Artist: Jamie Stevens
Title: Keep Her Space
Label: Dieb Audio
By: Carleton Neil | 24 August 2008
  • A1: Original Mix
  • A2: Onionz Mix
  • B1: Smith & Selway Mayhem Mix

Jamie Stevens "Keep Her Space"

Out Now on Dieb Audio

Talk about a long time coming for Jamie Stevens. Since his first solo effort 'The Night Before' he's released an artist album as the founder of the trio Infusion, and under that moniker crafted a whole slew of remixes for everyone from Delerium to Adam Freeland. Add a healthy portfolio of solo remixing, and before you know it it's been four and a half years since his last single. Currently donning the tech hat compared to his more rock-laced work with the rest of Infusion or the progressive nature of his original work, Stevens' remixing style tends to avoid the depths of despair, opting instead for a cheeky or more positive vibe. This holds true for his latest effort, 'Keep Her Space', out now on Dieb Audio.

Jamie Steven's original mix is a constrained quasi-anthem, beginning minimally with merely a kick, a tight-lipped bassline, and warbling fills that squabble quietly. Sparse clattering and an occasional double clap puncture the backdrop as the bassline loosens up amid trumpeting fills that keep time. Only when the snare settles into place does the track move up a level, adding a layer of squabbling harmony that helps build anticipation. It becomes apparent once the track reaches its mid-point just how much energy it's holding back. The chord progressions begin to hit critical mass once the counterpoint of the hats finally arrive on the way to the climax. Squealing synths lengthen and stretch and the trumpeting fills bleep and blaze by, but suddenly the track drops out to mere claps and bassline, carried out the squabbling fills and a new layer of beeps primed for mixing into.

Onionz' re-rub, besides being noticeably more level-headed in terms of pacing is also my personal favorite from the single. This is house, dipping and twisting in glorious funk. Amid the tapping of thick hats and a gritty snare-clap buzzes a mosquito-like siren. A low sustained fill growls under the track until its picked up by the warbling fills from the original, dropping in the middle of your dancefloor. Synths like steel drums stab convulsively around the mix, stomping atop a filthy bassline as the track hits its groove. At this point Onionz switches focus to morphology, bending and editing synths to hiccup across the track. When the tack enters the breakdown, it leaves behind again only the warbling fills, which build in intensity underneath plinking synths and strings. As the track peaks, it's a refrain of the bassline with steel drums being rained upon by frenetic fills from above. The bassline and snare take the track to its end, at which point you can then catch your breath.

Smith & Selway's aptly titled 'Mayhem' mix rounds out the single. Their remix feels anthemic in nature as well, but isn't nearly as proficient in holding back its energy. From the intro of the bleating synths in the beginning to the cavernous knocking and blistering snare that rapps loudly on top, the mix bleeds into a blinding mass of white noise. One might think they've reached the track's peak but it's only a quarter way there. Building its way back up on a muffled synth and acid layer, it hooks onto a clap along the way and reintroduces the warbling synths from the original. Smith & Selway look to morphology as well, tweaking the main hook and bubbling up layers from underneath. Your speakers haven't exploded yet, but then the track hasn't finished either. Swirling again into a caustic maelstrom, the track peaks, riding a white wave of noise, snares and kicks. As it slowly, finally calms down, the track exits on the cavernous knocking and simple kicks.

There's no better way for Jamie Stevens to make his solo return than with a single that captures both his style and the sign of the times. Techy and fun, 'Keep Her Space' is already featured on such high-profile compilations as 'Renaissance: The Masters Series 10', 'Transitions Volume 4' and Anthony's Pappa's 'Moments Vol 1' One can only hope that it's not another four and a half years before his next single.

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