It’s a rare occasion when I am hit with a “music chill.” Now, I don’t think that I can write a concise definition for the term, but I can attempt to describe it for those of you who are unfamiliar with it. And for those of you who have experienced the music chill, you should know exactly what I’m talking about. In short, the music chill is a sensory thrill ride. It starts off with a sharp and tingling sensation that sweeps down your entire body like an avalanche. Your muscles contract and freeze up leaving you tense and chilled. The fine hairs on the back of your neck stand on end, immediately preceded by goose bumps that blanket your arms and legs. While this feeling only lasts for a very short period of time (upwards of 30 seconds), the experience is pleasantly overwhelming.
It is only suiting for a visually stunning and down-right gorgeous videogame like Mirror’s Edge to have an equally impressive theme song. After all, audio is 50% of the overall experience. So with that said, publishing powerhouse EA and Swedish based developer DICE (a subsidiary of EA) turned to Swedish pop star Lisa Miskovsky to score the theme song for Mirror’s Edge, and the result is “Still Alive.”
I was fortunate enough to check out the six-track remix album in advance, before its digital release which is now available through all digital service providers. Hit the jump to hear what I have to say about the Mirror’s Edge The Remixes album.
Mirror’s Edge The Remixes is essentially a collaborative collection of 6 tracks by some of the top names in the electronic music scene. And while the album only features half a dozen tracks, it logs in over 35 minutes of sheer audio ecstasy. Here’s the line up:
Lisa Miskovsky: Still Alive – Mirror’s Edge Theme Song
Benny Benassi: Still Alive – Remix
Junkie XL: Still Alive – Remix
Paul van Dyk: Still Alive – Remix
Teddybears: Still Alive – Remix
Armand Van Helden: Still Alive – Remix
The album kicks off with Miskovsky’s theme track, “Still Alive,” the lynchpin for which the remaining 5 tracks will be mixed… or rather, remixed. At the heart of this track lies the velvety-soft vocal styling of Miskovsky and a hauntingly beautiful piano piece that I will be humming in my head for days weeks to come. Her voice is soft yet stern and is well supported by a contemporary pop/rock drum track, a strong bass line and a dramatic underlying barrage of electronic strings which really bring the piece together to represent Faith, the heroine of Mirror’s Edge.
Benny Benassi wastes no time as he pummels out short and repetitive bass blasts that pave the way for various escalating synth effects. Aside from bitter sweets dueling of synth effects and the occasional fading in and out of Miskovsky’s voice this one is fairly straight forward and hits hard for close to 9 minutes. Damn.
Taking a lighter, more ambient approach, Junkie XL still manages to keep the bass hits flowing, but instead of relying on cold, synthetic sounds, selects a light array of chiming bells as his weapon of choice. They seem to play off of one another euphorically when paired with the vapor trails of Miskovsky’s angelic voice and backed by a steady, solid beat and the strumming of an acoustic guitar.
East Berlin native Paul van Dyk picks up from where Benassi left off and weaves a high-energy, adrenaline-pumping trance mix. The track launches into some deep bass hits and leads into a pronounced bass line that I only wish van Dyk would have elected to leave in at a low sustained level throughout the remainder of the track as it falls short and becomes forgotten right before hitting the two minute marker, only to notably resurface at 6:10. Unfortunately, the second time around the bass line is stripped of its rich Coldplay-esque hum and is injected with a booster shot of treble. However, throughout the lengthy 9 minute and 37 second track van Dyk successfully introduces a wide variety of synthesized beats and effects that never grow stale.
Taking things in an entirely different direction, the Teddybears remix supports a very poppy, upbeat sound that is quite similar to something heard in most Dirty South Hip-hop tracks (think Outkast). The track is upbeat, rhythmic and doesn’t try to hide what it is or deviate from the familiar, a very tried and true formula. If you’re not bobbing your head during this track you may want to check your pulse.
Closing in on the home stretch, Boston’s own Armand Van Helden conjures up a house remix of monstrous proportions. Van Henden’s ‘Jack the Ripper’ style butchering of Miskovsky’s vocals kick starts the track through choppy, nearly unintelligible fragments that almost prove to be a deal killer, but hang in there to receive a revitalizing musical shock as this house-based track really packs a few sucker punches. It soon becomes quite clear that Van Helden knows just what he’s doing. He is a musical mad scientist and his mixing board is his scalpel. The sound of crisp hi-hats, sharp clapping snare drum hits and low droning bass beats parade around the crime scene where Miskovsky’s ethereal voice once existed, while the familiar piano score rings out like a bell from a church tower. Throughout this track Van Helden leads listeners into a false sense of security where once comfortable, proceeds with surprise hooks and catches that weave a hypnotic spell.
As if there was any doubt, this is a definite must own, even for those who are not fans of the aforementioned electronic-based genres. Aside from containing trace amounts of Miskovsky’s “Still Alive,” each remix has what it takes to clearly identify and distinguish itself amongst the others, turning this 6-track collaboration into a very well rounded and unique listening experience.
So have you listened to any of the remixes yet? If so, we want to hear your thoughts. What is your favorite track on the album? What is your least favorite?Tags: Beats, Drum-n-bass, EA, Electronic, Hip-hop, House, Mirror's Edge, Remixes, Reviews, Trance, Videogame