh oh” stabs as well? Okay, this just gets steadily crazier. And yeah, this is my favourite so far. Great remix.
KFA89.03 Dj Brisk – Make It Rough (Jdubz Remix)
Another entry from Jdubz, and its up to his usual high standard. This is really different. Stomping kick and twinkling piano intro lead to a softer breakdown with distant bass. This reminds me of a trance track – back when trance was really good, even though its definitely hardcore. Oh man, a filtered lead section. Okay, this is really not appropriate for the vinyl – thats far too modern for the era I am looking for, but god damn its good. This might actually be my favorite of the remixes, but its just too modern for the vinyl. Unless it does something awful, this one will be going on the KFA EP. Its an excellent, really different take on the track. A proper remix in every sense of the word. Really good stuff…
The three above who didn’t make it onto the vinyl will of course be the leads on the KFA “Competition Winners 2” EP, and will be joined by:
KFA89.04 Dj Brisk – Make It Rough (Ben Venom Remix)
Frantic and chaotic from the start, this one is in your face as soon as it starts. Breakbeat and 4×4, like the original, it charges along with clever variations on the “make it rough” sample as well as great sound effects and atmospherics. The breakdown is proper – a nice intro to the piano and a great string / whine noise behind it. Oh yes, this is a good one. If this one doesn’t win the competition for the vinyl, it will appear on the KFA EP for sure…My only reservation about this remix is the triplet section in the middle, which is great but seems a little too modern and not needed. But still, it remains a stunning remix.
KFA89.05 Ex Ec Edition DJ Brisk – Make It Rough (Paul Bradley Remix)
Oh man, this is great – another really strong remix from Paul Bradley. A very hectic intro full of mentasm and craziness leads to some twinkly piano effects with the vocal, and a lovely drop as well. Oh yes, this is another good one. Man, this is going to be a hard decision. And then halfway through the piano, once it has dropped, the stab just loses its mind and goes completely off the hook. This is great, a lot of clever editing and some stunning work all around. This one will also very likely be on either the KFA EP or as a possible winner.
KFA89.06 Ex Ec Edition Richie Whizz – Song Of Angels (Sunny & Deck Hussy Remix)
Ooh, I like this one a lot. Especially its use of the old dribble sounding noise popularised by Bizarre Inc “Plutonic”. Oh man, I love that sound. Hardcore needs that sound back. And the piano work is wonderful too. Very tight bit of production, nice drums and clarity in the mix. And the icing on the cake is some awesome mantasm work in the middle of the track. Yes yes, definitely a contender.
KFA89.07 Ex Ec Edition Jimmy J & Cru-l-t – Can’t You See (Sunny & Deck Hussy Remix)
I have high expectations on this one, because I already know Sunny & Deck Hussy can bring it. And I am immediately impressed. Nice flow with the breaks and good edits on the intro before dropping into the original piano, but with a subtle and atmospheric string complimenting it. Oh yes, I like this a lot. Well put together, well produced…lets see what happens with the stab section…Oh, hmmm….I can’t decide if this is cool or not. Its like the original, just bent a little out of shape. On the one hand, thats a great thing to do for a remix, on the other, its a little disconcerting because I keep hearing the original riff that isn’t happening lol. The second breakdown is great though, with the piano in breakdown, single chord hit mode. Yes, this will also need to go in the “potential” file!
- So it seems that all three entries from Sunny & Deck Hussy made it though! Thats pretty amazing really!
RICHIE WHIZZ REMIXES
Richie Whizz – Song Of Angels (Paul Bradley Remix)
This one is almost perfect – except the piano and the vocal are not in key. And its a real shame, because in every other respect this remix is fantastic – excellent beats, a nice use of quirky added samples as well as the original samples from the track, a switch up halfway through between breakbeats and 4×4 kicks, and interesting stab patterns. This was very nearly the winner, at least of the Richie Whizz remixes.
Richie Whizz – Song Of Angels (Matchstickman Remix)
This remix has a nice rolling vibe, and takes its time to go about its business. But it needs some production work, its a little muddy. Its the first one I have listened to which uses the original piano riff – but again, the vocals are out of tune. I think this might be a running theme on these remixes lol.
