Label: Revision Records
Nicolas Laugier aka The Reflex is the man with production fingertips of gold, seriously I think he should have his ears insured. If you have been hibernating the past 3 years here’s a little memo to get you up to speed – keep up now. The revisionist extraordinaire takes classics such as Michael Jackson’s Rock With You (had major air play in 2014) or Earth Wind & Fire’s September and injects his succinct and brilliant arrangement into already considered
masterpieces. So genius is this dissecting of stems it has won him the admiration of Nile Rodgers, Gilles Peterson,
Jazzy Jeff – a hypothesis by Greg Wilson and a whole host of other fans. Known as Reflex Revisions, these edits are well-favoured on the disco circuit.
His latest album is the ultimate collection of the greatest hits of all time all given the that gold-standard treatment that leaves you thinking, damn I didn’t know you could do that. What an amazing intro to this newly updated album The Jackson’s ABC newly mastered and a new remix. Crisp compression meticulous arrangement and as precise as that is this is not easy to do. Less is more took a whole new meaning as baby MJ builds to the bridges and makes you wanna get up and shake it as the electric guitars build in rock-metal style. What a musical score done right, if you’re gonna take on a song like this – this is the way to do it.
The next revision treatment is Stevie Wonder with I Wish and again totally faultless. Echoes and the slightest touch of reverb fill the arrangement perfectly. Wonders’ voice is super-imposed, every note and chord is brought to life it’s like having the band in your own room. The vocal breakdown is totally another level on this extended version. Spinning Wheel by Blood, Sweat & Tears gets a tempo makeover and a deconstructed funk workout with more Apache-loop frenzy and a cool jazzy break down. Nice the stuff film scores from the 60’s are made of.
Now the next track, I can’t tell you how much as kid I absolutely hated this track. Even to this day when I hear it switch channels. For me even as kid I knew what I liked to hear (diva) and Kool & The Gang’s Jungle Boogie was not it, To me it was like they sold out and it was downhill from there… That is until The Reflex revisioned its ass. Damn! Again everything audially in your face and I cringe to say, like it. The Reflex I think I hate you for making me love this track.
My most favourite funk band on the planet Earth, Wind & Fire get the beautiful September under the revisionist microscope. Oh wow I’m lost for words. Earlier this year we lost their frontman, drummer and singer Maurice White and this sounds even more so gorgeous. Effortlessly done I think Mr White would have given a nod of appreciation. Stevie’s back again this time with Higher Ground – acoustics and that classic Wonder arrangement is just swirling around the room on my monitors. I have these albums, I dig them out and compare it really is so slight but so perfect; it’s more, how is that possible I say to myself?
I need to stop saying wow, but wow! Emotion takes over as I listen to Marvin Gaye & Tammie Terrell serenade Ain’t No Mountain. Delicate beauty is injected into an already perfect track in all the right places. Big sounding score, The Reflex you got to me. Funk gets fest-up on Fire (Got Me Burning) by Ohio Players is next with an extended remix and drum workout. Loving all things Wonder obviously is the broken-down and reassembled revision Sir Duke. Less vocal and more trumpets on this, nice and mellow feeling all over. An impressive intro gives way to Stevie’s vocal riffs on an acoustic reprise.
James Brown’s, I Feel Good is the next to get the golden touch. I love the original and it is hard to beat and this is not a bad version (if it ain’t broke why fix it). Down-tempo and rearranged I love the vocal skat at the bridge its genius. Real R’n’B gets an update as BB King’s, Thrill Is Gone is given earthy orchestral soundscapes with the blues still remain intact. Set apart from the original with a vocally stripped solo is the magnificently arranged What’s Going On by Marvin Gaye. Could anything sound more sublime, I don’t know. Full-on atmospherics via the orchestra amps the whole experience as this song just comes alive as it plays. Last on track is the full-bodied instrumental version of I Wish which delivers an extended play out to finish this well-accomplished collection.
This man does not get enough credit for what he does – the brilliance and the aptitude to create these tracks means you have to relinquish your ego as these are already big classics that need not be played with. It would be easy to completely remix them the way you want, but to take them and still keep the integrity of a masterpiece and then add to it? This is just platinum stuff, the feeling evoked listening to music my parents brought me up on brought me close tears in a way I never thought possible. The Reflex I Salute You Sir.
Review by Sandra Swaybe-Barrett
Music | The Reflex – Revision Collection