I have been wanting to put this together for a long time and, while I have no doubt that remixes for this song will continue to trickle out, I think we’ve finally reached a point where I can present the best remixes so far for this undeniably iconic song. If the name of the song doesn’t ring a bell and you’re now just getting creeped out by the Jim Henson-during-his-heavy-drug-phase album art, bear with me. While you may not be acquainted with it by name, you have undoubtedly heard it featured in countless commercials, movies, closing credits and the like, and many critics had no problem naming it the best song of 2011. Produced by French electronica artist M83, the song was reportedly inspired by the scene in Downtown Los Angeles at dark, which is immediately apparent when listening to the track. The sounds are ethereal and hard to describe but elicit a feeling that is incontrovertible. There is no doubt that Anthony Gonzales captured that nighttime energy in his ridiculously original track.
Since its release, “Midnight City” has been remixed by the likes of Danish producer Trentemøller and Eric Prydz alongside a host of other lesser known producers, each who have contributed their different take on the original. While it is hard to ever touch this original and it is questionable whether any of these producers actually improved it (I would say no), as with any song that is so beloved by many producers, it is always interesting to see what their remixes bring to or take away from the songs they work with. I want to introduce to you today some remixes that span the different subgenres of electronic music, starting first with PatrickReza’s dubstep rendition. PatrickReza, most recently gaining recognition for his “Until We Bleed” remix, brings his slow and drippy bass style which pairs up very nicely with M83’s sounds.
Eric Prydz, whose song “Call On Me” never left rotation as one of the best and most instantly recognizable dance songs of all time, brings a little less pop than usual and beefs up M83’s track with a faster paced house beat and driving bass which makes the sound less laying-on-the-grass-looking-at-the-stars and much more club friendly.
German producer Sharem Jey took on this beast and decided to back it with a moombahton-tempo drum beat. Right off the bat, it brings a lot more energy than the original while remaining noninvasive. I wish he’d done more than just add the drums and the beat but it makes for a nice minimal remix which is just as pleasing as the original.
What I think is all around the best remix I’ve heard thus far, however, has to be small-time producer Who Killed JR‘s remix. While most of the other producers here just took what was already a great original and changed it minimally, Who Killed JR had the balls to really make the track his own, which you’ll notice the second you push play and hear the melodic piano intro. He brings in synths and a modified drum beat giving the whole thing a complete makeover. Clocking in at almost 7 minutes long, the song waxes and wanes delicately and comes as close as possible to trumping the original. Of course, a remix like this could never exist without M83’s incredible ingenuity and inspiration in creating “Midnight City” in the first place.