See our Best of Detroit 2020 winners.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Remixed and Reimagined

Posted By on Wed, Dec 6, 2006 at 12:00 AM

Nina Simone's stylized covers of everyone from Leonard Cohen to the Five Stairsteps made her pop's first true remixer and re-interpreter, spanning the jazz era's taste for revisiting standards and foreshadowing the irony of today's pop world and its unlikely covers. On this disc of remixes and reimaginations, Simone's aura is as much a reference point as it is raw material for a bunch of dancefloor-leaning artists who treat her as a mirror-ball icon. New York's Francois K turns in a squinting, end-of-the-party house reworking of "Here Comes The Sun," while New Jersey house icon Tony Humphries' "Turn Me On" is a late night drive that uses Simone's vocals as little more than turn signals when the track changes lanes. The best tracks here stick to remixing, like Daniel Y's breakbeat-and-horns taking on the torchy "I Can't See Nobody," which takes Simone's version and gives it a heavier, more commanding undercarriage that suggests Sade-meets-Public Enemy. Ditto for Nickodemus' "Ooooh Child," which lightly dusts off Simone's original version of the Five Stairsteps classic, tempering the enthusiasm with a world-weary deadpan and widening its sonic breadth with a simple drumline and expanded "right nowwwww" background vocals. Other tracks are more obvious hits (Groovefinders' "Ain't Got Nobody" is a predictable funk workout Fatboy Slim could have done eight years ago), but overall, Remixed and Reimagined does show how relevant Simone still is. Put more simply, Nina's still the shit.

Hobey Echlin writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com.

Tags:

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

More by Hobey Echlin

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 28, 2020

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit