2010 has without a doubt been the year of dubstep; I would predict that the vast majority of new acts, new releases and high charting singles have fallen into this genre over the last year. Its dirty dance sound reminiscent of drum and bass, dub, garage and grime is very heavy and infectious, add to that (usually) some sweet vocal melodies over the top and you all of a sudden have something completely unobtrusive and very catchy. So when I heard that Max Taylor (bassist for Roots Manuva/ Groove Armada/ Clor) and drummer John Maiden (Tricky) were starting a new project I have to admit I was expecting them to be doing something from this growingly popular genre. How wrong I was; in fact the original version of ‘Letters From Vienna’ is nothing short of a pop rock song. However there are a couple of remixes that are picking up a lot of attention, including this Ashley Beedle mix.
From the start of the track there is a bongo line that sounds like it was stolen directly from Michael Viner’s Incredible Bongo Band’s version of ‘Apache’, but it only takes forty seconds to change into something much darker. In come the bass lines so familiar with dubstep now, heavy on the reverb and very distorted. It could be mistaken for some kind of 90’s speed garage track if it weren’t for the vocals holding it together and giving it a more modern feel. The general idea of the original song is there, the offbeat guitars and the eerie synths are all included here but the overall sound is much more accomplished. It sounds like a finished article rather than the original track that only sounds like the beginnings of something that could be much better. It shows off Ashley Beedle as a great remix artist and someone who can take something quite plain and bring it to life. Don’t get me wrong the original song is alright (it’s got to be near impossible to make a good remix of a terrible track) but I think that this mix of ‘Letters From Vienna’ has much more substance behind it and a much more mainstream feel… for now at least. 7/10