Jon Dixon’s Ambient Edit of “Redemption” by Goldie is taken from Part 1 of the “Journey Man Remix LP”, forthcoming on Metalheadz. Part 2 of the remix series also features a four-four mix of “Redemption” by Jon, alongside fellow Detroit Techno producer, the legendary “Mad” Mike Banks from Underground Resistance and Galaxy 2 Galaxy fame.
Placed between the rolling jazz fused mix of “Truth” by Zero T and the uptempo robot funk of Belgian producer Phase and his take on “Prism”, the ambient mix of “Redemption” provides respite from the albums drum and bass core. Six seconds short of eight minutes long, the track unfolds gracefully, steadily building layers of lavish pads to create a soundscape that’s immersive and stirring, a sonorous symphony that oozes elegance.
Elsewhere across the two albums are remixes by Digital and the late, great Spirit, with a tearing mix of “I Think Of You”, a heavy powerhouse of energy and technoid funk. And mixes from the current roster of Metalheadz artists including Artificial Intelligence, Mako, Grey Code and Lenzman.
Remixes often shine best when transposed to a different genre, one of the reasons this ambient mix works so well is that Detroit Techno and Drum and Bass are perfect allies, with a similar formative history of young black producers eager to create a new sound, introducing elements of science-fiction to create something expressive, personal and futuristic. When the two styles come together like this in unison, they create a truly mesmerising cosmic atmosphere.
Both volumes of the remix series are now available to pre-order.
Buy: Goldie – Journeyman Remixes Part 1 / Part 2
We caught up with Jon to discuss the bond between the two genres, his production process and the “Redemption” remixes for Goldie.
I’ve always been fascinated by the connection between early drum and bass and Detroit Techno, a lot of my favourite artists were heavily inspired by what was going on over the pond in the Motor City, not just the music itself but the producer community working together to craft something new, resulting in a powerful musical movement. What’s your take on that? Were you exposed much to the jungle scene in Detroit?
I think community is important in any genre when you’re working towards something that is unique and in the moment. What’s amazing to me is that while Techno was evolving in Detroit, it began to make a powerful impact globally as you’ve mentioned. As Detroiters, we’re influenced not only by other musicians around us, but also our environment. Detroit in the 80s and 90s wasn’t the prettiest, nor was it a destination for tourists. Yet, across the entire city you had these “creative genius’” who were in their studios creating this music for the future….only to realize that it would slowly impact the world as it did.
There have been some amazing remixes between techno artists and drum and bass producers, the Claude Young mix of Jacob’s Optical Stairway (4hero) and the Alex Reece remix of Kenny Larkins “Loop 2” instantly spring to mind. What parallels do you see between the two styles and from a production perspective, why do you think they work so well together?
I think it’s the ear of the producer more so than the genre of the music. Personally, I’ve always loved finding similarities and differences when it came to doing a remix. In the case of anything Goldie has done and techno for example, I would have to imagine also that he’s gone through some things in life that triggers certain emotions. Those emotions go into the music and make it that much more meaningful. Everyone has their own approach to a remix. For me, especially since getting to know Goldie very well over the past 6 years or so, I knew what direction to go when he asked, and I also knew where I wanted to take it
How did you get the opportunity to be a part of the Journeyman Remix project?
In 2014 I met Goldie in Croatia in a van overseas travelling to an airport. The ride was about 3 hours but seemed like 20 minutes. Somehow, we both got on the subject of Pat Metheny and his music. From there I knew all I needed to know about him, and vice versa. We discussed Pat’s catalogue and the late Lyle Mays (Pat’s keyboardist for many years and my favourite keyboardist). Having never met before, we both understood the complexity of Pat Metheny’s music to be able to talk about it as if we both discovered it at the same time. It was that van ride that let us both know we knew how to understand music on a visual, emotional and spiritual level. We exchanged emails and I hit him up as soon as I got back to Detroit. As he mentioned in the van, he was going to start working on his new album and he wanted to involve me. I can’t mention how many early morning and late-night calls I got, emails, texts, you name it. Goldie knew exactly what it was he was hearing and how it should sound. And even though we were both in different countries, he was able to draw something from me that I didn’t know I could do. From those many conversations I was able to co-write ‘Horizon’, ‘Tomorrows Not Today’ and ‘This is Not a Love Song’. I was featured on ‘Run Run Run’ (piano) and ‘Redemption’. Since then I talk to G about once a month or so and he’s always involving me in many of his projects, including Subjective. He asked about me doing a remix a while ago and nothing made me happier than to say yes.
