Miguel Migs: Those Things Remixed

At a glance, one might have thought the fourteen remixes of tracks from Miguel Migs' 2007 set Those Things would leave a collective impression of disunity. Surprisingly, the interpreters, while diverse in stylistic spirit, have produced a set that's not only artistically satisfying but cohesive too. In large part that's due to the strength of Migs' originals but also to the participation of a core group of singers, in particular Tim Fuller, Lisa Shaw, and LT whose consistently great performances illuminate much of the material. Migs brings well-developed production, songwriting, and playing skills (trumpet, congas, saxophone, guitar and bass) to his tracks and what results is a deftly integrated, poly-stylistic fusion.

Some songs are shining examples of ‘70s-styled soul-jazz-funk fusions (“Those Things”) while others are equally memorable exercises in deep house, funk, Afrobeat, Latin, and soul. The album impresses from the get-go: Crazy P treats “Sometime” to a “Superfunk” makeover that, replete with chicken scratch funk guitar, falsetto vocals, and squelchy synth flurries, mines the mid-‘80s “Minneapolis sound” Prince perfected on 1999 and in his work with The Time, after which “Can't Get Through” receives a delicious deep house overhaul courtesy of Lithuania's Mario Basanov. Soon after, British house duo Faze Action gives “Fire” a feverish, horn-driven Afrobeat “re-rub.”

Shaw and LT make the most of their separate moments in the spotlight. Australian producer Simon Grey sweetens Shaw's vocals on “Those Things” with funk bass and jazz-fusion synth playing. Disco bass lines and bleepy synth touches power “Make Things Happen” with her vocal in the chorus calling to mind James JT Taylor of Kool and the Gang fame. Migs “Dub” treatment turns “Giving It All” into a sultry house cut that's as delicious as LT's delivery. Her soaring vocal bolsters the euphoric feel in Rasmus Faber's “So Far” remix while Eric Stamile slathers the tune with chunky synths in a bright electro-house makeover. LT's voice also graces the warm flow of Alix Alvarez's “Mesmerized” and Dolls Combers' soaring “Get Down” mixes.

One of the most appealing things about the material is its energy and humanity; Those Things Remixed is anything but machine music but instead oozes soul and sweat. If there's a flaw, it's the collection's seventy-four minute length. Though the quality level is high, like many a remix collection, it's overlong. But given that almost every song makes a strong case for itself, perhaps the best strategy would have been to shave off a minute here and there to bring the running time down. In all, though, this collection impresses as a wonderful surprise.

April 2008