Richie Whizz – Song Of Angels (DJ Nine-T-X Remix)
This one is very nice – well put together and authentic. Nice use of the original samples, messing with the “Bass” vocal and editing the lead vocals too. I also very much like the lead riff. Yes, this is a good one, and came really close to winning. However, it is let down by a slightly muddy production. In normal circumstances, this would not be an issue, but the competition was so on point that it just didnt quite make the cut. Still, a stunning remix!
Richie Whizz – Song Of Angels (Systec & Sir Rice Remix)
System and Sir Rice have sent me a few tracks over the past few months and also entered the last competition. So I was expecting a well produced and well thought out remix, and thats exactly what I got. But like a few of the others, this remix has had difficulty sitting the vocals with the piano. I understand – I remember us having the same problem when we made the track. However, this one isn’t so much out of key, just a little odd. I actually like the rest of the remix way better than the bit with the vocals. Its got great stabs, well edited breaks, and a smooth, tight feel to the whole track. I expect we will see a System & Sir Rice release on Kniteforce at some point, because these two have skills. But not with this remix, good as it is!
Richie Whizz – Song Of Angels (Ten Tun Remix)
This one starts off really cool – using time stretches as rhythm section. Clever and different. Flowing, rolling breaks lead into euphoric use of the piano and vocals. But the remix really finds its side with the stab pattern. The production is clean and crisp, and the whole track is nicely authentic. The only criticism i might have is the its a little bit too drawn out, and could do with some sound effects and subtleties to fill it out, such as fills etc. but a very solid, cool remix for sure!
Richie Whizz – Song Of Angels (Shaun Armstrong Remix)
Well, this is a really interesting remix. Really unusual sounds and arrangement. I am writing this as I listen, and on my laptop, so I would need to hear this on my studio speakers. It might be a little too weird for the vinyl, but I don’t know, its got a really nice vibe to it. I will need to have another listen to this one!
JIMMY J & CRU-L-T REMIXES
Jimmy J & Cru-l-t – Cant You See (Gothic Shade Remix)
This is going to be tough, as Gothic is a friend of mine. Actually, many of the previous contestants from the other competition have entered, and I have been working with some of them, so i am having to put my bias on a shelf (which is a thing I can do). Anyway, this is a nice solid remix, starting with lush strings and rolling breaks and a vocal leading up to a sweet little stab riff, which fakes you out before turning into a bigger, more anthem lead riff. After running for a while, this breaks into a well put together piano line with clever vocal editing and atmospherics. Yeah, this remix is great, really good work!
Jimmy J & Cru-l-t – Cant You See (Jdubz Remix)
You know, its hard on me judging these remixes. Guys like Jdubz pop up and I am rooting for him to win – along with all the others that enter lol. Because I can hear the work that goes into each remix. Anyway. This one starts off really strong – nice work on the beats, good use of the vocals, using the main ones as well as a few bonus ones from…somewhere? And kept at the chipmunk pitch too – which is a plus in my eyes. Wicked piano and some nice work on the stabs too. Some clever editing with both the stab and the beats. Yes this is a contender for sure! The only reason this one did not win a place on the KFA EP (if not the vinyl), was simply production. Jdubz is improving by leaps and bounds, and I hope to feature him on KF at some point.
Jimmy J & Cru-l-t – Cant You See (Distrax Remix)
This one fooled me at first. Partly because I expected an D’n’B workout, but mostly because it starts with a house type kick and hi-hat. I was like “oh no, please, not a house remix” lol. Anyway, 8 bars in the breakbeat drops and the track proper starts. Nice intro stabs and a good use of effects and samples makes for a good start. After the drop the piano comes in, the original piano line is used. This is a good solid remix, and would certainly suit the vinyl, but on the other hand it doesn’t leap out from the crowd in any way. Very solid work though, as I have come to expect from the talented Distrax.
Jimmy J & Cru-l-t – Can’t You See (Hannibal Selector Remix)
Ha! Nice use of the weird analogue sample from the sample pack makes me smile as soon as this remix starts. I don’t even know where that sample came from, but I have always liked it. After a short intro, this drops into a great old stool riff, with definite echoes of Jimmy J & Cru-l-t’s signature stab style. This plays briefly over the breaks before the piano comes in. Good edits on the amen break, this one is fast and in your face. As I write this, I am getting the “possible” winners and putting them into a separate file, which is where this one will be going.
