What’s The Difference Between A Remix And A Re-Edit?
Remixes and re-edits/edits have been an integral part of dance music culture since the early days of Disco. In today’s article, guest contributor Harold Heath looks at the history of the Re-Edit and the Remix and examines what defines them.
Remixes, edits, re-edits, reworks, mash-ups, dub mixes, bootlegs – dance music can be a confusing place. Take two successful original tracks of recent years, DJ Koze’s ‘Pick Up’ (above) and Midland’s ‘Final Credits’ (below). Both tracks contain substantial samples – we’ve put the original tracks below the edits (from Melba Moore and Lee Alfred, respectively). The sample usage in both suggest they could almost be called re-edits. However, the additional original production and arrangement completely changed the source material to create something exciting and new.
Are they original compositions, remixes, re-edits, or even reworks?
This question can be tricky to answer. The boundaries between remixes and re-edits have become blurred over the last few years, and there’s never really been a clear dividing line. However, there are a couple of main features which define remixes versus re-edits. One is about legality and one relates to how they were produced.
Production of A Remix vs Re-Edit
First up, let’s discuss the production of these two types of tracks. A remix is when a producer has access to the original recordings from a song, including the separate audio tracks, enabling them to either treat or entirely replace parts in isolation – like the bass line or the percussion.
A re-edit, on the other hand, is made from the finished full recording of a song rather than the individual audio parts. This vastly reduces the creative licence available to a producer. They can’t replace the bass or put effects on just the vocal as they only have the entire song to play with. Instead, edits are about re-arrangement with the aim of making a record more dancefloor friendly. Common things to do when making a re-edit include:
- cutting and pasting parts
- extending intros and breakdowns
- removing some sections, shrinking or elongating others
Why Did DJs Start Making Re-Edits / Remixes?
Why was creating this type of edit or remix even necessary? Peter Shapiro, in his seminal book about the roots of disco, ‘Turn The Beat Around‘, puts it simply;
“DJs always wanted longer records with longer percussive passages.”
Francis Grasso, DJing at the Sanctuary in New York in the early 70s, had discovered that percussion-heavy records and breaks (when the instruments drop out leaving just the drums) were phenomenally effective on the dance floor. DJs like David Mancuso and the pioneers who followed (like Nicky Siano, Bobby DJ, Steve D’Acquisto; and later Walter Gibbons, Frankie Knuckles and Larry Levan) all sought out longer records with percussive breaks and vamps (repetitive instrumental sections – they pre-dated the loops of house and techno).
Hip Hop DJs had also observed the irresistible power of the break on dancers too. They all knew that longer records really allowed a crowd to ‘dig in’, to really get into their groove and lose themselves in the music. All sought out longer tracks, digging into obscure album cuts and rare imports to acquire the sort of records they desired, knowing they could use breaks and vamps to segue smoothly from one track to the next, keeping their audience locked in on the dance floor in the process. And if the record they were playing didn’t have a long break or a long vamp, they could create one by mixing between two copies of the track.
It is this collective discovery, this secret DJ knowledge, that drove the invention of both the remix and the re-edit in the 1970s. DJs from both the disco and hip-hop worlds would use two copies of the same tune to extend breaks and vamps and to eliminate interruptions to the musical flow. The sole purpose was simple: they never wanted to give anyone an excuse to leave the dance floor. DJs began making their own reel-to-reel edits to mimic this process, to create long, danceable grooves. Edits were often simply neater cut and paste versions of what they would do live with two records. The remix too was born from the same necessity: DJs needed and dancers wanted records that were specifically re-tooled for the dance floor.
The Legality Of Remixes vs. Re-Edits
The second classically defining feature of remixes and re-edits was legality. Remixes were generally done ‘officially’ – commissioned by record labels and perfectly legal. Re-edits were done privately, usually for use only by the DJ who made them and legally, were in a much murkier area. Although technically infringing copyright, throughout the pre-digital era the larger music industry was content to ignore DJ re-edits as they could be an effective promotional tool for the record labels and it was only working DJs who had access to them.
However, recent years have seen a sharp rise in re-edits being released and sold as either original compositions or as ‘reworks’. There are huge quantities of unlicensed re-edits, remixes, cover versions and mash-ups online. The major labels no longer turn a blind eye to producers using their clients’ work uncredited, and all the majors have entire departments dedicated to tracking down sample infringements and safeguarding any potential royalties for their rights holders. This only becomes an issue for you if your Love Is The Message re-edit on SoundCloud suddenly becomes successful and you’ve not cleared the sample: then the lawyers will come looking for you.
The Already Fuzzy Line Keeps Blurring
So is there a clear answer to the question of difference between remixes and a re-edits? Access to the original parts still makes something a guaranteed remix, but it’s not a requirement anymore. You no longer need original parts to make a final production that sounds more like a remix. Software like Logic, Ableton Live, and Reason have become more sophisticated, and enabled producers to substantially manipulate and change the source material. There’s a whole competition dedicated to audio signal separation that could end up in future DJ software, and programs like Xtrax Stems (read our review here) already does its best to split up tracks into stems.
