“Precious Energy ReUp” is a 12-track REMIX ALBUM
of the 2022 release “Precious Energy” nominated for an:
THE AUSTRALIAN MUSIC PRIZE
MUSIC VICTORIA AWARD
The new 12-track album features contributions from luminaries; Steve Spacek, Sampology and Toshio Matsuura as well as Setwun, Surana, Mike Gurrieri, Moses Carr, Kuzich, Dan West Audible Artefacts, The Lords Garden and Pat Telfer.
”The place I decided to take this remix was informed by imagining a dark room full of people later at night where things get deep and meditative on the dance floor. This was informed by the moving sax lines and vocals by the master Gary Bartz. I’ve been including percussionist Gustav Cereijo in my recent remixes as live conga adds so much to the danceability of the song. It was initially a bit of a challenge to conceptualise taking the original which I heard as a triplet feel as I wanted to take it to a mid-tempo 4/4 pulse. Barney was kind enough to agree to my request to track some extra Rhodes and synth lines on top at the new tempo I took it. It’s an honor to be included on this package and can’t wait to spin this in my upcoming DJ sets. “
My Sunrays reup was done in the style of what yu might call ‘Liquid DnB’- a style of Drum n Bass very popular in the UK for at least a decade and a half now. Championed at club nights like Forward at one of my all time fave spots ‘Plastic Peoples’.
This style of DnB uses the usual trademark 169 to say 174bpm rhythm section, along with a
deep sub baseline and juxtaposes this with some kinda soulful
melodious chord progressions to make up the sound often described as soulful DnB or liquid.
My reup utilising some of the vocals and musical chops from the original Sunrays track and combines those with the- above described style- rhyme section/low baseline combo. All this started on and old iPhone6 and
arranged, mixed and completed on iPhone X.
The offer to remix this beautiful dedication to Stevie came at a time I was digging into the Roland JV-1080 (lent to me by Silentjay) which can’t help but reflect that mid-90’s sound. Winter was winter, but a run of sunny days had me struttin’. The composition is such a journey, so it felt right to stay true to the arrangement, speeding it up to match the energy of the sun
My remix of Sweet Water is more a transmutation than a reconstruction of the stems. I created the bulk of this remix before I had met Barney and his proposal of a remix album (that would happen much later). As a result a lot of the music I added is more a response to the song because it was born out of just playing with the master track.
The sound world of Sweet Water goes through a distorted accordion solo portal and ends up somewhere else. We arrive into a darker groove world where syrupy synths cascade against the driving beat and bassline. LIKE POWER FROM THE SUN..........
DAN WEST AUDINLE ARTEFACTS
So errr remix approach WENT A LITTLE LIKE THIS..........
step1 was to source you / sample you down to your digital essence I
took the opening chords you played from the 100,000 stems you sent
me and granulated them to fuck through a whole bunch of these new
plugs I wanted to tryout in able TONNE I printed all these improvs to a
track and then started hacking them fo sweet watery rhythmic nuggets I
was like, these are glitchy and cool and feel like they came from a world
where people are subservient and robot bees are our rulers like smor
whatever the same world as the original song but subverted into digital
next I thought about working from the stems some more but I was like
THAT IS A LOT OF WORK and i'm not lazy but y know and I thought,
the final track is sooo good, better load the whole thing in and randomly
sample it to transient and replay it NO QUANT, shut up / donut
overthink? / smash pads and the like had to pitch it up coz it felt good
and proper to do that
ALSO IT'S WHERE YOU CAN HEAR THE ACTUAL SONG WHICH IS A
VIBE AND THE POINT OF ALL THIS
Ok so now it is a fucked up version of your really good song which I am
feeling sol added some drums and I wanna work on fills for it coz you
are JAZZ and everyone knows that JAZZ is 86% all about fills
INSERT FILLS HERE
and I go, well there is definitely a lot of rhythmic malarkey going on here
so better add some tonal biz and I think about you and your fabulous PE
band and how it has the synthesiser and the guitar innit and I think, hey
I've got a guitar/s and also that I have synthesisers so I play some
Juno60 for the haters and layer up a bunch of sweet guitar gestures to
push back against the abstract allure
ONE MORE BIT LEFT - BACK TO THA STEMS
of course that is you dear reader, my barney, my energy of preciousness
it's your synth solo from THE ACTUAL TRACK brings it all home for me
When I recieved the stems for Stevland I was overwhelmed to have such stems on hand. The composition itself already tapped into that same elation that Stevie does and I wanted to keep that sentiment. I feel the greatest joy when I listen to Stevie and Its crystal clear that Barney does to. I felt that was important to get across in whatever came out.
The harmony section that Rita and Jace had going on me pulled me in immediately and I began to rework that into a few styles in a few tempos. At this point I was in Germany and had to let it sit for a bit, slightly overwhelmed with possibilities and a sense of responsibility to the players, knowing that the uplifting vocal section would be where the track ended up and it wasn’t where I wanted it to begin. There’s such a great journey to the original piece that needed to stay in some form.
When I got home I tackled the tune again a month or so later with fresh ears.
Eventually the idea was to work the tune into a broken beat feel to keep it funky and driving with a dub-wise approach on the vocals. Uplift essential.
Time was spent reworking the arrangement of some sections and hesitantly and apologetically chopping lines from some of my favourite musicians, (ever changed a Gary Bartz line?)
