James Curd has been DJ-ing long enough that his sounds are both fresh and nostalgic for the decade he started out. His Guide Me release is as much a collaboration as it is a release of his single. Working with a sample of British funk band Index’s “Starlight” (where all of the vocals are lifted from), Curd creates a strong nearly disco dance track with slight rearrangement and a heavy booming beat.
The sample in this song works because the music is strong, and doesn’t work because the lyrics sound like amateurs in different sing along settings. This is evident with each remixed version, where only one manages to bury the vocals enough.
Samples also provide a scrutiny for the creativity of the newer track. With this song the sped up tempo, additions and subtractions make for enough of a distinction that Curd can’t just be dismissed as a copy cat or rip off. Plus Index didn’t do enough with the song to make a lasting impression.
The Original track carries the strong danceable beat evocative of early disco. Outside of a club, it’s best listened to while a) strutting Saturday Night Fever style on a sidewalk in the summer or in special circumstances b) wearing roller blades, short shorts, and a ghetto blaster stereo on one shoulder. The vocal work though is disruptive. It feels like a drunken chant from the crowd.
The Gilgamesh remix moves the vocals around and brings them out much earlier. The introductory beat is a bit of cow bell worked into the original track. The muting of the vocals makes it into a karaoke rather than drunken sing along version with one person who goes a little harder than the others.
This remix differs most strongly in pacing, it’s more than a minute shorter than the original, but feels slower and more subdued. The extra instrumentation is removed in favor of a sparse cool down. The horns and guitar are missing but the synth is still as strong.
The Frames Dub Mix is an obligatory Dub mix. A lot of the elements sound like they are coming from a distance, or like around the 1 min mark as if someone was playing with the volume dial. Probably the one track that veers the furtherest from the original it gets points for being the most risky but it’s also the most bland.
Guide Me ends with an Al White Remix which starts beautifully. Again we have the main track being slowly brought to the foreground from a hushed and muted background, but the turntable work and keyboard notes add a unique melody. Then, things get even better at 2:00 minutes with a rich bass boogie that is almost too cool for the rest of the song.
The original and Al White Remix are definite listens. While the Gilgamesh Remix has been highly praised I didn’t see enough different over the original to think that it warranted a listen over.