The Weeping Souls (Alain Johannes Remix) – Jonny Polonsky (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Remixes of songs can fulfil a number of roles in music. To some artists they are just a way of getting more milage out of the current single, a collectible cop-out at best adding little to the musical landscape. To others they are means by which to explore the hidden depths of a song, to re-imagine it, send it into a parallel sonic dimension. Where your remix sits on that spectrum depends on two things. The strength of the song to begin with and the remixer’s ability to shine light into the dark corners, to get to the real essence of the song. Alain Johannes taking an alternative shot at Jonny Polonsky’s The Weeping Souls feels like a marriage made in heaven in this respect. Heaven or perhaps hell.

The original version of the song is already one clouded in heart-wrenching melancholy, but what Alain Johannes masterful remix has done is ramped up that feeling even further, pushing deeper into its darker, tear-stained depths. In exchange for some of the musical dynamic and weight of the original he has drilled down and found the essence of the song, its aching sonic (and of course weeping) soul, and amplified and intensified it even further.

But of course the real art is knowing when to stop and rather than push on into realms which might be considered the home of misery, it exposes the real longing in the lyrics, the haunted nature of the narrater but it also remains a thing of grace and beauty, full of elegant string washes and eloquent turns of phrase. It is laced with honesty and regret, it is romantic and it is real.

It is a skilled person who can take a song which already tugs at the heart strings and turn it into something which shatters the soul. Alain Johannes is just such a man.

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