Ultimately, aiming for something that could be used in celebration on the dance floor whilst hoping to keep the same spirit and reverence that Barney and the incredible team had laced within the music and the sections.
The whole process was an honour and I hope you enjoy the remix and it helps lift you when you need that.
If anything may it be a reminder that you should go and and listen to heaps of Stevie Wonder afterwards. He will do the job right every time.
I deconstructed the song by going through the stems and chopping short sounds from all the melodic and percussive elements. I constructed a groove and started layering some of my own sounds with the original samples. It turned out to be a pretty stripped back techno beat with a strong reference to the clave with a rim I layered. i pretty much play everything on a midi controller and try to get a good take without quantising to make it feel more natural. I then made an 808 bass with an Ableton synth layered with a one shot of the original bass. Once I got the groove settled I started going through some of the vocals and lead sounds. I left the vocals completely original but the timing of them turned into triplets over the new beat. It took me a few different approaches to arrange the tune and incorporate the vocals but I ended up using a synth lead from the middle of the tune as an intro to this remix ! Then it just grooves out and breaks down with a few constant stabs from Barney’s clav and synth takes. In my last session I threw in some extra percussion to give a little momentum in the second half of the track. It was a great challenge to make a remix for Barney because I’m usually producing very loopy and fast techno, usually with no key or melody or vocals! I think I still managed to keep my sound and strengths in this tune outside of my comfort zone so I thank Barney for the trust!
Being a long time fan of Barneys music I listened to precious energy and was immediately drawn to how beautiful the vibe and vocals were and sentiment.
I Can't remember if Barney said do you want to do a remix or if I said please can I do a remix, either way I loved the track so much I didn’t really want to change it too much.
I just wanted to bring out the song even more and have fun with it without replacing all the parts.
The first thing I did was to set up a kooky drum kit with three snare drums with cymbals and other weird stuff sitting on the top of the drum skin to give it a different sound.
I played a few takes and used my favourite bits and then went about trying to do a remix that was different but stayed true to the integrity of the song. The song kinda guided the whole mix really for me.
It was fun to do and always an honour to play around with Barneys magical creations.
Let’s take it back to July 2020, we’re deep in the lockdown, no gigs happening or on the horizon, my creative outlet is stifled, my weekly radio show is keeping me (and apparently others) sane, but I do have this urge to create, so I decided to turn my hand to music production, something completely foreign to me. My mate @kb808music said he’d lend his technical hand at his brand spanking studio and I could instruct him to craft a remix of Barney McAll’s wonderful version of Gary Bartz’s song “Precious Energy” we worked on it, bounced something out, and I summoned up the courage to send it to Barney. Barney’s initial response was “Why didn’t you just ask me for the stems? Then you can really stretch this out properly, here they are attached” I was pretty gobsmacked by his encouragement & generosity by giving me the parts to his precious baby! We went back in the studio and started again from scratch until I was happy with what we came up with. Once Barney approved of what I’d done, I decided to get it out into the world. The first person I sent it to was @gillespeterson and I was blown away that he played it in two consecutive radio shows, that absolutely floored me to be honest. A bit of radio play at home and around the world from other radio colleagues, the odd kind message from a friend, colleague or complete stranger and after a while the hype dies down and the remix lives in the online space. Fast forward to now and I’m thrilled Barney asked for the remix to be included on his remix album alongside many of my favourite producers including @sampology @stevespacek_ @toshiomatsuura @kztheboogieman & many more. It’s out again this Friday for another lease of life. Thanks again Barney and thanks to everyone who took the time to listen to the track 🙏
Music is deep man. Something happens when it’s working on me that can be hard not to perceive as religious or at the least spiritual. There can be a force that exists in between the sounds that bends the time they occupy and colours the world so vividly. This experience of the joy of music is so much more than the sum of the musicians, instruments, samples, frequencies, ratios, intentions, good and bad vibes etc. God is a tempting explanation.. and seemingly an excellent muse, but as far as I can tell, his flock seem to abuse kids and adults alike and incessantly pursue personal power and I don’t really fuck with that, so in the remix I obscured all of the directly religious language. Words have never come easily to me. They’re so binding, locking me into a perspective that I can’t even fully appreciate as I write them down. They’re also completely inadequate to explain even one little bit of the internal or external experience of reality if you ask me. Music comes a little bit closer sometimes, and when it does it so often comes from inspired, deviant, crazily brilliant people like yourself, Barney who speak about something more and give the rest of us little glimpses of what can be behind the curtain. Thanks for having me ❤️
Barney’s response to these re-workings:
“whatever glass darkly these producers are looking through, whatever curious cults they are in, these tracks are a dead giveaway. These artists have all created such distinct and imaginative tracks and I’m excited to present what is my first dance album”.
“It is a magnum opus that belongs alongside the kaleidoscopic 21st-century jazz-inspired sounds emerging from London, Chicago, and Los Angeles, though it towers above most of them.
‘Like a dream’: Barney McAll recruits Hiatus Kaiyote and it’s genius
-Sydney Morning Herald
Barney McAll Is at His World-Class Best on ‘Precious Energy’
“like drowning in honey…an incredible album”
“an apex of all-out funk, brought the house down”
“a brilliant album, beautiful work”
“Barney is one of my favorite pianists, that’s why he’s been in my band for the last 20 years”
– Gary Bartz
released January 20, 2023