Jimmy J & Cru-l-t – Cant You See (Greg Sin Key Remix)
A much slower pace on this one. I wonder if there is anything quite as strange as listening to multiple versions of a track you wrote decades ago? I doubt it. Its a weird sensation. This one seems to half speed everything, making it sound sort of lazy – which its not. This is a well produced effort, with some good ideas, but it lacks energy. Maybe because of the slower tempo. This is more of a head nodding, hardcore breaks (maybe?) remix. Its cool, but not what i am looking for for the vinyl. Quality stuff though!
Jimmy J & Cru-l-t – Cant You See (Master Mash Remix)
A simple break beat intro leads into a creeping stab pattern that slowly gets louder as the track moves along. This is very different! It sort of reminds me of some old Euro releases. Oh man, then some sort of hard stab comes in. Very cool. Very cool indeed. Lets see where it goes from here? This is relentless. No breakdown, just ever developing stab patterns and a vocal. Eventually a piano line comes in, and its like the original, but with reverse sections and all sorts of edits. The vocal is also edited, but sounds real thin. Production lets this one down a little, because it feels like the balance of things isn’t quite right. But I love the unconfined randomness of the structure. Yeah, I dig this one a lot. Its a little too odd for the vinyl, but a seriously good remix all the same.
Jimmy J & Cru-l-t – Cant You See (Klartbeat Remix)
This one is interesting – it uses samples that were heard in previous KF tunes. Also, it has a very 4×4 kick style to it. Kinda fun – funny in a way. Nice edits on the piano and really very “doofy” for want of a better word. Its absolutely not right for the vinyl, but I also really like it. It makes me smile and would make me want to bounce about a club if I heard it there – except I am old and might take a spill, so obviously I can’t engage in that sort of behaviour. But anyway, nice bouncy remix!
Jimmy J & Cru-l-t – Cant you see – (The Matchstick Man Remix)
Another one from Matchstick man. Once again his remix is content to take its time – nearly 8 minutes long! Which is actually how long we used to make a lot of our tracks. That seems crazy now, but there it is! As with his last remix, this contains nice elements, a good breakbeat and a rolling feel to the whole thing. Some nice old stool organ work as well, which compliments the vibe of the track. it almost feels like an earlier era, like 1990 or 1991, and has a house music feel to it even though its not house music at all. When the piano does drop in, it does something a little weird. The timing is odd. Not wrong, just odd. I don’t know about this. I like it because it is different, but its a little too drawn out, and unfortunately has production issues as well.
Jimmy J & Cru-l-t – Cant You See – (Systec & Sir Rice Remix)
Another clean bit of work from these two. A new “Killer Soundbwoy” vocal leads the intro, before dropping into a nice amen. There is an undercurrent of 4 x 4 in the breaks, which matches up to the original very well. They have also given the remix a number of very jungle styled vocal tips, including the classic “Bad Boy” shout out. The piano drop in minus the vocal and with a great old stool string, allowing the whole remix to breathe before the vocal drops. And the stab pattern is perfect. Yes, on the whole this is a contender, and will go with the other finalists…
Jimmy J & Cru-l-t – Cant You See (Shaun Armstrong Remix)
Another solid entry from Shaun Armstrong. I remember Shaun entering the previous competitions, and these remixes are definitely a step forward and a step up from what he last sent me. Both this one and the Song Of Angels remix sound completely unique. Nothing like the other remixes, and unusual in concept and style. I wonder if its too strange for the vinyls? Not that I mind usually – Kniteforce is always willing to get a bit weird lol. However, with this remix it is the production that lets it down. Given time, I would like to have had the stems sent to me so I could re eq the entire remix, but I think that would count as cheating lol. But on the other hand, here is a potential artist for Kniteforce in the future, with a style this unique, how could it be otherwise?
