Though Frank Ocean‘s career is still in early bloom, the much buzzed about Odd Future singer has already amassed a considerable catalog, as concentrated as it is varied. Where there is an artist who captures curiosity and inspires imagination, there will be remixes—and, with any luck, they’ll be as intriguing as their source material. Here are the ten remixes of Frank Ocean songs that have captured our attention so far.
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10. Sandurz – “Crack Rock/Feelin’ It”
Though Ocean and Jay-Z have already collaborated twice on record, “No Church In the Wild” and “Made In America” paired a still-developing singer with latter day Jay, a potent combination, but one that couldn’t answer such chronologically impossible questions as, “What would happen if Reasonable Doubt-era Hova got his hands on a track from Channel Orange?” Ponder no longer, as Sandurz combines Jay’s classic “Feelin’ It” with Frank’s “Crack Rock.”
9. Styles&Complete – “Thinkin Bout You”
This remix actually dropped around the time of the original “Thinkin Bout You,” and is a proper dubstep take on such an emotional song (arguably Frank’s best). The duo of Styles&Complete matched Frank’s intensity with an anthemic dubstep vibe, pairing thunderous snares and a heavyweight bassline. The end result, deep and grand, is an unusual, effective reworking.
8. Mokhov – “White”
Sometimes simplicity is the strongest guiding principle for a remix. By restructuring Ocean’s sparing “White,” lengthening it, and adding a skittering percussive backbone, producer Mokhov breathes new life into the original’s amorphous and all-too-brief beauty.
7. Lucius Leanin – “Pink Matter (Chopped and Screwed)”
With its deliberate pace, evocative vocals, and show stopping Andre 3000 performance, “Pink Matter” is ripe for the chopped and screwed treatment—a style that so often accentuates these particular characteristics. Lucius Leanin’s Texas Tea twist on “Pink Matter” works well to emphasize the ethereal and add drippy new dimension to one of Ocean’s standouts.
6. DJ Cable – “Acura Integurl (Rework)”
“Acura Integurl” feels almost like it was made for remixing. The track is simple: Frank’s awesome vocal and a slick piano, with no drums or other accents. Cable knew just what to add: not too much. A steady drum and a driving (pun intended?) bassline lie underneath Frank and his piano, helping push the track further towards the edge, never overpowering the main components that make this such an excellent track. Slick work.
5. DJ Neil Armstrong – “Thinkin Bout You (Sweeet Remix)”
Dope blend from DJ Neil Armstrong, mashing up “Thinkin Bout You” with the Ghosttown DJs’ “My Boo.” Armstrong layers the lyrics and choruses from each song, creating a loose dialogue between the vocalists. We’re happy to eavesdrop on a conversation like this one, a blend that reminds us of the possibilities present when a truly thoughtful DJ gets his hands on material, opening up new dimensions between existing pieces of music. The possibilities are endless.
4. DJ Sliink – “Pyramids”
Don’t get Sliink confused with any other DJ bearing a similar moniker. Sliink’s straight out of NJ, and caters his sound to the younger crowd in the club. He took “Pyramids,” and pushed the remix straight to the dance floor. He incorporated a great club-ready trap/rave flavor, and the bassline in this one is a sure winner. Only problem? Too short.
3. Distinction – “Swim Good (Refix)”
This is one of the few remixes on this list that doesn’t feature much of Frank singing. Distinction utilizes clipped bits of Frank’s singing like an instrument, layering sound upon sound, and creating a refix that has a great bounce to it. Distinction’s work simultaneously creates a yearning for Frank’s voice, a curious trick for a quality remix, showing the new dimension that can exist in moving far from the aesthetic of the original.
2. Kastle – “Pyramids”
This remix got premiered by Skream & Benga on the BBC Radio 1 show this past August. End of conversation, really. “Pyramids” is the magnum opus of channel ORANGE, and Kastle did it justice with this trap-ish take on it, using trap sounds to create a hypnotic journey.
1. Ryan Hemsworth – “Thinkin Bout You”
It’s rare that a remix adds onto an original without overpowering it. Recent blog favorite Ryam Hemsworth had the good sense in reworking Ocean’s signature “Thinkin Bout You” to leave the tone and melody of the original intact, adding stronger percussion and tasteful accents—subtle keyboards, symphonic strings, sparkling arpeggios—that elevate a gorgeous neo-ballad to near anthemic heights. Just as “Thinkin Bout You” hinted at Ocean’s potential beyond nostalgia,ULTRA, so too did Hemsworth’s remix position him as a producer to watch.