D’ANGELO’S RETURN

by: Joseph Johnson

February 23, 2012

The neo-soul sensation D’Angelo has been pretty quiet over the last few years. However, he seemed to suddenly re-appear in January and has just completed a number of European tour dates in major cities like London, Paris, Stockholm and Oslo. It seems the music world is starting to get excited about Mr Michael Eugene Archer’s return, and in the last 3 weeks a couple of tasty remixes have appeared online.

The first is by London-based producer L-Vis 1990, who has given D’Angelo a thoroughly housey re-boot. From the start of the track, phasers and the looped vocal’s simple message: “have it your way”, give a traditional house feel. Then L-Vis lets the song break down, unleashing the original D’Angelo track for a few choice seconds, leaving the listener with no doubt as to where the sample comes from. After that it’s back to the house vibe, which continues for the duration. Some might argue that this track merely samples D’Angelo, rather than strictly being a remix. However, with that breakdown and the song title, there’s a strong sense that L-Vis 1990 wanted to pay homage to D’Angelo.

The second track is by another British musician/producer. James Blake has become known more for his own vocal talents than his remix skills as of late, but before he made it into the big leagues, Blake was creating pulsating remixes under his Harmonimix moniker. His offering would be considered a remix in the more traditional sense, with the original vocals from “Left & Right” being much more recognisable. Blake’s stamp is all over this track, with a crunchy, lo-fi quality and sub-bass that contrast with the squeaky R&B/soul production we usually hear D’Angelo singing over.

If the aim of these remixes was to transport D’Angelo’s sound into other musical realms, then both L-Vis 1990 and James Blake have succeeded. And as for D’Angelo himself, a new album is expected this year and his record label must now be rubbing their hands with glee thanks to these freebie promotions.

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