Stinky Jim’s remix epic – from spatial to social

August 23, 2023
3 mins read
Start
7/10

Summary

Stinky Jim – Social Awareness – The Remixes (Bandcamp)

GARY STEEL gets a psychoactive adjustment listening to an epic remix project based on Stinky Jim’s Spatial Awareness album.

Last year I blathered on about Stinky Jim’s very tasty Spatial Awareness album. Now here’s a double album’s worth of remixes to luxuriate in. It’s called Social Awareness, presumably in honour of the roll-call of remixers who happily volunteered to fuck with Jim’s originals.

Apparently, it all came about when a new vinyl imprint from Hamilton (of all places), Haymaker Records, proposed a 12” remix, which swiftly grew into an epic project featuring music-making fans of the Tuesday night 95bFM show, Stinky Grooves.

 

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During the mid-to-late ‘90s remix albums were viewed as a burgeoning art form and there was a plethora of the things. Retrospectively, few of them have stood the test of time, the best ones inevitably those that get creative with the original tracks, adding some special sauce of their own but also keeping enough of the original piece to make it work in a sideways setting. It would be remiss, of course, to ignore the obvious connection to dub versions in the art of the remix, and Jamaican music culture is always-always, musically and aesthetically, connected in some way to everything Jim does.

The 16 tracks that comprise Social Awareness seem to mostly get what Spatial Awareness is all about but none of them improve on the original. Listening to that album is like having an interesting conversation with a friend; a conversation with plenty of light and shade and curious diversions, a few hearty laughs and a whole lot of smiles. It’s a lot like Jim’s character: astute and knowledgeable and aesthetically aware and slyly humorous. Too often those characteristics are slightly watered down by the remixers on Social Awareness. Not that anything here is pants, you understand. Jim would never allow that. But for my money, most of the best mixes keep that happy conversational vibe.

Stinky Jim himself starts things off with ‘Avant Grades’, a pleasingly watery intro that made me feel like my brain had been soaking in prime marijuana buds for a week. Given that I’m a non-smoker, that’s some achievement. Strange Flesh keep the lysergic enhancement factor high with ‘On The Ag’, with its airy SFX and snapping drum patterns.

Most enjoyable tracks? Solar Tropics make for a pleasant interlude on ‘Cry For The Ute’, with Jim’s bright beats, a low-down groove, “organ” and ultimately, an oddly melancholic feel. Armamelia get the closest Jim’s aesthetic on ‘Owner Face’ with its lounge elements, vivacious percussion and cheery organ refrain, along with especially tasty bass modulations. Tribilin Sound’s take on ‘Le Creak’ sounds so much like the relaxed, hairdresser vibe of Fila Brazilia that I can’t imagine Jim liking it much, but it’s easily the best-sounding track with its heavy drums, sexy slickness and bass heft. And the way the synth wafts from speaker to speaker made me feel funny, so that’s a plus. Jefferson Belt’s version of ‘Runs On The Board’ could pass as something by electronic act Plaid, and is all the better for it, with an appealing harp/synth play-off and generally, an enjoyable sound design. The Long Champs’ take on ‘Quiet Spillage’, meanwhile, is all trippy dub effects and clicking, shimmering percussion, while Tim Prebble’s remodel job on ‘Bolshy Ballet’ could pass for a track by Stefan Betke/Pole with its wafting electronics and sub-arctic bass.

I was going to give a so-so review to Social Awareness, but I’ve found that I’m enjoying it more with each successive listen. It’s tempting write that “it’s all good”, but that would be a terrible cliche. Perhaps the biggest problem is its extended length, but that ceases to be a problem if you break it into several listening sessions, or simply have it beaming away in the background. Nice one.

www.stinkyjim.bandcamp.com

www.haymakerrecords.bandcamp.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steel has been penning his pungent prose for 40 years for publications too numerous to mention, most of them consigned to the annals of history. He is Witchdoctor's Editor-In-Chief/Music and Film Editor. He has strong opinions and remains unrepentant. Steel's full bio can be found here

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