I’m not normally one who appreciates remixes. Usually they just feel like bad covers designed to take advantage of club goers and helpless mainstream addicts who want the same three beat variations for the rest of their lives. However, I’ve been proven wrong a lot lately when it comes to music, and I think that’s something that’s important to admit when you’ve been analyzing and critiquing music for well over a decade. Sam Amidon’s self-titled album of mostly early-1900s folk/Americana covers was released last month and completely altered my view on what a “covers album” is capable of, and now Deftones might be on the cusp of changing my mind about remixes. These two similar but separate avenues of re-imagining art have always been throwaways, but the tide is changing.
The myth of Black Stallion has been a topic of discussion for years in diehard Deftones circles, and now we’re finally getting it on December 11th via the White Pony 20th Anniversary Edition. I have to say, the two remixes released so far (‘Knife Prty’ and ‘Passenger’) have done more than merely avoid disappointment – they’ve caused real excitement from a fan of the band who just spent the last 2 months relentlessly jamming Ohms and who should be tired of the band’s sound by now. Purity Ring’s ‘Knife Prty’ remix is something to behold – a gorgeous, dazzling blend of keyboards, synths, and drums that has a smooth glazed finish and a downright haunting air. It feels like the original song’s inverse, which is pretty much the point of Black Stallion versus White Pony. Mike Shinoda’s remix of ‘Passenger’ is somehow even more propulsive and adrenaline-inducing than its White Pony counterpart, driving anticipation for the chorus through the roof before it finally erupts – darkly, resplendently. I’m not saying either of these tracks are better than their corresponding originals (they’re not), but when you consider how entrenched in metal lore every song from White Pony is, anything resembling revitalization and intrigue is a towering achievement. Both of these songs do that, making the White Pony/Black Stallion 20th Anniversary Edition an album well worth adding to your December checklist.