Sometimes the Internet gives us gifts. At least that’s what it feels like every time I turn on my computer and see that another lucky track has been remixed, refixed, or otherwise transmogrified by the one and only Star Slinger. Face it, the man brings something special to every track he touches, and artists should be queuing up to have this mystical weaver of beats, snaps, and 808 claps shine up their tracks and spit em out with a whole new lease on life.
But not all remixes are created equally. Even among the glittering collection of gems that are the Star Slinger Remixes, some shine brighter than others. Here are our picks for the 10 best Star Slinger remixes:
By Sam Behrens (@rbtsndsgse)
Click “next” or hit shift+right to read/listen to the Top 10…
10. The Morning Benders – “Cold War (Star Slinger Remix)”
The Morning Benders aren’t The Morning Benders anymore, seeing as they’ve changed their name to Pop Etc, but Star Slinger got a hold of this track before the name change. The Japan Echo EP was put together by The Morning Benders to benefit relief efforts following the Japanese earthquake, because human beings should do things like that. It featured some new tracks from the Benders themselves and two Star Slinger Remixes. “Cold War” kicks us off at number 10 with disjointed jangles and stuttering melodies.
9. “Elizabeth Fraser (Cocteau Twins Rework)”
“Elizabeth Fraser” is a tricky customer. This track is maybe not technically a remix, but most certainly functions as one. The original track is “Heaven or Las Vegas” by the Cocteau Twins, a Scottish alt-band that was around in the 90’s. Elizabeth Fraser sang lead vocals and was known for not really using, um, words. Think the Cure with a lady lead singer, less dark content, and fewer discernible lyrics.
So the Slinger of Stars took “Heaven or Las Vegas” and turned it all around. It’s nearly indiscernible from the original track, except when Fraser’s soaring vocals climb on top of it all. She fits right in with the stylings of the Sling and it all comes together to give you goosebumps when the chorus hits.
8. “May I Walk With You”
Another Scottish Band, another track that may not technically count as a remix, but fuck it. Life Without Buildings is a really fascinating group. Made up of a few ex-Glasgow School of Art Students, the band was only together for about 3 years in the early 00’s, but managed to make some really innovative and curious stuff. Again, the distinguishing feature of the band was its vocalist Sue Tompkins. She delivers lyrics in stammering, faltering stumbling way, speak-singing and giving the band a twist that mandates more than one listen.
That unique vocal delivery is likely what drew Star Slinger to the track, even though it’s a bit different from the other tracks he uses for remix fodder. “May I Walk With You” is a remix of “The Leanover” (or refix, or rethink, or variation on, or whatever you want to call it). The title is taken from the chorus, and the remix captures the melancholy twinges. It’s a remix that’s made of different stuff. Star Slinger takes a tender, quiet, curious track, and rather than blowing it up into a dance floor staple, preserves the soul of the original while giving it some serious groove factor. It’s a feel good pop song, crafted ever so craftily.
7. H-Town – “They Like It Slow (Star Slinger Refix)”
I often wonder what would have become of H-Town if not for the unfortunate and untimely death of Dino. The Houston trio had just wrapped up work on their fourth album when Dino passed, and despite a solo album from his brother and a single or two, it was the last real taste we got from H-Town. Star Slinger’s take on “They Like It Slow” is clearly a departure from the original, as it is by no means ‘slow’. However, we still like it. In fact we really like it. So maybe we also like it fast. Or at a perfect pace with a delicious synthetic lick that brings H-Town all the way back from 1990.
6. Broken Social Scene – “Texico Bitches (Star Slinger Remix)”
You can call Broken Social Scene’s music many things. But this may be the first time that one of their tracks could be considered absurdly danceable. Among Star Slinger’s strokes of genius on this track is a delightful drop where immediately preceding the first chorus everything drops out and a 4 beat synthetic scale fills the void. It only happens once, and it’s pretty hard to miss, but it’s that kind of stuff that keeps you on your toes when listening to Star Slinger. He’s not afraid to interrupt his own groove, because he knows it’ll just make you want it more.
5. Childish Gambino – “Freaks and Geeks (Star Slinger Remix)”
Gambino and Star Slinger are a wonderful combo. Gambino talks over the intro to Slinger’s Fabric Mix from 2011, so there is clearly a working relationship established there. Gambino proclaims: “Why are you not going crazy?… This dude fucking kills everything he touches… he is the fucking grim reaper of music… he is just, just fuckin’, just, well, fuckin’ STAR SLINGER! Fuckin, get up and shit!” Well said, Mr. Glover. Please do get up and shit. And how could you not when listening to Star Slinger’s major upgrade to Gambino’s original beat. Some doubled and octave split vocals for the hook, fuzzy synths to drive it all and even the chorus of “oh yeahs” preserved from the original.
4. The Go! Team – “Apollo Throwdown (Star Slinger Remix)”
A Star Slinger remix of an average Go! Team track would be mouth watering enough, but this is not your average Go! Team track. No, this one’s extra special because it features the rhyming skills of the roller-skate-clad barrel of fun that is Dominique Young Unique. So now we’ve got Star Slinger + The Go! Team + Dominique Young Unique. If the combination of those three smile inducing artists does not put a little joy into your heart, then you have clearly managed to eradicate emotion entirely from your life. The remix seems to actually glow – how something audible can exhibit a visual phenomenon, I am not sure. But I am also not a scientist.
3. Alpine – “Icypoles (Star Slinger Remix)”
Star Slinger has this wonderful habit of taking tracks that feel straight forward and simple (which is not a bad thing) and twisting them around into something that sounds like a combination of early Kanye, glitch-pop, noise-pop, dance, and electronic. Take “Icypoles”, our highest rated remix of a (relatively) unknown artist. The original is full of metronomic guitarings and extra stable drummings, with vocals that meander over that stability – but Star Slinger’s is much different. He takes the lyrical chorus, throws in a gratuitous amount of 808’s and handclaps, while utilizing some of that metronomic guitar work to set the mood. The whole thing comes together when that chorus drops and it becomes physically impossible not to move some part of your body with the music.
2. Drake – “Over My Dead Body (Star Slinger Jetlag Remix)”
Some tracks just scream out for a Star Slinger remix. This was not one of them. The deep bass and reserved dramatization of the track didn’t really seem up his alley. So when I saw that Star Slinger remixed it I wasn’t terribly excited. It takes a big man to admit when you were wrong, and I must be a big man, because I definitely called that one wrong. Once I finally heard the remix, I was hooked. The frenetic snares and wound-up synth pads give the track a whole new flavor. He didn’t mess with the structure of the track, because he didn’t have to. Sometimes a few small changes, like some added instruments and a doubled vocal track, can breathe something different into a track you thought was just fine to start with.
1. Alex Winston – “Sister Wife (Star Slinger Remix)”
In my mind there was never really any question what would be number one. Star Slinger flexed his damn remixing muscles and turned an Alex Winston track that is by all means solid into a masterpiece of a remix. The tracks that populate this list for the most part follow a tried and tested recipe: chop up the original, paste it back together, slide in some low end, and drench the whole thing in glitter. Read more about that recipe in our interview with the man himself.
“Sister Wife” is a bit different. The things that stand out in the remix are not the aspects he’s added, but what he’s left out. It’s the white space in the buildup that makes this remix so different to many of the others. It’s the absence of the fuzzy synth that anchors the chorus that makes the verse so special. Of course there also the wonderful production, and the perfect cohesion of Star Slinger’s instrumentation and Winston’s vocals. Whatever it is, just listen to it. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but it never gets old. That’s why it’s number one.