Thursday, July 26, 2007

Margarita
MUSIC








Lets go to Mexico and drink margaritas.
-- Bitter:Sweet, "Dirty Laundry"


Bitter:Sweet, The Remix Game, Quango [8/7/07]

The remix version of Bitter:Sweet's The Mating Game seems custom-made for high-end bars and boutiques. It's hard not to like, but there isn't much foreground action going on here—it's
the epitome of background music. Not, as Jerry Seinfeld might say, that there's anything wrong with that. I'm a big fan of Air's Moon Safari, and I can't begin to count the number of times I've encountered that album in commercials, movies, even trailers, like Sidney Lumet's Before the Devil Knows You're Dead.

I'm sure Moon Safari gets a
lot of play in hip watering holes and eateries, but I don't tend to frequent such places, so I couldn't say for sure.

And that brings me to another characteristic of this sort of sophisticated electronic pop: it has a high-class vibe to it.

It's impossible to imagine Bitter:Sweet tunes spinning in places where lower-class people congregate. That doesn't mean it's elite music for elite people, but it definitely gives off a wiff of...money.

Since I'm not familiar with the original album, I can only evaluate these remixes. The most interesting is Roy Dubb's "Take 2 Blue."
It sounds like a modern-day "Mr. Sandman," although I have no idea if that's due to Dubb, AKA the Gotan Project's Christoph H. Müller, or Bitter:Sweet's Shana Halligan and Kiran Shahani.

Of the 12 mixes, my favorite is Yes King's version of "The Mating Game." I don't know where I've heard the original song before—possibly on KEXP—but it was instantly familiar. (Selections from The Mating Game have also been featured in Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, and The Devil Wears Prada.) The title track is definitely the catchiest number on The Remix Game. So much so that it almost crosses over from background to foreground music...almost. If flutes, vibes, sultry female vocals, and bossa nova rhythms are your thing, this disc is for you.

*****

8/18 update: When the publicist found out I hadn't heard The Mating Game, she was kind enough to send a copy. If anything,
I prefer it, but that isn't to suggest it's far superior to The Remix Game. The original simply rocks a little more—especially the harmonica-laden "Overdue"—although the remix of "Take 2 Blue"
is practically a different song. In a good way. The original, "Mr. Sandman"-free version is rather listless in comparison.



Endnote: Shana Halligan is the daughter of Dick Halligan from Blood, Sweat and Tears, while Kiran Shahani is a former member
of Supreme Beings of Leisure. Bitter:Sweet play Seattle's Chop Suey on 8/11/07. Images from Quango and Pure Music.

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