Google+ Beathearts: Ahvenlahti/Hulkkonen/Porter/Opolopo



Two of the greatest uptempo reworks of old jazz classic in our mind are Jori Hulkkonen's version of Olli Ahvenlathi's Countenance and Opolopo's remix of Gregory Porter's 1960 what? Although different we feel that both producers managed to update each track in a seminal way at the same time as they pay tribute to the original productions. We recently got the chance to ask both producers how they came up with their ideas.

Olli Ahvenlahti - Countenance (Jori Hulkkonen Jazz acid mix) (Jazz Puu 2002)

We would love to hear the story of how your remix of Olli Ahvenlahti's Countenance came about. How come you chose that track? How did you go about reworking it? What did Ahvenlahti think of your version?

The seminal Finnish technolabel Sähkö recordings had started a sublabel called Jazz Puu ("Jazz tree"), with the idea of licensing and releasing Finnish jazz classics with new interpretations/remixes if fitting. I've been very close to the label for a long time and it was kind of natural that I'd be involved on one of the releases at some point.

My idea was a conceptual one I'd had for a while; while I like the term "Acid Jazz" it doesn't really have anything to do with Acidhouse, and not really Jazz either. So my idea was to make "Jazz Acid", and combine jazz with the sound of Roland TB-303, and this seemed like the perfect project to try it. The genre never really picked up, as far as I know, this is the only jazz recording with 303 in it (please prove me wrong).

The remix in itself was done just by sampling the original as no stems from the original were available. That was a bit tricky because working with sequencers and drummachines and making a record for club DJs trying to keep up with tempochanges often found with recordings like this is challenging. Basically I programmed the broken beat, and the acid line and then timestretched, cut and trimmed all the bits I wanted to use and then arranged it and added the additional synthlines. All in all i think it took me two days to finish the mix. I have no idea if Ahvenlahti liked my version.

Gregory Porter - 1960 What? (Opolopo Remix) (Tokyo Dawn Records 2011)

We need to ask you about that Gregory Porter remake. Fantastic track, you wanna give us your story on that?

Well, that was something I initially just did for myself. I loved the original but every time I played it I felt that this could also totally work in a house set with a little "help". So I basically just tightened up the timing, filtered out the bottom end, added a new bass line, added a four-four kick, hats and some percussion. I didn't want to mess with the integrity of the original - it's such a powerful track with amazing vocals and overall vibe. So I kept the messing about to a minimum. I sent it out to a select list of trusted DJ's and then put it on my Soundcloud for listening only and made sure to link to the original so people would discover the original artist. The reactions were nuts... The day after I got a mail from a representative of Gregory's marketing team. I thought "aw shit, here we go..." But to my huge surprise they loved it and thanked me for supporting! They asked me if they could use it and turn it into an official remix and the rest is history.

Our first thought when we heard the track was that it sounded like a part II of Jori Hulkkonen's epic remix of Olli Ahvenlahti's classic 70s jazz-funk track Countenance. Were you inspired by that track when you put the Gregory Porter track together?

No, actually not. I never heard that track but I'll have to check it out. It's pretty funny though that a track like my version of 1960 what? get so much attention. I put that together very quickly. There are other tracks I'm much more proud over production wise or musically but never get that much attention. Some people say I didn't add anything of value and shouldn't take credit for the track and I really don't. I did it as an ode to Mr. Porter and always make sure to link to the original tune for others to discover.

Well, the whole purpose of the re-edit scene is to present and celebrate great perhaps unknown gems from the past to a whole new audience. And if anything you've definitely done that.

Yes, well hopefully I've inspired at least a few people to pick up the original record.

A full interview with Opolopo from our recent studio sitdown is coming up right here. Keep yourself updated via

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