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EP Review: Kimbra – 90’s Music + remixes

Words by Scenewave Australia - Published on September 18, 2014

Following the release of her sophomore album ‘The Golden Echo’, Kimbra has also found time to compile a set of remixes for the first single off the album 90’s Music and it is brilliant.

Lead single 90’s Music is a curious one. For those who expected Kimbra to follow on from her jazz and soul inspired debut album, it was quite a surprise – and for some, an unwelcome one. She even stated when it came out that it barely made the album – quite odd, considering it ended up her single. Operating almost exclusively in falsetto, it’s a pretty dubious tune, until rising into that pop-banger chorus, making it totally worth the wait.

Remixes aren’t always great, but sometimes they’re just what the doctor ordered. They can be key to unlocking potential in a song that never quite made it. Think about when Calvin harris remixed Spectrum by Florence + The Machine – it went from filler-track to chart domination. It can solve deficiencies in the original and breathe new life into it.

This EP has done that 90’s Music. With new energy injected into it from all angles, this has the potential to be as much a club hit as a sort-of strange radio pop tune. The first remix by M-Phazes is one of the closest to the original, and certainly the best (and the most listened to on SoundCloud.) It gives it something extra without straying too far from the original source. While the track progression is much the same, a heavier beat makes a world of difference. Falsetto verses move from slightly tedious to an explosive build up to the chorus.

DJ Shadow x Salva’s remix is another beast entirely, adding a breathiness to the verses and replacing the banging chorus with a trappy, womping drop. While it’ll be loved by those who are in it for the huge beats and the wild drops, for me, it gets the delicate and interesting porcelain plate that is 90’s Music and attacks it with a bowling ball.

The next remix by Client Liaison barely features Kimbra’s vocals at all. Rather, Client Liaison take the front seat, moulding the song so far that it’s unrecognisable within the first minute. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing at all. It’s actually a great song, with a mellow vibe and trickling synths. I question the classification of ‘remix,’ though… it’s almost closer to an original CL tune with Kimbra’s vocals used as a sample.

The final remix by Jneiro Jarel heads clsoer to home, reminding us what song is actually being sampled. Where some of the others went too far in altering the original, this one only barely goes far enough. It’s a tribute to those who just wanted a little extra oomph in the original. One could even mistake listening to the original after the previous three remixes.

The overall EP is exactly what the single needed. Variety, energy and a beat to get your teeth stuck into. It may not be Kimbra of the Vows era, but it sure is exciting.

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