Welcome to the Cutting Room Floor, a semi-regular column placing music that’s been dissected and rearranged for the purpose of the edit under our microscope. Mori Ra and Bell Towers were the subject of the debut instalment, but today our attention moves to Bahnsteig 23 regular Jonny 5 and Parisian veteran I:Cube as we explore their attempts to reinvent obscure tracks excavated from the annals of history.
Jonny 5 – ‘Deja Vu’ = Spliff – ‘Deja Vu’
Retaining the original title, the opening track from Jonny 5’s Bahnsteig 23 debut borrows heavily from a song written in a Soviet-controlled East Berlin, although you wouldn’t be able to tell. The 1982 version is surprisingly optimistic considering its context and Jonny’s edit amplifies the mood, stripping out the distorted electric guitar while bringing that funked-out bassline to the front of the mix. It’s an entirely different beast to the original and while that enjoyed a fair bit of success, reaching 32 in the German charts at time of release, it’s unlikely you would have discovered it if not for Jonny’s efforts.
Jonny 5 – ‘Kaka Kaka’ = Kreml Flyers – ‘Ka-Ka-Kasatschok’
Specialising as an outlet for Cold War edits, it wasn’t long before Jonny was back with Bahnsteig 23 to dissect some more music written in the shadow of the Berlin Wall. Released in 1987, ‘Ka-Ka-Kasatschok’s murky new beat rhythms were the work of Axel Breitung, a German producer taking his cue from the experimental electronics emanating out of Belgium at the time. Like a lot of early electronic music, the pastiche approach so popular in new beat often left tracks feeling a little unwieldy so Jonny has done as all a favour cleaning up the arrangement. New beat and truncated vocal samples go hand-in-hand, so they weren’t going anywhere, but any unnecessary elements were quickly cast aside to allow the driving, motorised groove room to breathe.
I:Cube – ‘Hnt’ = New Musik – ‘Hunting’
New Musik rose to fame with debut album ‘From A to B’, but it’s their third and final long-player that has really stood the test of time. Written and produced in 1983, synth-pop classic Warp was pioneering for its time – frontman Tony Mansfield’s incorporation of digital synthesisers and emulators into the studio process resulted in the band’s first predominantly electronic album, something that was fairly uncommon in the early 80s.
The title track has achieved cult status with a few edits of its own but Versatile Records stalwart I:Cube opted to take a road less travelled, setting his sights on the equally brilliant ‘Hunting’. Released on French edit outlet Les Edits Du Golem, the sweeping groove looses its place in the arrangement in favour of something meatier as the Parisian transforms 4 minutes of emotive, British new wave with a poignant message into an infectious number worthy of closing any set.
I:Cube – ‘A Bicyclette’ = Jakie Quartz Chanson – ‘Mise au point’
Taken from the same 12″, ‘A Bicyclette’ sees I:Cube marry Gallic sensuality with space age electronics, adding a cosmic edge to the existing arrangement with some seriously sleazy synth lines. The breakthrough hit for French songstress Jakie Quartz, sultry original ‘Mise en point’ has its charms but I:Cube lifts the heartfelt melodies, ditches the lead vocal and elongates certain sequences for another dancefl00r-friendly chugger. No matter how drastic the changes, I:Cube’s edits never loose the emotional heart of these original songs.