One of the reasons your Ambient mix blew me away was because it follows straight after the jazzy rolling remix of “Truth” by Zero T, you go from listening to these tight drum loops and deep bass to eight minutes of chords, FX and vocals. I’m sure a lot of people will listen to it as an album and think “when is the beat going to kick in”, it’s a powerful moment when you realise it’s not going to and the beauty of your remix unfolds. Have you heard the album in full and what did you think?
I’ve heard the album in its entirety and it flows very well. Goldie is very particular about that stuff and I know the ambient track was placed where it is strategically. All the remixes are incredible, especially when you know the original so well.
The album features two remixes of “Redemption”, the ambient version we are premiering today and a techno version featuring the legendary Mike Banks. What is it like working with him? Am I right in understanding he has been like a mentor to you?
Mike is a mentor yes, but much more than that. Before graduating the “UR boot camp”, Mike has spent countless hours showing and teaching me all he knows musically, but about the business side as well. He told me who I should know and work with. He also told me who to stay away from and avoid. Everything that I released always goes past Mikes ears and this remix was no exception. I let him hear it and he said “Jon, you should let me put some strings on it”. The rest is history. His strings really give the track that UR/Detroit sound and that’s what I was going for.
Talking of which, halfway through the original version of Redemption, it launches into the intro keys from Galaxy 2 Galaxy’s “Hi-Tech Jazz”. Where you tempted to feature those in your mix or was it a conscious choice to leave them out?
I was tempted at first, but I wanted to take the approach of doing something that wasn’t to be expected. If I were a listener and knew the song “Hi Tech Jazz” and to see that a UR member, was doing a remix on “Redemption”, I would expect to hear it in the remix. So I stayed away from it.
Can you run us through your mindset when tackling this project and the two remixes?
With the ambient mix, I wanted to create a mood. What type of mood that is all depends on the listener. I envisioned colors and layers,similar to the art Goldie does actually. With my remix that features Mike, I just wanted it to be good enough for Goldie and it was.
Can you let us know a bit about your studio and your creative process, what motivates you to sit down and produce?
My studio is 10 keyboards, a few smaller synths and 2 sets of speakers. Since I’m a musician first, I love using hardware so all my sounds come from my gear. As far as the creative process, it varies. Sometimes I’ll go into my studio and it’s completely silent. I’ll wait and see if I hear an idea. It can be a melody, a rhythm or a chord. Sometimes I don’t hear anything and I’ll shut everything down. Other times I have an idea of where or how I want to start a track. I never force anything. When I feel myself forcing parts into a production I save it and shut it down for a day or so. For me, making music is a way of life. It’s something that I know I was created to do. The world has probably heard only 2% of music that I’ve ever made, but everything isn’t meant to be released. I do it because if I don’t get the ideas out, it’ll drive me crazy. With the musical training that I’ve gotten over the past few decades Im grateful to be able to go into the studio and use my keyboards to make what it is I’m hearing, or what I’m picturing visually, or what emotions I want to evoke.
Finally, where can people find out more about you and can you recommend some of your back catalogue to people who are yet to discover your music?
My entire catalogue of 4EVR 4WRD can be found on my Bandcamp. And for other releases and collaborations I do my best to keep my social media updated.
Links: Bandcamp / Website / Instagram