Keeping Kids Dancing: 10 of the best Erol Alkan reworks - Lists - Mixmag

Keeping Kids Dancing: 10 of the best Erol Alkan reworks

To the rhythm

  • Funster
  • 1 October 2017

In 2006, something happened. Something changed.

Dance music has always experienced shifting points, where some sub-genres explode into the mainstream and others fade into obscurity.

Some genres stay put while others disappear but in 2006 and 2007, a hybrid of electro and indie fizzed into focus, bringing together club kids, gig devotees and fans of raucous, rowdy and unrelenting dance music.

Electro pop/electroclash had been around for a while because of people like Miss Kittin, The Hacker and DJ Hell but was made infinitely more popular by the likes of Justice, Boys Noize, the Ed Banger crew and one man who brought everything together.

Without Erol Alkan, where would we be today?

For a large group of people, Alkan's DJ sets, label curation via Phantasy and his legendary Trash night at The End became the reason they fell in love with dance music. He brought a new idea and style to the table and it was an invigorating time to be a part of something.

For the next ten years, Erol continued to evolve, to innovate and to move with the times. While the sound of the previous decade might not be as present today, Alkan's sound is fresher than ever. He's just finished his XOYO residency and is about to release a retrospective that documents the outrageously large quantity of edits and remixes that have had kids dancing for years and years.

Here we look at ten of our favourite cuts from the boss and celebrate the work of an artist whose re-imaginings and reworks of tracks always seem to make the stellar originals that tiny bit better.

Every. Damn. Time.

Alter Ego 'Rocker' (Erol Alkan's Death Disco Re-Vised)

We start with a remix that isn't actually included on the 'Reworks Volume One' compilation but it would be criminal not to include here. One of Erol's earliest remixes and of a certified electro club smash. Alter Ego (Roman Flügel and Jörn Elling Wuttke) released 'Rocker' in 2004 and it did all sorts of damage in the club. Alkan's edit of course extends the chaos, puts focus on the razor sharp riffs and adds in some stadium-sized crowd cheering to really ramp up the pressure. A classic.

Daft Punk 'The Brainwasher' (Erol Alkan's Horrorhouse Dub)

2006, perhaps Alkan's golden year when it comes to his production credits. Not only did he producer Late Of The Pier's debut and only album 'Fantasy Black Channel', he also had a hand in the creations of several tracks from Klaxons' Mercury Award winning LP 'Myths Of The Near Future' including 'Gravity's Rainbow'.

This where some of his best edits came as well, like his Horrorhouse dub of Daft Punk's 'The Brainwasher', a fiery, monstrous new behemoth.

"I reworked Daft Punk's 'Brainwasher' back in January 2006, I didn't receive the parts as Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Man were away from the studio at the time, it was made using the master track which I chopped up in the sampler, and then built the rest of the track around it" explains Alkan recently on Facebook.

This beast of remix would be the start of a new era of Alkan edit and things only got better from there.

Hot Chip 'Boy From School' (Erol Alkan's Extended Rework)

After they released their second album 'The Warning' in 2006, Hot Chip earned the household name they still retain today. The LP included seminal hits like 'Over & Over' and 'Boy From School', with the latter receiving a ten minute rework from Alkan. The twinkling, emotion-laced vocals are not only kept intact, they're echoed and given a higher pride of place. Almost lullaby-esque, Erol's edit is one that would bring a smile any dancefloor that has the pleasure of hearing it out.

Justice 'Waters of Nazareth' (Erol Alkan's Durrr Durrr Durrrrrr Re-Edit)

We're going to drop a bold statement here in that 'Cross' by Justice is one of electronic music's greatest debut albums of all time. The French duo burst onto the scene with a series of high-octane, sample-heavy bangers and the Ed Banger prodigal sons have kept the pressure on ever since.

The debut album featured classics like 'D.A.N.C.E', 'Stress' and 'Waters Of Nazareth', arguably the most ferocious of them all. Erol's Durrr Durrr Durrrrrr re-edit manipulated the main riff and shed a brand new light on the already club-crushing anthem. When he started playing it in sets, people lost their shit. Naturally we still lose ours now.

LA Priest 'Engine' (Erol Alkan's Transonic Re-Edit)

2007 marked a new chapter for Alkan as he launched his own imprint. Phantasy Sound was born, a label that has since released music by Daniel Avery, Conan Mockasin and Cowboy Rhythmbox. The very first EP on the label was by LA Priest (Samuel Eastgate from Late of the Pier) and with Erol on the remix of 'Engine', it signfied the start of something very special indeed.

Chilly Gonzales 'Never Stop' (Erol Alkan rework)

One of the funkiest, most mischievous Erol Alkan reworks to date, here the master remixer takes on the work of a master of a different craft. Canadian pianist Chilly Gonzales has drifted into the electronic music realm several times before (see his work with Boys Noize as Octave Minds) but Akan's take on 'Never Stop' is our favourite incarnation to date. A true clash of the titans.

Metronomy 'The Bay' (Erol Alkan Extended Rework)

When Metronomy released 'The English Riviera' in 2011, the whole world fell in love with Joe Mount's summer-dominating long player. Its mix of bouncy riffs and sultry vocals were an instant hit and one of the stand-out tracks was 'The Bay'. Enter Erol and if you didn't hear his extended rework reverberate around a dancefloor at that time, you weren't going to the right parties.

A disco-flecked extravaganza, Alkan's rework was one of the most popular tracks of the year due to its appearance in many a Radio Soulwax and 2ManyDJs set. An instant party-starter and one that still gives us goosebumps when we hear it.

Connan Mockasin 'Forever Dolphin Love' (Erol Alkan's Extended Rework)

Erol has always had an ear for talent. He's launched the careers of so many artists and Connan Mockasin is one of the finest artists he's ever backed. The psychedelic pop hero released his debut album 'Forever Dolphin Love' in 2010 via Phantasy before Because Music re-released it in 2011. Erol's take on the title track is a floaty and tranquil number, one that does little to the original apart from highlight its most beautiful segments. An end-of-the-night, lights-up classic.

Tame Impala 'Why Wont You Make Up Your Mind' (Erol Alkan Rework)

Tame Impala vs Erol Alkan has always seemed like a match made in heaven. Their sun-kissed guitar licks and otherworldly vibe fits right in with the sort of song Alkan likes to rework and his gloriously trippy rework of 'Why Wont You Make Up Your Mind' is up their with his best.

The classic Alkan drums and progression are present as always and when placed alongside the transcendent vocals and electrified chords, the combination makes for something wholly unique yet completely danceable. Check out the more recent edit of Tame Impala's 'Be Above It' for more of the same.

Manic Street Preachers 'Europa Geht Durch Mich (Erol Alkan's Mesmerise Zwei Rework)

Two undercover and underrated Erol Alkan edits dropped in 2014 and this time the subjects were the formidable Manic Street Preachers. Erol Alkan's Mesmerise Eins and Mesmerise Zwei Reworks brought two slightly different takes on the original but both are some of our favourites. Jagged, barb-wired riffs explode on the Zwei rework and when added in with the chugging percussion, you end up with some serious dancefloor action.

Of course, these ten remixes are the absolute tip of the iceberg. We could go on for ages here but be sure to check out the 'Reworks Volume One' compilation and prepare for a huge nostalgia hit.

You can preorder Erol Alkan's 'Reworks Volume 1' compilation here

Funster is Mixmag's Deputy Digital Editor and he has Erol to thank for being here now, follow him on Twitter

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