Various Artists: Rewind! 3

Mervin W. Malone Jr

Various Artists

Rewind! 3

Label: Ubiquity
US Release Date: 2004-01-20
UK Release Date: 2004-01-19

Ubiquity Records has long been at the forefront of DJ culture and the Rewind! series is no exception. These ingenious collections take rare and vintage tracks from various genres and recreate them, either by remix or cover, as newer compositions of electronica. Rewind! 3, contains remakes performed by Jeremy Ellis (also known as Ayro), Louie Vega (of Masters at Work fame), Spiritual South, and Spaceboys. These artists compose and perform reinterpreted versions of songs that were originally penned by the likes of Herbie Hancock, Sun Ra, Gil Scott-Heron, AC/DC, the Monkees, and even Johnny Cash.

Some music traditionalists will no doubt find Ubiquity's reworking of these tracks offensive, or at the very least, pretentious. Indeed, all casual listeners will not equally understand the post-modern nature of these remakes. However, the obscure nature of the majority of the tracks contained on Rewind! 3 makes this collection all the more interesting; this compilation gives listeners the chance to indulge classic songwriting at its best. More, the international roster of artists and musicians contributing their talents to this collection will grant listeners some exposure to the less inhibited world of music that exists outside of the U.S Top 40 radio format.

Louie Vega's Brazilian reworking of Chakachas' "Jungle Fever" starts things off. This track is truly mesmerizing, as Vega incorporates breathy, orgasmic female samples, using them sparingly over horns, strings and a rhythm section that is mainly comprised of maracas. Next, Greyboy with Bart Davenport go for a more hip-hop flavored feel on Cymande's "Genevieve". The next track, Willie Colon's "Che Che Colo", is remade by Antibalas and is pure bass-heavy acid jazz.

Most of the tracks contained on Rewind! 3 favor the chillout/lounge spectrum of electronica. In addition to the aforementioned remake of Willie Colon's "Che Che Colo", Spiritual South covers the Peter Thomas Sound Orchestra's "Stars and Rockets" in an acid jazz format, with the ever-enchanting Aurora Dawn on lead vocals. Two of the more unique inclusions to the Rewind! 3 compilation are "Porpoise Song", originally recorded by the Monkees, and the AC/DC-penned "All Night Long". "Porpoise Song" receives a trip-hop remix from Nobody -- the ideal setting for a song recorded in the psychedelic era -- and Bing Ji Ling gives "All Night Long" an atmospheric electro-funk feel.

Though Rewind! 3 is overwhelmingly lounge-y in sound, there are some more up-tempo tracks that club goers will find appealing. Elsa Hedberg's interpretation of Betty Carter's "Open Your Eyes", for instance, is rendered in deep house, whereas P'taah recasts Lorez Alexandria's classic "Baltimore Oriole" in broken beat. Also, fans of British Garage and 2-Step will find Swag's remix of Ryuichi Sakamoto's "Riot in Lagos" and John Arnold's reinterpretation of Herbie Hancock's "Rough" interesting. Another of Hancock's compositions, "Chameleon", appears as a straight-ahead funk track remade by Jeremy Ellis.

The most unique inclusion to the Rewind! 3 compilation is This Kid Named Miles's cover of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire". Cash's immortal classic is given a uniquely reggae feel, complete with a syncopated rhythm section and calypso drums. This is a far cry from the original country recording, but is no less appealing.

In an interesting break from its prevailingly electronic theme, Rewind! 3 also contains an acoustic remake of the Gil Scott-Heron song "Willing" performed by Damon Aaron. Aaron's largely folksy performance is eerily devoid of rhythm and is only appealing for its singular presence on this otherwise electronic compilation.

The overall appeal of Rewind! 3 resides not in its eclecticism or any unseen novelty, but in its boldness. Where else would you have collected compositions by Sun Ra, the Monkees, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and Johnny Cash on one CD collection? On a remix series dubbed Rewind!, that's where.





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