This marks the 30 year anniversary of Matt Johnson's The The Soul Mining album, which happens to be my all time favourite album. In celebrating this amazing album, Matt Johnson pulled out all the stops, releasing a vinyl boxset of the album and 12" singles and b-sides that came out back in 1984 and this incredible 12" single remix of Giant.
Being a huge fan of The The, #recordstoreday 2014 was the best ever for me...and this record just blew me away. Hearing a fresh new vinyl remaster of the song Perfect, and then a brand spanking new remix with a completely new vocal performance from Matt Johnson gave me one hell of an adrenalin rush the first time I put it on the turntable.
For those who have not listened to The The's Soul Mining album, it is a concept album- which means all the songs on the record share a theme and tie into each other. Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon or The Wall are some of the most legendary concept albums of all time, but to me, Soul Mining beats them both. In the mid-80's the snyth pop New Wave movement was all over the radio, on the new MTV cable music channel and being played in the clubs. Matt Johnson took his original soundscapes developed in his debut album, Burning Blue Soul and kicked it into a dark, subliminal synth-pop experiment. Giant closes out the Soul Mining album with a 9 and a half minute exploration of the soul in plain english. "How Can Anyone Know Me When I Don't Even Know Myself" is chanted over and over and over until you realize that Matt Johnson is not just singing about himself, he is also singing about YOU.
The DJ FOOD remix of Giant to me crushed any expectations I may have originally had. How DARE you remix my beloved album was my first thought, and then it switched into...wait, Matt Johnson released this record so it has his goddamn stamp of approval on it, and since I am a devoted fan then I had better listen to what Matt tells me to do! From the opening organ riff, reconstructed drum beats and Matt's deep breathy voice "...I am a stranger to myself and nobody knows I'm here..." still swirls inside my head over and over. I absolutely give top kudos for the DJ Food remix tho, it takes front and center stage at how clean, fresh and true to the original - yet completely new sounding it comes off. Matt's new vocal for this remix is what still gets me... it almost feels like a live performance because I've listened to the original song a million times over, so the new vocal is just so refreshing to hear, it raised the hair on the back of my neck. -ChrisModem 5/5 stars