4HERO / “4hero Remixes Mixtape”
Last week we focused on the musical compositions and drum&bass trendsetting of 4hero, this week we listen to a set of remixes. The range of music they re-arrange is staggering.
Think about it. To go from 60’s jazz with Lorenz Alexandria to turn-of-the-20th century nu jazz from Courtney Pine, from 70’s Soul with Rick Holmes to a Metalheadz (i.e. Goldie) nineties drum&bass (d&b) classic, from Coltrane and Gary Bartz to Scarface and Ultra Naté —that’s massive musical movement.
4hero not only references a wide swath of music genres and styles, they are also capable of creating music whether composing from scratch or remixing previously created compositions. What is most amazing about this mixtape is that there is no way to tell that all of this music was put together by the same team. It’s not only diverse, it’s all expertly done.
If you ever want a real lesson in remixing, get hold to the originals with which these guys started and compare them. In some cases the recreation is so radical there is very little comparison to be made, and in other cases the changes are simultaneously subtle and yet profound.
During the big band era, hip arrangements made a big difference within and between bands, in today’s world of music the studio is often where the biggest adjustments are made. And actually, it’s not even a studio now, it’s a computer with pro-editing software and a raft of plug-ins.
In the right hands, a laptop can be comparable to an orchestra. And if those hands at the controls happen to belong to 4hero, no doubt you’ve got a winner.
I won’t bother picking out particular tracks for commentary or even ranking them. To quote Rick Holmes paraphrasing Stevie Wonder all you have to do is “watch with your ears.”
On second thought, I should point out the radical drums on Ultra Nate’s “Twisted.” Thundering, rolling rhythms a la Elvin Jones anchoring a dance track is insane, completely insane and yet it works, wonderfully, completely, beautifully. Enough blather from me; open your mind and watch with your ears—I present remixes by 4hero.
—Kalamu ya Salaam
4hero Remixes Mixtape Playlist
Believe me it’s a blessing that all of these remixes are available on two releases, one featuring classics and the other focusing on contemporary tracks. For any young (or old) musician interested in composing and remixing, this pair of releases from 4hero is arranging & theory 101.
Life:Styles Compied by 4hero is crate digging taken to a very high level. Disc One features 18 4hero remixes and Disc Two gives you 16 originals, either disc alone is worth the cost of the set. (Be careful: there's a one-disc version and a two-disc version—you
want need the 2CD version.)
4hero The Remix Album Vol. 1 is a flip and then re-flip. Disc One has 4hero offering a dozen remixes of both familiar and obscure material. Disc Two features 12 remixes of 4hero compositions done by a broad range of peers. It’s a novel concept that’s well done, yet what 4hero does is so moving to me that I seldom get around to listening at the second disc.
I admit it, I’ve got a thing for 4hero—and that’s good!
01 “I Am The Black Gold Of The Sun” - 4hero The Remix Album Vol. 1 - Nuyorican Soul
02 “Remember To Remember” - Life:Styles Compied by 4hero - Rick Holmes
03 “Capricorn Rising” - Life:Styles Compied by 4hero - Richard Evans
04 “I've Known Rivers” - 4hero The Remix Album Vol. 1 - Courtney Pine featuring Cassandra Wilson
05 “I Seen A Man Die” - 4hero The Remix Album Vol. 1 - Scarface
06 “Inner City Life” - 4hero The Remix Album Vol. 1 – Metalheadz
07 “Baltimore Oriole” - Life:Styles Compied by 4hero - Lorez Alexandria
08 “Twisted” - 4hero The Remix Album Vol. 1 - Ultra Naté
09 “Sunshine” - Life:Styles Compied by 4hero - Nancy Wilson
10 “Into The Blue” - 4hero The Remix Album Vol. 1 - Shaun Escoffery
11 “Naima” - 4hero The Remix Album Vol. 1 - John Coltrane
12 “Music Is My Sanctuary” - Life:Styles Compied by 4hero - Gary Bartz
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