Record Label: In-Beat-Ween Music
Alexander Lay-Far is something of a creative purist to core of his being and a rare find when you look at how he approaches the subject matter of music. In what seems to be a case of music chose him rather than the other way around and like a true artist life, circumstance and influence inspires him to create. Hailing from Moscow Lay-Far is inspired and infused by jazz, funk, fusion, boogie, Brazilian and Afro-beat – believe me it shows in his music. His ear for downright funkiness is offset with his multifariousness having worked with Yannah Valdevit, Peter Oakden, Sara Winton, Aroop Roy and Ashley Beedle. So Many Ways took several years to produce is like a bag musical ingenious all-sorts which, allowed him to express himself was released in late 2013 was met with excitement globally and set in motion two world tours for Lay-Far.
Fast forward to the So Man Ways Remixed album and Lay-Far’s journey has taken him far a field and many friends along the way some of whom imprint their richness on this desirable musical token. Carefully thumb-printed and not just another remix album there are some real exceptional tracks on here. Stand Up featuring Pete Simpson (Atjazz Remix) is a funky filtered broken beat reprise by ARCo’s head-honcho himself. Snappy hooks and synth strings compliment Simpson’s beautiful and effortlessly smooth vocals.
Ashley Beedle’s workout on Yes You Can, astrals into out of space with wah-wah pedals a go-go to an a cheeky four-four synonymous with Beedle’s knack for putting down a good dose of acid jazz ethic on this. If there was any track Karizma aka Kaytronik was going to remix it would have been this one. It’s suits his minimalist ideals when it comes to his production personality. So the Kaytronik Rub swirls around your speakers as reverse pianos samples re-trigger and bounce off the two-step hook whilst building up to a strings crescendo make for something totally infectious. The addictive piano workout at the bridge makes for one catchy remix. That’s what happens when his alter-ego is brought out to play.
When I’m Seeing You with Vicky Flint (Inkswel Remix) is stomping bass and percussion-heavy affair with electro-stabs and claps the reminiscent of early eighties of hip-hop and electronica. I have to say I prefer the original on this one but I understand the creative contrast. Funky drumming and smart sound collision is what you’ll hear on the Red Rack ‘Em Extended Remix. Again it takes me a while to warm to this one maybe because I like the original too much. Eventually I succumb to the clever re-triggering and over-sampled style and then in a complete curve-ball moment it drops halfway in and takes another direction. O.K. it got me there – nice bit of genius.
I happen to love the original of Let Me Fly Away featuring Dragon simply for the gorgeous intro and the exacting combination of psychedelic rhythm and technology woven with jazz inspiration. Could it get any better than this? I though, it sure as hell did on the Tommy Rawson Remix. Just oozing a plethora of deep and funky yet maintaining that beauty that never got lost in translation, that got to me in the best way one of my favourites again most definitely. Summer Vacation featuring Yannah Valdevit sees this get the Jonny Miller Remix treatment with some light and breezy Afro-beats on the edit. Miller makes the ease of transition uncomplicated despite it being so. His tracks are always danceable and this is the same as he matches Valdevit’s uber-soft feminine vocals perfectly.
A little of the cheekiness is retained on That Dream (Thatmanmonkz Gon’ Git You Sucka Remix) as it slips and slides through filtered effects. The D-Malice Afro Expression of A Little Faith with Peter Oakden is an ethereal adventure as classic Afro-beats production with a hint of broken metamorphs through an atmospheric wall of sound. A bit of a climber at the beginning it gets you moving this one. Phil Asher is on the extended remix this time and I was intrigued to find out how he would handle another one of my favourites from the original album Can’t Deny featuring Souled & Yannah Valdevit. I have to say I freakin’ love it! The beauty if the track is still present and the re-work is clever concoction of beat and bass funkily bouncing along the vocal layers – another bit of genius here.
The We Are The Drum (Peter Oakden & Craig Smith Remix) take the subject material down to subterranean depth with these two at the helm. Smith and Oakden don’t take their beats likely or melancholy. The beginning has the feels and has a similar drum loop to Michael Jackson’s Liberian Girl, not intentional but a real sense of euphoria to start before the spoken word takes over. Deepness waves of rhythm wades in over loops and creates a lost in the moment vibe.
Only Sarah Winton’s dulcet falsetto tones could be a match for remixing with Aroop Roy’s hands on the edit of So Many Years. Already have worked with her before track Lilly on his Nomadic Soul album in 2012, these two fit easily like a hand in glove. A gorgeous tack given the perfect amount of beats and influence of Roy. A Piece Of Devotion (Positive Flow Remix) is an intense leftfield mix slowed in motion and one for the chill out rooms. Well interpreted, take some of Lay-Far’s music influences Prodigy, Orbital, Jamiroquai, A Tribe Called Quest, Beastie Boys, put them in a mixer and you have the best of Lay-Far. Add some hot remixers and you have a rare entity all of its own that is in So Many Ways (Remixed) worth a purchase again.
Review by Sandra Swaybe-Barrett
On General Release 17July