Alternate Versions

I’ve recently noticed a seemingly increasing musical trend of creating alternate versions of songs. Now this is by no means a new idea more common in some genres than others (dance/electronic remixes, acoustic covers, orchestral arrangements), while it is often an element of live performances (DJ mixes/stripped back versions/changed instrumentation or lengthened/edited/added solos).

Recently, however, I stumbled across Porches’ ‘Water’ an alternative version of their early 2016 album ‘Pool’. Generally the tracks had a darker/gloomier vibe, though often included other subtle and obvious changes as well. ‘Glow’ is probably my favourite water version, the sugar coating and energy scraped off to leave a grimy, submerged piece which is similar yet remarkably different to the original. Where the synth and percussion hits were bouncing off the room, the remix sinks and lingers with lower pitches, sustained notes and gloopier sounds. The best bit being the tonal shift at 0:37 which is repeated throughout. Have a listen and compare below –



Porches’ approach reminded me of Jon Hopkins’ Asleep versions, whose lighter, wintery alternatives show an uncovered and often more personal sound underneath. It is refreshing to see artists reimagine their own work, rather than inviting or leaving it to others to do so, in an un-acoustic or ‘live’ way.



Interestingly, my favourite track on Radiohead’s ‘A Moon Shaped Pool’ is the highly sought-after final version of ‘True Love Waits’, a piece which is the culmination of 21 years of edits, mixes and alternative versions where the song has been attempted to be album-recorded previously,  performed live a number of times and included on the live album ‘I Might Be Wrong’ in 2001. This edit sits perfectly – contemplative, nostalgic, emotional. Likewise, previous to their latest release Bon Iver have recently released an EP made-up of two tracks which are remixes of songs not yet heard. Hearing the originals after the alternate versions is a strange concept and has been having me listening intently to both pieces to work out what they have been changed/glitched/arranged from… not long to wait.



 

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