By EILEEN CECONI
Sometimes the combination of two artists is enough to make a great remix. Regardless of the original song’s quality or the remixer’s inventiveness, there’s a greater synergistic force at work that makes the end product better than just the sum of its parts. Such is the case with the RAEKO remix of St. Lucia’s single, “Elevate.” Before even hitting play, I knew it would sound beautiful. In the spirit of St. Valentine’s Day (a day named after a saint tortured in Rome and buried under a road … whatever), I am going to say that this is the result of a truly great match of artists.
St. Lucia has been on my radar since 2011. Shortly after releasing an EP independently, South African singer Jean-Phillip Grobler signed with Neon Gold Records: home of Passion Pit, Chvrches, HAERTS, The Knocks and many more electronic pop staples. I managed to catch St. Lucia on his tour with Ellie Goulding about a year ago at B&T mecca Terminal 5; it was basically a high-energy dance party fueled by strobe lights. And while RAEKO may not be a household name, this is actually the side project of Sir Sly’s synth man Jason Suwito. Sir Sly has been a fixture of the indie blogosphere since releasing the single, “Ghost” in 2012, and just finished supporting St. Lucia on part of a North American tour. Though not nearly as well known as St. Lucia, I like to think of Sir Sly as a foil. Both can be loosely categorized as electro pop, but they represent different sides of a coin. St. Lucia is upbeat and shimmery, whereas Sir Sly is the slighter darker, morose twin. They incorporate similar synths and beats into their music, but the overall tones serve as a contrasting element.
I think this relationship between these artists is pretty clearly demonstrated in this remix. Not that the original song is all rainbows and unicorns, but with lines such as, “I don’t know how you do it / but somehow you always will be there,” and a music video that features children frolicking in a fire hydrant-turned-sprinkler and hipsters hugging on rooftops, it is clear that this is a joyous anthem. By stripping off some of the layers and replacing them with deeper, minor synths, RAEKO adds his perspective to dial down this song. This is definitely a case where I prefer the remix to the original, and I’m a bit bummed I didn’t catch these two together on tour. If you enjoy this, be sure to catch the flip side, with two band members of St. Lucia remixing Sir Sly’s “Ghost” under the moniker Togetherness.