Jimmy J & Cru-l-t – Cant You See (Ten Tun Remix)
The Ten Tun remix is more traditional than the last few have been, but thats not a bad thing. A nice intro with rolling amens breaks into a sweet little stab riff, with the vocals coming in over the top. This is a pleasant change! The first remix to do this I think. After the drop the vocals get more intense before a nice, slightly spooky stab riff drops in. Yeah, this is nice, it rolls along really well, and sort of reminds me of exactly the time when the original of the track came out. Very good stuff!
Jimmy J & Cru-l-t – Can’t You See (Research & Development Remix)
As soon as this one starts, you can hear that it is a different remix altogether. The note i got with it says it was done by my old forum friend the Architect and that he knows it isn’t the style I am looking for. And I guess he is right – its 4×4 and very trance so far, so not what i would want for the vinyl. After a stomping buildup, it drops into the piano and vocals, which have been crisped somehow. Its a nice effect. I like this remix a lot, because I like different things, but yeah, its not right for this project, even with all the wicked old stool means’s and such that drop in later in the remix!
Jimmy J & Cru-l-t – Cant You See (DJ Toucan 33 or 45 RPM Remix)
This one appears to be much slower than previous entries, but that gives the amen lots of room. And theres nothing quite like an unedited amen rolling along. The piano has a nice delay on it, but the effect is somewhat lost when the vocals come in at half speed. The stab is also slower than expected when it drops in, but that makes it very powerful. Judging by the name of the remix, I suspect this was designed to be played at either speed. Thats a very clever idea! I will have to test it out and see how it sounds sped up! But clever though that is, this remix is not quite what I am looking for!
Jimmy J & Cru-l-t – Cant You See (Pressure Remix)
This remix is really good. The new replayed piano line is one of the best out of all the remixes, and its a tight, well made remix. If there is any issue with it at all, its that it sounds almost to obvious, or predictable. Which is hardly a fault. It starts of with some nice simple breaks and a slow build with an old stool string and “Can You Feel It” vocals. The stabs and breakdowns and effects are all well placed. This is one of those ones where if I put it on the vinyl, it would be liked well enough, and the only reason its not a winner is that it doesn’t quite stand out enough! But a very good remix all the same!
DJ BRISK REMIXES
Dj Brisk – Make It Rough (BeanHeds Stroking the brown remix)
Ha! Classic old Kniteforce joke in the title of this remix! Made me laugh. Anyway, thats cheating mate! lol. This remix starts off great, nice rolling amen beats and growling drawn out mentasms. They slowly layer up and get more intense before the “tear this mutha fucka up” vocal drops in, and finally the beat gives way to the vocal and an edited piano. This is a nice interesting remix, with some clever ideas, but shockingly goes into a heavy gabba 4×4 section once the vocals drop. I sort of like this, but it does make it totally unsuitable for the vinyl, unfortunately. Still, a very unique take on this track!
DJ Brisk – Make it Rough (Hannibal Selector Remix)
Hannibal Selector is another name that I have seen pop up a few times…lets see what we have here! This remix starts off like it means business. Hard and rough, and a kind of techno feel to it. Its hard to explain, it feels metal, sharp. The intro breaks into a fairly traditional stab, but the drop with the beats is awesome. Clever use of time stretch and layering on the vocals, and a nice 4×4 kick which makes it stomp – not bouncy. The piano section uses the same piano as the original, but its low in the mix, and the vocals are pitched higher. This works, but you know, this track almost feels like it would be better if it didn’t have the piano in it, if it wasn’t a remix at all. Its a solid remix, don’t get me wrong. But the ideas in are held back by it having to be a remix. Good work though, very impressive!
Dj Brisk – Make It Rough (Kemikal Breakfazt’s Ruff Bacon Mix)
This one rolls along, with drum patterns that remind me of the good parts of Krome & Time when they were doing hardcore (after Sub Base). Like many of the others it has kept the piano section the same as the original, which is fine as the piano was good in the original. The “Make It Rough” vocal has been changed to a different rhythm, which is a nice touch as well. On the whole, this is a good remix, but it doesn’t stand out from the crowd, or have anything that really hooks you other than the parts that were in the original. It does have a fresh stab riff though, and the work on the breakbeats is very impressive – some of the best I have heard in this competition, actually. Subtle and technical without having to show off. Like the Hannibal Selector remix, this one feels like it would benefit from not having to be a remix – there is a very good jungle / breakbeat lead hardcore tune here, rather than a remix. The mid section edits are wicked and are almost let down by having to go back to the remix parts!
