The New Zealand Story remix package brings together the work of two of breakbeat hardcore’s most iconic labels. Both Elation and Lucky Breaks have long and storied histories, and have been responsible for tracks which have both represented the scene and crossed over into related musical worlds. Ponder’s Elation has been a focal point for quality productions which have exhibited the producer’s famed depth and emotion, and has recently seen a rebirth in the live field in conjunction with Hardcore Underground, the success of which is still being felt far and wide. Lucky Breaks (now Lucky Breaks Digital) was originally run by the legendary Wizbit, and is now in the hands of DJ/producer duo Bustin & Skampy. The new reincarnation of the label has been swift to follow up the far-reaching accomplishments of its original incarnation.
The original of New Zealand Story has gone down in the annuls of hardcore history as an achievement of unparalleled magnitude. The 2004 track contained elements of both producers’ styles, weaving and blending between light and dark. Its famous intro buildup, and affecting melody have never been matched or replicated. Until now. Many months in the planning and delivery, the remix package is ready, furthering the labels’, the producers’ and the remixers’ plans for a musical revolution.
The release includes a total of six remixes, and all of the individuals involved have included some of their finest work to date. One half of the original production team, Ponder, has two bites at the remix cherry. His Laid Back Approach is the perfect foil to some of the more in-your-face tracks, as it maintains the spirit of the original, yet realised in a very different form. The results are positively elegiac. The Tranceponder version, meanwhile, has a quietly epic quality to it, with melodic elements arising from a melee of synth stabs and meaty kicks. It is, as with all of the remixes on offer, the same track and something markedly different at the same time.
Man of the moment Gavin G has a highly distinct, artistic sound, which he employs fully during his re-imagining. Echoing the original’s use of light and space, he takes this aspect of the tune and magnifies it, adding his signature near-angelic vocal samples and world-encompassing use of both sound and musical vision. He then adds a dash of spiky synth and booming bass, before bringing the melody back in with ease.
Dave Skywalker is a name which may not be as familiar to some, but the Endor Records helmer is a producer of both note and of esteem. His remix takes an uptempo route, beefing up the synth lead, surrounding it with galloping drum work and rushy breaks. Douglas meanwhile, is absolutely at ease on his interesting, invigorating remix. He brings his freeform skills to the fore, resulting in a stripped down, instinctual ride into the future. The beauty of New Zealand Story is its ability to instantaneously tell a million different stories. Douglas, as with all of the remixers, tells us his whilst still allowing us to draw our own over the beats.
For me, the piece de resistance of the entire package has been, since I first heard it, the Bustin & Skampy remix. They have always had a reputation for their remix work, but they have exceeded even their fine pedigree on NZS. They combine a number of techniques in the same piece, starting off with some solid breakbeats. The melody enters, but is kept in check by the breaks. A breakdown is built back up from by an emotional piano line, and then the real magic happens. They draw out the epicness of the piece, using the extra long build to delay the reinsertion of the melodic phrase until the final possible moment. The pay off, of course, is blissful, as the way they divide the melody, *under* the break, never quite referring to it in full, simultaneously showing snatches of different parts of the tune, is sublime. My remix of the year.
NZS is set to have a huge impact on the breakbeat hardcore scene. Many will remember the original fondly, and the new set of tracks is a fitting legacy for Ponder and Wizbit’s creation. The remixes will bring many people together, who may follow the individual remixers, and all that listen will be filled with the joy of a new-found discovery, a knowledge that all of the separate parts which make up the release contribute to a fuller understanding of what the New Zealand Story is and what it represents. All will write their own story, aided and abetted by the amazing sounds which these producers have fashioned.