Instant Remedy (a.k.a. Martin Andersson from Sweden) hardly needs any introduction to those who frequently visit http://remix.kwed.org (R.K.O.) in hope of catching his latest remixes or who have bought the Back In Time 2 companion CD-ROM which contains many of his remixes from R.K.O. His near- perfect uptempo dance rhythms mixed masterfully to the tunes of old SID classics have captivated many fans and shot him to the top of the charts on the above website. Even the name Instant Remedy was an inspiration to some: a few months ago those people published a CD under the pseudonym Slow Poison...
Riding on this popularity wave is his recently released first album, which is self-titled. The album contains three tracks that can be downloaded freely from R.K.O. - these also got a serious facelift and their newer versions also appear on this album. Plus there are a lot of brand new remixes there, too.
If you are not familiar with Instant Remedy (IR from now on) - you should be. Because even if your legs are made of wood, I guarantee you will start dancing once you hear the first few tracks of this album. Although the booklet accompanying the CD is skimpy on the details (and black all over), as a bonus it also contains the BPM info for every single tune - I suspect DJs will welcome this thoughtful feature in clubs all over the world.
The first track that will convince you about the talent displayed by IR is not the opening track - which is The Palace ingame tune from Last Ninja and is still pretty good by itself -, but the second: Flimbo's Quest. The happy and playful nature of the original shines through the melodies and the rhythms like a beacon.
Comic Bakery is a tough cookie to handle for most everybody out there - IR does a respectful job of bringing it uptempo in the Extended Version, but I am not convinced it works well, which is probably the reason I find it too long, too. This tune appears again in a different remix which is one of the bonus tracks and is basically the same as the freely available version at R.K.O. I actually like that one better.
International Karate builds a lot on the Ryuichi Sakamoto melody (like the original Hubbard tune), but IR chopped up and heavily modified the SID tune to bring out the most of it for dance clubs. IK+ is a very technoish track that contains almost every segment of Hubbard's tune (which was basically a remix itself) and is quite enjoyable even for those who are still refusing the dance when they get to this track on the album.
Track #5 on the album is one of the Game On tunes by Markus Schneider worked into fast-paced madness (in fact, clocked at 142 BPM it is the fastest track on the CD). You really have to be deaf not to move your legs and shake your body when listening to this one! Its style reminds me a lot of Laserdance.
The appropriately spooky intro of Ghosts'n'Goblins - complete with bells, whispering voices and grandiose organ chords - definitely sets the mood for the rest of this remix, which is almost gothic in nature and sounds a lot better than the earlier version available at R.K.O.
There are two other Last Ninja remixes on the album besides the one that appears on track #1: they both remix The Wastelands ingame tune from the famous game. The Club Version is absolutely awesome - it's just one darn good track! No wonder it's also IR's personal favorite. However, I find nothing extended about the Extended Version (which is also available at R.K.O.), in fact, I think it's the little brother of the other one both in quality and in length. It is still pretty good, though.
Trolls is one of the many tracks on the album that uses original SID sounds (in this case, arpeggios), and it works surprisingly well. But I have ambivalent feelings about the next track, Warriors: at times it is really groovy and I dig it a lot, but there are large portions of it that I find too repetitive and thus, boring. Making this track 7 minute long (the longest of the CD) was a mistake - I could easily cut 2-3 minutes out of it and still keep it interesting.
Commando lends itself to uptempo treatments and IR doesn't disappoint: the V2 version is one of his most original remixes, with remix emphasized here. SID fans will recognize the many bits and pieces of the Hubbard classic, but they are rearranged in a way that the result still makes a lot of sense. It appears yet again as one of the bonus tracks: it's the earlier, but still very danceable version straight from R.K.O.
West Bank is surprising because the way it brings out the melody, but I feel it was a strange choice for a remix. Still, this V2 version is way better than the one available at R.K.O.
That's 15 tracks for you totaling over 72 minutes of pure dance music. You want more? Go and grab the rest of his work from R.K.O., like the seamless blend of Lazy Jones tunes put into a dance-medley or the rather enjoyable and crazy Back in Time Live Mix which is essentially a sampler of his many remixes.
Needless to say, I can highly recommend IR's album to everybody. SID fans are guaranteed to enjoy his remixes, because they give new dimensions to old classics. Clubbers who know nothing about SIDs will enjoy the great rhythms blended with the catchy melodies. And even people like me, who are not particularly fond of dance remixes, will find that IR produces high quality music.
URL: Instant Remedy