- Light in Me (feat. Nicole Croteau) (David Thulin Remix)
- Architecture (David Thulin Remix) (Jonathan Thulin)
- Love Audio (David Thulin vs Matthew Parker Remix) (Press Play)
- Beautiful Love (David Thulin Remix) (Shine Bright Baby)
- In Crowd (feat. Soul Glow Activatur) (David Thulin Remix) (Rapture Ruckus)
- This is Love (David Thulin Remix) (Natalie Grant)
Remix albums are almost very hard to review. Are you reviewing the remix artist (in this case David Thulin, brother of singer/songwriter Jonathan Thulin and on one of Christian music’s rising and thriving record labels DREAM Records), or are you reviewing the choice of the songs that were remixed? The techniques and the uniqueness of the remixes themselves, the flow of the songs, or whether it even resembles the original song in the first place? I’d say all these things are factors, and as David Thulin has made a name for himself within the Christian EDM remix industry, his ability to take powerful songs from some of today’s top Christian artists (Charmaine, Group 1 Crew, Jonathan Thulin, Manic Drive, Natalie Grant) and create the melodies in such a way where the vocals are the only elements of the original song that stay intact is pretty remarkable. As spoken by David himself, ‘…the sound of electronic dance music has never been as popular as it is right now. I mean it’s basically defined pop music for the last five years. And what my goal is to do, is to bring that sound to Christian music…’ What comes out from remixing these 6 tracks is something that challenges us and our own musical tastes- will we still love the songs if they were choreographed and musically driven in a different way? Is what defines the song primarily lyrics or primarily music? Or both? Some listeners really love electronic remix music, and some prefer reflective elements of the melody, and I reckon in Reconstruction Volume 2, knowing the style of music David Thulin produces, we are able to have a whole smorgasbord of unique beats powerful electronic sounds, enough to warrant a listen from EDM enthusiasts, fans of Christian CCM and fans of these artists in particular. While I myself have never reviewed a remix album, I’m sure that in the forthcoming paragraphs, I can hopefully give an unbiased account of the album, and whether I’d recommend the remix version, or advocate the original one to listeners of these songs, songs which have been popular on K-Love, Air 1 and other radio stations throughout these past few weeks and months!
‘Architecture’ is possibly one of my favourite songs from Jonathan Thulin. Originally a keyboard prominent melody, with a lot of synths in the background, Jonathan describes creation in the song, not through nature but by the man-made structures that have been built throughout the years, the intricacies of each of the monuments, and how God takes care of us is so much more than these buildings and structures. The interesting and clever chorus that Jonathan declares of how ‘…You built me up like a city of gold, the battles rage but I’m standing tall, you formed my heart like an empire, the wind and rain can’t stop this fire…’, gives me hope, clarity and perspective, that just like these buildings, God has given us a sturdy foundation to stand upon- Himself. And just like these buildings, our own purpose is to stand up tall and reflect the glory of God wherever we are. The remix of the melody doesn’t stray too much from the original, with the addition of some vocal distortion, some chorus repetition after the first verse, and the omission of the bridge altogether (but if you’re immersed in the song like I was, you’d probably not notice that particular change). On the whole, ‘Architecture’ and its remix gives me something to listen to again and again on my iTunes playlist. This is one of those remixes that enhances the original song, and adds something fresh, unique and invigorating to all those who hear it.
Sadly, David Thulin’s remix of Shine Bright Baby’s song ‘Beautiful Love’ doesn’t necessarily live up to the original melody in terms of musical quality, despite the original track being almost a minute shorter than the remixed one. The extension of the ‘ooohhhh’ opening lyric lines that Emily creates can seem to be borderline irritating as it is placed up against heavy electronic keyboards. I know that David Thulin means well, and I applaud him by creating something that many producers may not necessarily create. Yet I can’t help but feel like this remix was underdone a bit. The pace of the lyrics, as we all know, is quite fast (when we hear the original), yet this remix version and its pace chops and changes, depending on how you look at it. The lyrics and its pace still seem fast, and when you try to isolate the lyrics in your head and play this pace in the remix version compared to the pace in the originally produced one, the pace hardly changes, if at all. Yet the music produced by David Thulin seems to drag the song down to a slower pace, even if it means slowing the pace of the music down even more than the lyrics. Despite this mishap, Shine Bright Baby’s song is nevertheless a great track to be experimented with- its theme about knowing and understanding the beautiful love God has given inside of us is something us Christians need to constantly renew ourselves with every day. Well done to David Thulin for these remixes- even if some don’t turn out as how I would imagine them (certainly not David’s remix of SBB’s ‘Beautiful Love’), I do give him credit- and who knows, maybe someone else will enjoy ‘Beautiful Love (David Thulin Remix)’ more than me?
Throughout the rest of the album, David remixes some of the freshest and upbeat songs that have been circling the airwaves and on people’s iTunes players within these past few weeks and months. Natalie Grant’s ‘This is Love’, a song that encourages us to be the love of God and the love that people around us need, is given an electronic redux, with vocal distortion and more pulsating drum beats the primary difference between the remixed version and the CCM track (arguably one of my favourite songs from Natalie’s most recent album, Hurricane). ‘Love Audio’ is a unique remix, and features a vs- basically two remixes in one. David Thulin’s trademark of electronic keyboards shines through as ‘Love Audio’ transitions from electronic keyboards to distorted vocals and some eerily powerful and compelling vocal only bits as the track which talks about how the love that we share can be the audio that makes people’s lives better, is incredibly enhanced by David’s rendition.
Overall: Also introducing a new track ‘Light in Me’, featuring the vocals of DREAM Records artist Nicole Croteau, and speaking about how ‘…even if the sun won’t rise, even if the lights go out, you’re glowing within me…’, and the powerful rap melody ‘In Crowd’, that places the music technique on distortion (which leads to the effect of the music on the track being similar to what you would hear a professional DJ do at a local club); each of the songs David has done showcase a different part of him that makes up what a great EDM remix artist he is. Reconstruction 2.1 may have its downfalls, but one thing it does have going for it is uniqueness. This album is perhaps different than any CCM/pop album, or even different than any remix album out there (though I still like Avalon: 02 Remixed and Newsboys Remixed that were released about a decade ago). Fans of EDM, or fans of his brother Jonathan, ought to listen to David and his remixed melodies. A different side to music, and a different side to Christian music as well, David has given his all do deliver a well-choreographed and enjoyable album. Well done David for such an encouraging album that reminds us that a different style is able to bring out another side of the song that is different, unique, and worth listening to!
RIYL: Jonathan Thulin, Press Play, Capital Kings, Nicole Croteau, Charmaine