cuts deep: 01

With all the extra free time the pandemic has dumped on us, it’s been a good time to explore and discover new music. Taking the plunge on artists one usually wouldn’t, revisiting beloved favourites, or finally getting round to that album you know you should have done years ago.

On a similar note of discovery, today we’re celebrating deep cuts: rarities, b-sides, remixes, reworks, demos, live versions, or even forgotten tracks on big albums. The first in a new series, here’s some of our favourite deep cuts, from electronic music to classic rock, Radiohead to Royksopp.

Chase & Status – Big Man Skank
With flat forgettable collabs plaguing the project, and a case of identity crisis clouding its execution, C&S’ third album Tribes wasn’t much to write home about. There were a handful of decent tracks like Big Man Skank however, whose horn-powered beat is flipped on its head into an all-out dnb banger, with killer vocals from Mr Vegas. 

James Blake – Modern Soul (Disclosure Remix)
First teased back in 2016 as part of a kitchen set from Guy, the Disclosure remix of James Blake resurfaced last year as part of the brothers’ self-isolated Boiler Room set. It was a welcomed reminder of Disclosure’s best remix so far, with this punchy, disco/Disclo-flicked rendition likely to never see an official release. Youtube converter where you at?

Frank Ocean – Dear April (Justice Remix)
Practically absent from the internet and only ever released officially as a b-side on a 7” single, the Justice remix of Frank Ocean is not only hard to hear, but is actually pretty unheard of. Gorgeously produced and draped in trademark Justice chords, Frank’s vocals are perched delicately over an all-new instrumentation that promises big things. It doesn’t disappoint.  

Pixies – Hey (Demo 1)
Pixies celebrated the 25th anniversary of their greatest album, with a collection of rare or unheard demos, sessions and rough versions of classic Dootlittle tracks. Frontman Francis introduces the track with a menacing ‘this will be a keeper’ and he wasn’t lying. This familiar-yet-fresh take of Hey gifts Santiago’s guitar in particular, an incredible new setting to sing. 

Isaac Tichauer – Higher Level (Bicep Remix 2)
Bicep fans have been crying out for the coveted second remix of Higher Level, so far only captured at the duo’s string of monumental live shows at Printworks. The standard remix is widely available, but remix two and its piercing ‘I’m gonna knock you right out’ sample has remained etched onto the London crowd since 2018.

Radiohead – Bloom (Jamie xx Rework Part 3)
Despite an all-star list of guest remixers, TKOL RMX was actually a pretty forgettable project besides that monster Four Tet remix of Separator. Jamie xx was also involved with a brief take on Bloom, which always felt short-lived, like it had more to offer. Luckily an extended ‘Part 3’ mix eventually arrived with Radiohead’s library/archive thing, and it has everything the original was missing: length, depth and a huge Thom-twinged drop.

Daft Punk – Horizon
Yes unfortunately Daft Punk are still broken up, leaving us all to forage around in their back catalogue for moments we may have missed. Horizon is one of those remnant scraps of sound, only found on the Japanese version of Random Access Memories. Dreamy and dramatic, and ever-poignant now the band’s fate has been decided, Horizon feels like an all-too-touching close to a magical career.

4hero – Morning Child (Daddy G Remix)
Widely regarded as the original trailblazers of drum and bass, and at the forefront of everything the genre now is, 4hero are about as influential as they come. Enter a fellow pioneer in the form of Massive Attack’s Daddy G, who transforms the jazzy jaunty Morning Child, into a sinister, West Coast-hip-hop-flavoured trip-hop masterpiece. 

The Streets – Weak Become Heroes (Royksopp’s Memory Lane Mix)
Notoriously solo across most of his projects, Mike Skinner instead welcomes reworks of The Streets through remix projects. Two projects so far, High Contrast, Skepta, Nero and Jammer are among the litter of high profile remixers and reworkers. The pick of the bunch goes to Swedish duo Royksopp who pump sun-kissed electronica into OPM staple, Weak Become Heroes.

Like this list? Catch out our 101 best songs of the decade

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