Artists like DJ Koze, Midland, Rayko, Late Night Tuff Guy, Dimitri From Paris and others continue to produce quality new club tracks based on reinterpreting old music, each with quite different approaches and results, from the Glitterbox bangers of Dr Packer (above) to the sublime underground disco-tech of Psychemagik (below).
Re-edits have been as important in the development of dance music as remixes, and many of our favorite tunes are simply reinterpretations of older music, whether through a 2 bar sample loop or a new rework of an entire song; dance music has always greedily cannibalized its past.
If we’re looking for a clear, simple definition, then the original definition still stands, even if the boundaries are sometimes a little blurred. A remix is a new interpretation created from the individual parts of a song, whereas a re-edit is created from the entire song. And until someone comes up with a better idea, when it comes to anything that doesn’t neatly fit into either category, we’re just using the term ‘re-work’. Simple!
What’s the Difference between a Remix vs Edit vs Bootleg vs Dub?
July 27, 2021
The dance music world has introduced so many techniques and elements to music production opening the door to creativity. It’s allowed for artists to take on various interpretations of original works. Many of you have heard remixes of popular house and techno tracks. Take for instance Green Velvet’s 1995 track “Flash.” It’s received remix treatments from EatsEverything, Latmun, and Alberto Ruiz among others. That same track also has other versions including edits and bootlegs. What’s the difference between a remix vs edit and then some? It can get confusing, so let’s break down the technical aspects of music production and arrangement.
Can You Spot the Difference between a Remix vs Edit or even Re-Work?
Starting off with the most widely heard take on an original production: the remix. This is a legal version of a new mix of a song when stems (bass, drums, vocals, melody, etc.) are given to an artist who’s remixing the original track. Typically remixes change the style of the song. Listen to Nicola Cruz’s remix of Cromby’s “Qué Sientes” below.
This version of a track isn’t officially commissioned by the original artist to receive a new treatment. The artist gives it their own treatment using the raw song, no stems. A person cannot monetize from their fresh spin. Listen to Tones and I “Dance Monkey” (Tommy Libera Techno Bootleg) below.
An “edit” of a track means only bits of a track has been changed. This can sometimes be the drop or tempo but not to the extent of completely changing the track to qualify it as a remix. Listen to Shouse “Love Tonight” (Restricted & Nik Sitz Edit) below.
This production technique revamps a track that’s already been published. Artists usually do this to their own tracks. Reworks can take an original track in another direction in terms of sound and style. Listen to Nicole Moudaber’s “In the Mood” (Rework) below.
Blending two or more tracks (typically of different genres) will result in a mashup. Mashups reached popularity in the 2000s and 2010s. Listen to Girl Talk mashup 24 songs in their 2014 “Set It Off” track below.
A dub version of a track removes vocals from the original. Listen to Terr’s “Tale of Devotion” (Dub) below.
Once, I sat with a friend and I showed him Mardial’s Rhoma Irama – Berdendang ft. Rita Sugiarto (Mardial Flip/Reboot/Redank). He was amazed by it, and later he asked me about the meaning of those “Mardial Flip/Reboot/Redank” written on the title. So I gave him a brief explanation of each term commonly used in music.
So what is the meaning of bootleg, remix, VIP, flip, edit?
A Bootleg is doing a remix of a song using only the song it self, raw, no stems, and with no permission granted from the original artist. Some mashups are called bootlegs. This is one example of a bootleg made by Bima G.
Remix is new mix of a song, when stems (official samples of different recording tracks like the melody, bass, drums, etc.) are provided. And of course with permission granted by the original artist. These provided stems gave producers/artists the freedom of being highly creative on making a different version of the original track. Here is an example of a remix of Rendy Pandugo – Silver Rain, made by Gerald Gerald.
VIP in this context stands for Variation In Production. Usually means that the original producer wrote the original song in a different way, like an artist remixing their own song. This one is an example of a VIP track made by Jevin Julian. The earlier version of it is here.
Flip means to take a sample and make a beat or song using that sample in a creative way. “Sample flipping” is another phrase that means the same thing. It’s all sampling (music sampling), but the phrases used to describe what is done in sampling are continually evolving. In other words, a flip is a new track made out from a sampled material of another track. On this one example of All The Time (Tove Lo Flip) by Keys N Krates, we can hear the vocal part of Tove Lo – Habits in a totally new track made by Keys N Krates with a different title, and with a totally different vibe.
Edit is doing minor changes to the song, usually with the drop/tempo/something that changes the song, but not enough to re-mix it. Some producers even take the edit further by changing one or more elements like this $HINNOSUKE NOHARA // CRAYON SHINCHAN made by Naj.
There might be another term used by different producers out there, but these are the most common I found on the internet. And now you all know what each of the term means, share and spread the knowledge! See ya.
By MSSVKNTRL for Hexa Culture
Edit remix vs
.Ed Sheeran - Bad Habits [Meduza Remix]
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