DJ Brisk – Make It Ruff (Rufus Tempest Remix)
This is an interesting one. Its kind of mellow, almost like that time in barcode / d’n’b where neither style was really defined, so its a blend of both. I like this style a lot, but its not quite right for Kniteforce. Still, this is exceptionally well made and produced, and a very unique remix when placed with all the others. It has a lot going for it, its just not going to the right place for the vinyl, unfortunately.
Dj Brisk – Make It Rough (Ten Tun Remix)
Another entry from the unstoppable Ten Tun. A tough intro with some great edits sends this one off to a firing start. i especially like the whistle noises and the sense of panic that comes in straight from the beginning. Plus theres a nice use of the Outlander style stab hit. Oh yeah, this is cool. It has a restless energy to it. Its almost a shame when the female “deeper” vocals come in because it slows the track down a bit. Another excellent entry from Ten Tun, and it will go on the short list!
Dj Brisk- Make it Rough (The Matchstickman Remix)
Once again, Matchstickman is let down by production. This is a nice solid rolling remix, with a lovely piano riff that twinkles in the background as the remix unfolds. But the quality of the overall mix just isn’t quite there yet.
Dj Brisk – Make It Rough (Liam T Remix)
This is another solid remix, with some sweet editing on the vocals and a nice authentic feel to it. The beats build up great on the intro and actually, it sounds a little like how I would do things back in 1995. It has a good shabby sort of riff with the lead vocals. There is some subtle filtering which is a little before its time in a way, but its so well done I can’t complain. The main lead riff is a little simplistic, although it rolls along very well. Yeah, this si a strong remix, with some greta edits, but it doesn’t quite excite enough. Good work though!
Dj Brisk – Make It Rough (Shaun Armstrong Remix)
The 3rd entry for Shaun, and a third strong contender. Lots of heavy edits on the intro, and a nice shift in chord structure on the vocal drop, that lifts the whole remix up a notch! And then up again when the piano comes in. The attention to detail in Shauns remixes is really something. Sometimes it works against him, in this case, the breakdown sounds almost overcrowded and the beats take too long to come in. When they do, they are a little drowned out by all the other information. In fact, the breaks let this one down, which is a surprise because his other remixes have been so heavy with the breaks. this has all the stabs and noise and excitement, but the breaks just roll along underneath instead of tearing in. Still a very good remix, from an obviously talented man, but not quite whats needed!
Dj Brisk – Make It Rough (Insane & Mind Remix)
Another solid remix, starting with some lovely mixable amen edits and effects. This would be seriously fun to mix! Me likes already. On the downside, this one overplays its hand a little in that, when the vocal and piano drop, it keeps on going with no break. And when the stab pattern comes in, i was a little disappointed to find it is the same as the original. Thats a shame, the remix had a lot of potential, but as it is its more like a rethink than a remix. In some ways, thats not a bad thing – its a good original so a good remix by default. But still, I would have preferred a little more inventiveness on the lead stabs! Especially as the piano is also basically the same riff.
Dj Brisk – Make It Rough (Systec & Sir Rice Remix)
Another strong remix from these two. The stab is a nice pattern but drops sort of emptily, which is a shame. I think the duo was going for a more stripped down approach, which works well and is authentic, but did not excite my ears as much as I would have liked. However, the piano drop is wonderful – similar to the original but much more lush and warm. Good rising strings and clear production also help this remix to remain solid all the way through. But like a few others, while there is nothing actually wrong wit it, its just not “stand out” in any real way!
Dj Brisk – Make It Rough (Persuit’s Ruffer Remix)
This is an immediately different remix from the others as it is unashamedly modern. Or at least, not breakbeat and not old skool percussion wise. A strong 4×4 kick intro, followed by a drop into the original riff. Only with this one there is a nice, dark edged bubbling analougue acid line in the background. This gives the whole remix a more sinister and driving feel, which is refreshing. There is also a semi-trancey feel to the remix, which again keeps it unique and fresh. Some nice vocal editing tops the remix off. On the whole, an excellent remix, but also not what I am looking for for the vinyl!