D33J dropped Gravel last in late 2013, a record as somber and grey as its name suggests. If the original floated in a haunted and confined space, Gravel Remixed inhales oxygen from outside of the house, wrapped in the smoke and darkness of the club.
For his latest Anticon EP, the LA-based producer born Djavan Santos conscripted four of his favorite producers: Low Limit, The Cyclist, P. Morris, and Purple. Each contributes uniquely iridescent and propulsive twists.
“I wanted to go with friends of mine whose music I’ve respected and listened to for a while, so picking this crew of people came naturally,” D33J says. “If Gravel existed in a ghostly, soft, low key space, these remixes bring them out of their walls and open them up.”
“Faded Creek” originally felt like watching a creek dry up in timelapse; the remix from D33J’s Wedidit crewmate Purple turns it into a sinister river. A once weary jam gets industrial hollow drums and a torrid pulse.
The initial LED glow of “Slow” reflected the circumstances of its recording: with Santos living in a San Francisco “art-frat,” a constant party house that forced him to retreat into his room with the lights off in order to work in solitude. In Low Limit’s talons, it becomes a spedup minimal house thump, bolstered by soulful vocals and sly groove.
“If Gravel were the shy emotional loner, these remixes would be the more outgoing energetic brother,” D33J says. “The dark self-reflective emotions still shine through, but with a vessel to bring it to a club atmosphere.”
Not to be ignored are remixes from London’s Leaving Records artist The Cyclist or P. Morris. The former revolutionizes “Empty Sunset” from a faded and fucked up vision into ectoplasmic funk. While P. Morris morphs “Stills” into a twinkling slow-motion R&B swoon.
The remixes renovate on the foundation without demolishing what made the originals so singular. They are new stories infected by different specters, each with their own dance moves.
Gravel was made in 2 weeks in while I was living in a dark ass packed warehouse, so now as time passes,” Santos says. “It serves as a sort of time capsule to a specific to that time in life. This exists to soundtrack a new one.”