U.S. dubstep producer Run DMT started a production journey earlier this year to release his first full-length LP in a number of years on his label, Kill Your Ego. The Revolutionaire album of original tracks came out in August and Revolutionaire Re-imagined vol. 1 and Revolutionaire Re-imagined vol. 2 followed in September and October, respectively. How are these all related? To rock or newer EDM fans, it can get a bit confusing.
Remixes are a huge part of the EDM and rave worlds, with almost any popular song having many and sundry remixes. In some genres like drum and bass and dubstep, where Run DMT resides, remixes are so prevalent that fans can go years without knowing who the song’s original author actually is. Even producers will remix their own tracks, normally known as “VIPs”. This system gives audiences a chance to see all the many ways a track can be imagined as well as giving artists a chance to show their diversity or, in Run DMT’s case, show the diversity of talent on his label and in the dubstep, halftime and drum and bass genres at large.
If it hasn’t become clear by now, the two Revolutionaire Re-imagined albums are, in fact, remix albums. Run DMT had the idea while drafting the original Revolitionaire to create two album which were mirror-images of the original with all the songs in the same order, and all of them either remixes by other artists, VIP mixes by himself or instrumental versions. DBWS reviewed the original Revolutionaire, - it was heavy on dubstep since most of the tracks were done by Run DMT himself - which also had a number of tracks which were collaborations with artists who would later come to remix on the future versions.
Said future versions have now come along and as promised. Both vol. 1 and vol. 2 of Revolutionaire Re-imagined have all the same songs in the same order as the original album but done completely differently by different artists. This is where it can get confusing. To wit: “Gamma Ray”, which is possibly the hottest track off all three albums, originally featured UK halftime producer Vorso in a collaboration with Run DMT. The remixes on the Re-imagined albums were done by Keota and Vegas-based Zaiaku. Vorso appears again in a different place, however, as he’s remixed “Tesseract” on Revolutionaire Re-imagined vol. 1. Newcomers to the EDM scene will have a heck of a time trying to untangle all this, but it really is academic.
As with any track, album, genre, etc., the important thing is the quality of the music and Run DMT is known for his very high quality production. This is something that can be seen across all three Revolutionaire albums. Again, “Gamma Ray” is a real highlight. Not technically dubstep but more halftime, the original “Gamma Ray” is heavy and heady. Keota’s remix on vol. 1 lightens things up a bit with some vacuum synths and jazz in the intro, while Zaiaku’s mix on vol. 2 goes completely nuts, technically.
Another track which shows how remixes can be as diverse as the artists want them to be and which has also been a three-time hit off the Revolutionaire series is “I Saw a Light”. This liquid, melodic track was one of the few drum and bass tracks on the original album and was also a bit of a switch in the hard-hitting, high energy vibe of the rest of the album, not to mention the spread of all three albums. On vol. 1, Run DMT’s fellow Dallas producer Vectorwolf took the track in a completely different direction, creating an 80s synth vibe. On vol. 2, San Francisco heavyweights Bachelors of Science took the track back to drum and bass but added even more esoteric elements like Middle Eastern vocals.
And so it goes for nearly every song on Revolutionaire. When looking at a body of work like this one, a listener simply cannot take for granted that the remix(es) of the original tracks will sound anything like said originals. It was a bold and very labor-intensive feat for Run DMT to take on and remix each of these tracks twice, and what audiences should remember is to give them all a good listen. No matter what they think of one of the versions, they may feel completely differently about the other two. Each track is, after all, technically by a different artist.