[Album Review] Blue Stahli – The Devil (Remixes)

If there ever was a more appropriate description for the music of Bret Autrey’s Blue Stahli, it would have to be the easiest: fun. In endlessly toying with genres and always offering something new and improved over the last, the music of Blue Stahli roots itself deeply in simply wanting to make you feel the groove and embrace the energy, and it’s not over “’til we say so.”

Opening Blue Stahli’s The Devil (Remixes) with Rabbit Junk’s reinvigorated remix of ‘Not Over ‘Til We Say So’, the track immediately takes advantage of isolating Emma Anzai’s haunting backing vocals and entering the ring with a far more ethereal tone. That is, until the track’s catchy thrash metal guitar riff weighs in on the action and immediately thrusts the first few minutes of The Devil (Remixes) into an infectious bobbing back and forth energy. Gydra’s re-engineered ‘Enemy’ continues this with barely a moment to breath: while generally staying true to the original track, it nevertheless allows room for the electronic rock backbone to instead be traded out for a more relentless drum and bass beat, and if the objective of The Devil (Remixes) wasn’t clear enough, it is now: we’re here to have fun.

While the remixes of Circle of Dust’s alt_Machines perhaps retained some of the more serious undertones of the original material, The Devil (Remixes) takes (as is fitting of the music of Blue Stahli) full advantage of simply being as chaotic as possible. An easy example of this would be ANX’s ‘Devil’ remix, opening with some Mick Gordon ‘BFG Division’-esque drop-tuned riffage before leaping forward into gnarly, abrasive instrumentation that completely uproots the original, and thus the track fully embraces its own chaos, save for some fantastically effective use of the mellow vocal delivery midway through the track (a moment that so jarringly contrasts the former pulsing electronics, yet fits the mood of the remix perfectly).

Speaking of jarring contrasts, Thomas Vent’s rock ‘n’ roll-infused incarnation of ‘Shoot Em Up’ is quite possibly one of the most bizarre remixes of any FiXT remix album, and alongside the fuzzy bass stabs that crop up throughout the track feels almost strangely entertaining considering just how much of a departure from the original it actually is. Elsewhere (on the subject of completely departing the original material), you need look little further than Wildpuppet’s chirpy remix of ‘Enemy’, the 8-bit infected ‘Ready Aim Fire’ Animatronic Chiptune cover, or Pythius’ truly aggressive dubstep reimagining of ‘The Fall’ (with a slight hint of 80s movie synthesizers thrown in for good measure).

Of course, while not necessarily a criticism, it’s worth noting that while most perhaps often find the tones of Blue Stahli to be far more grounded in the heavier electronic rock side of things, this certainly seems to have taken something of a backseat throughout The Devil (Remixes). While Entropy Zero’s ‘Armageddon’ or Rave the Reqviem’s ‘Down In Flames’ remixes both retain a heavier rock vibe while still adding their own flavors into the mix, much of The Devil (Remixes) leans far more towards the likes of Indo’s gritty, bass-heavy ‘Demon’, or the bouncy electronics of JaySounds ‘Rockstar’ remix.

Overall, Blue Stahli’s The Devil (Remixes) delivers another round of the FiXT remix album fun successfully enough to be well worth your time, albeit perhaps not 100% what fans were hoping for considering the palpable anticipation in the wake of Bret Autrey’s upcoming vocal album. Of course, this is actually a compliment by nature, and this being said, The Devil (Remixes) still embodies everything about Blue Stahli’s wonderfully chaotic repertoire, with much of the artist roster clearly having an absolute blast while working on the material and living up to the Blue Stahli ethos: “it’s not over ‘til we say so.”

Blue Stahli’s The Devil (Remixes) releases July 6th via FiXT:

About the author

M. Stoneman

"If you combine horror movies, rock music and Silent Hill, I'm the result: a British writer who will likely gush over guitar solos and ambient horror game soundtracks.”
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