Portable: Don't Give Up (Remixes)

Alan Abrahams (aka Portable and Bodycode) and Lerato revive their Süd Electronic imprint for release number ten, a remix disc featuring three variations of “Don't Give Up,” a track taken from the Gridshift EP. On the A side, Abrahams remixes himself with a fabulous twelve-minute Bodycode treatment, and then complements it with mixes by Cassy (Catherine Britton) and Lawrence (Peter Kersten).

Rather than charging out of the gate, the Bodycode mix builds slowly, opening understatedly with a light bongo pattern followed by two melodic twists on Abrahams' “Don't, don't, don't give up” vocal mantra. The mix heats up quickly, though, and within minutes turns into a steadily broiling monster that swings with strong Chicago house flavour. Cassy dispenses with the original vocal and strips in her own sultry one and then intensifies the hypnotic vibe by repeating it throughout. Her version starts out in soul-funk mode, prodded by a simulated chicken-scratch guitar line, and gradually morphs into a mellow soul-jazz groove in its final minutes. Bringing customary finesse to the project, Kersten subtly reshapes the original until it becomes something closer to a pure Lawrence track before returning it to its Portable roots. A syncopated percussion pattern and vocal quote initiate the song, after which Lawrence adds a warm bass groove, ghostly chords, ride cymbal accents, and silken synth strings. These trademark symphonic touches fade, however, allowing the percussion pattern to return to the forefront and a brief Portable vocal accent to close it out.

What's especially great about Abrahams' Portable and Bodycode material is that it's always in motion and constantly re-shaping itself, and never lazily settles into predictably repeating patterns. Kudos to Cassy and Lawrence, also, for staying true to that mercurial spirit in their own interpretations.

April 2007