PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.

Music

Amplive: Rainydayz Remixes

Andrew Martin

The California producer maintains the integrity of some of last year's best songs while also breathing new life into them on this excellent remix project.


AmpLive

Rainydayz Remixes

Label: self-released
US Release Date: 2008-02-11
UK Release Date: 2008-02-11
Amazon
iTunes

An interesting and creative remix, especially in the realm of hip-hop, is not something you'll hear everyday. Most of the time, a song is dubbed a remix after it is re-released with a few more rappers or singers on it. Nothing has actually changed musically except for some additional trite lyrics and a DJ screaming "REMIX!!!" at the beginning.

Perhaps that is why so many Radiohead fans, like me, were skeptical upon learning that Too $hort would be rapping over the perfectly sublime "Nude". Why would anyone, even a talented producer like Amplive of Zion I, want to mess with an album as superb as In Rainbows? Could it be that the Oakland, Calif.-based producer knew he could strike oil? Probably.

What first seemed somewhat sacrilegious actually turned out to be a damn good and interesting venture. It definitely helped that the all west coast roster of guest emcees and singers turned in some of their best work as of late. Del Tha Funkee Homosapien actually sounds hungrier on "Video Tapez" than on his latest album, 11th Hour. His rides the beat with his grim lyrics as Yorke sings the chorus of "When I'm at the pearly gates / This'll be on my videotape."

Sounding just as strong is Chali2na, known mostly for his recently defunct group Jurassic 5. His signature deep vocals work flawlessly on "Reckonerz" as Yorke lets out his trademark moan in the background. The best effort on here, though, is "15 Stepz". Featuring smooth crooning by Codany Holiday with added original guitar and bass, the track is both funky and mellow. Jonny Greenwood's riffs are dirtied up with distortion for the song's rocking intro and choruses while Holiday's verses are laidback and dreamy, making for an attention-grabbing juxtaposition.

Rainydayz Remixes truly succeeds in a way that Amplive might have not been shooting for: You will appreciate the original tracks even more than before. Just try listening to the 25 minutes of danceable Radiohead without getting the urge to switch over to In Rainbows. That right there is the beauty of Amplive's work, the ability to transition from remix to original without feeling cheated. Also, you get the feeling that the producer deeply appreciates both his craft and the tunes he remixed. Just watch his video on YouTube where he thanks everyone involved. His sincerity makes Amplive and his music that much more enjoyable.

The only downside to this project is that you are left wanting more after it's all over. In particular, you will be craving some additional instrumental tracks since that is where the remixes shine their brightest. While Del and the others do a fine job on the mic, Amplive has shown here that he's more than just a competent hip-hop producer. His rendition of "Weird Fishes" is simply fantastic. It's trippy and surreal soundscape blend seamlessly the head-nodding beat comprised of classic boom-bap drums.

If this is what a rainy day is like in California, I have got to get back to the West Coast for more than just a week-long vacation. Sure, In Rainbows suits my dreary hours in New England just fine. Amplive's versions, however, give the rain a beat and, in some cases, a few dance moves. And Amplive achieves that without resorting to cheap tricks. His chopped up instrument and vocal samples work perfectly to breathe new life into the already outstanding songs. Although he doesn't reach the level of Danger Mouse's infamous The Grey Album, Amplive has proven he should leave his familiar surroundings for other ventures.

8

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

Jefferson Starship Soar Again with 'Mother of the Sun'

Rock goddess Cathy Richardson speaks out about honoring the legacy of Paul Kantner, songwriting with Grace Slick for the Jefferson Starship's new album, and rocking the vote to dump Trump.

Books

Black Diamond Queens: African American Women and Rock and Roll (excerpt)

Ikette Claudia Lennear, rumored to be the inspiration for Mick Jagger's "Brown Sugar", often felt disconnect between her identity as an African American woman and her engagement with rock. Enjoy this excerpt of cultural anthropologist Maureen Mahon's Black Diamond Queens, courtesy of Duke University Press.

Maureen Mahon
Music

Ane Brun's 'After the Great Storm' Features Some of Her Best Songs

The irresolution and unease that pervade Ane Brun's After the Great Storm perfectly mirror the anxiety and social isolation that have engulfed this post-pandemic era.

Music

'Long Hot Summers' Is a Lavish, Long-Overdue Boxed Set from the Style Council

Paul Weller's misunderstood, underappreciated '80s soul-pop outfit the Style Council are the subject of a multi-disc collection that's perfect for the uninitiated and a great nostalgia trip for those who heard it all the first time.

Music

ABBA's 'Super Trouper' at 40

ABBA's winning – if slightly uneven – seventh album Super Trouper is reissued on 45rpm vinyl for its birthday.

Music

The Mountain Goats Find New Sonic Inspiration on 'Getting Into Knives'

John Darnielle explores new sounds on his 19th studio album as the Mountain Goats—and creates his best record in years with Getting Into Knives.

Music

The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 60-41

PopMatters' coverage of the 2000s' best recordings continues with selections spanning Swedish progressive metal to minimalist electrosoul.

Books

Is Carl Neville's 'Eminent Domain' Worth the Effort?

In Carl Neville's latest novel, Eminent Domain, he creates complexities and then shatters them into tiny narrative bits arrayed along a non-linear timeline.

Film

Horrors in the Closet: Horrifying Heteronormative Scapegoating

The artificial connection between homosexuality and communism created the popular myth of evil and undetectable gay subversives living inside 1950s American society. Film both reflected and refracted the homophobia.

Music

Johnny Nash Refused to Remember His Place

Johnny Nash, part rock era crooner, part Motown, and part reggae, was too polite for the more militant wing of the Civil Rights movement, but he also suffered at the hands of a racist music industry that wouldn't market him as a Black heartthrob. Through it all he was himself, as he continuously refused to "remember his place".

Music

John Hollenbeck Completes a Trilogy with 'Songs You Like a Lot'

The third (and final?) collaboration between a brilliant jazz composer/arranger, the Frankfurt Radio Big Band, vocalists Kate McGarry and Theo Bleckman, and the post-1950 American pop song. So great that it shivers with joy.

Music

The Return of the Rentals After Six Years Away

The Rentals release a space-themed album, Q36, with one absolute gem of a song.

Music

Matthew Murphy's Post-Wombats Project Sounds a Lot Like the Wombats (And It's a Good Thing)

While UK anxiety-pop auteurs the Wombats are currently hibernating, frontman Matthew "Murph" Murphy goes it alone with a new band, a mess of deprecating new earworms, and revived energy.

Music

The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 80-61

In this next segment of PopMatters' look back on the music of the 2000s, we examine works by British electronic pioneers, Americana legends, and Armenian metal provocateurs.

Music

In the Tempest's Eye: An Interview with Surfer Blood

Surfer Blood's 2010 debut put them on the map, but their critical sizzle soon faded. After a 2017 comeback of sorts, the group's new record finds them expanding their sonic by revisiting their hometown with a surprising degree of reverence.

Music

Artemis Is the Latest Jazz Supergroup

A Blue Note supergroup happens to be made up of women, exclusively. Artemis is an inconsistent outing, but it dazzles just often enough.

Books

Horrors in the Closet: A Closet Full of Monsters

A closet full of monsters is a scary place where "straight people" can safely negotiate and articulate their fascination and/or dread of "difference" in sexuality.

Music

'Wildflowers & All the Rest' Is Tom Petty's Masterpiece

Wildflowers is a masterpiece because Tom Petty was a good enough songwriter by that point to communicate exactly what was on his mind in the most devastating way possible.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.