Here is the second remix I entered into this year's Ayumi Hamasaki remix contest. It's an indie rock version of 'Hana', which I did mostly as an afterthought, figuring that my somewhat more glossy and twee remix of 'Seasons' would be the popular one, and that Ayumi fans would wince at Hana's wall of fuzzy guitar noise. But it seems that Ayumi fans have more diverse tastes than I credited them with, since in fact this one turned out to be the more popular of the two.

The original version is a kind of high-energy synth pop effort which, to be fair, is perhaps showing its age a little, since it's from Ayumi's debut album from 1999, A Song for XX. I guess with all the synths exchanged for guitars, my remix sounds a bit more like a Puffy Amiyumi track, perhaps. Check it out below - thanks for listening!

Ayumi Hamasaki - Hana (James Merrifield remix)
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A Russian DJ site offered this vocal when they ran a remix contest a few years back. I downloaded the file, but never got around to actually making a remix until now. Unfortunately it seems that the artist, Marina Minaeva (or Марина Минаева - how awesome is the Russian alphabet!), no longer has an active website. I hope she hasn't given up music, since she has an attractive voice, I think. In fact I have a few other of her vocal tracks I downloaded at the same time, so I may well remix those one day too.

The absence of her website, coupled with my non-existent grasp of the Russian language, made finding more information about this track difficult. In truth, I'm not even one hundred per cent sure that is Marina in the photo, but I'm assuming she would be the one on the right. As for the lyrics, let's pretend that they are about Mikhail Bulgakov novels or the harsh beauty of the steppes or something - though the song's title, Весна, apparently means 'Spring', so that might be unlikely.

Anyway, the remix is below. Enjoy!

Marina Minaeva - Spring (James Merrifield remix)
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Apologies for the lack of new remixes on this site recently. A large part of this is sadly due to the paucity of good quality remix opportunities nowadays. Fortunately the trusty annual Ayumi Hamasaki remix contest came around again this month, so I got to remix this sweet Japanese pop ballad for you. Once again my tremolo guitar and glockenspiel combination got an airing, along with a bit of Mellotron organ, and my newest purchase, a VST version of the Crumar Performer synth (which is great because now I can pretend to be Nick Rhodes).

Click below to listen to the remix. Regular visitors will know that normally at this point I like to give you a link to buy the original version as well, but Ayumi Hamasaki's albums seem to be quite hard to get hold of over here. However, 'Seasons' can be found on her compilation CD Best (the cover depicts Ayumi shedding a tear, perhaps after seeing the album's current £32 price tag on Amazon UK).

Ayumi Hamasaki - Seasons (James Merrifield remix)
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This is my fourth and final remix from Lights' Siberia album, and I think it's possibly the best of the lot. The electronic dubstep-ish stuff in the verses have been replaced by a solid rock riff, and then the choruses melt into a light and creamy guitar-based variation of the melody from the original. Then the heavy guitars come back and battle it out with the rapper dude in the middle eight. So, a bit of a mixture of styles overall, but I think it works. Listen for yourself below.

Oh, and if after three of these spiels encouraging you to buy Lights' excellent Siberia album you still haven't done so, here is my final exhortation: go get it now!

Thanks for listening.

Lights - Everybody Breaks a Glass (James Merrifield remix)
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Here's a song about children getting lost in the woods and possibly eaten by witches. Today also happens to be Friday the 13th. Coincidence? That's just what Satan wants you to think!

So, yes. Demonic influences aside, I recorded this version of Foe's 'The Black Lodge' for a cover song contest held by the artist. Foe's debut album, Bad Dream Hotline, came out earlier this year - and it's really good. 'The Black Lodge' is also my favourite track, so the contest was a good excuse to release my inner goth upon it. Tragically my voice resisted all attempts at a non-hilarious Andrew Eldritch impersonation, so I basically scrapped that idea and just did my regular indie rock thing instead. Check out the results below.

Foe's original version of 'The Black Lodge' is track seven on Bad Dream Hotline, which you can preview and purchase here. Foe also has vinyl and other stuff available from her own site.

Incidentally, the cover song contest runs until the end of July, so if you fancy having a go yourself, you can submit your own version here.

James Merrifield - The Black Lodge (Foe cover)
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Off the top of my head I can't think of too many people called Nesta. There's Nestor, the wise old guy in the Iliad, of course, and Alessandro Nesta, the legendary Italian centre back; but as a girl's forename, it's pretty unusual, I would think. Still, if my surname was Birds, or Wasps, or Squirrels, and I had a daughter, I'd certainly consider calling her Nesta.

Anyway, what we have here is a remix of a song by Nesta Rae called 'Stay'. The original version is a lightweight pop effort with acoustic guitars and a spritely, summery feel. Mine is perhaps a touch darker and denser, with tremolo and slide guitars filling out the mid-range. I changed most of the chords, and reshaped the chorus as well to give it a different kind of hook - so, despite the fact that both versions are relatively traditional guitar-based pop mixes, they actually sound quite dissimilar.

Check out my remix using the download or streaming links below. To compare it Nesta Rae's original version, you can purchase her debut album, Fly Free, direct from her website >here<. Thanks for listening.

Nesta Rae - Stay (James Merrifield remix)
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Toes (Lights) remix 29th Mar 2012
Toes (Lights) remix

Have you ever suffered a severe case of lyric blindness? I must have heard the vocal to this song a hundred times in the course of remixing it, and despite the fact that it was clear as day in front of me, I could never work out what that third line said. 'Like you make pie in a ring'? What? Surely you make pie in a dish, not a ring. I had to look it up. 'Like a magpie and a ring'. D'oh! And that's a really lovely line, too. I feel such an idiot.

Anyway, back to the remix. My version doesn't stray very far from the original in terms of structure and melody. I did my usual thing with the guitars, drums, and bass, so the result is not that dissimilar from my previous remixes of 'Come Back Clean' or 'Paparazzi'. But there are some cool swirly effects going on in the background that you might like, and I think on the whole it sits nicely alongside my two existing Lights remixes. Speaking of which, I'm not quite yet done with remixing Lights. I have just one more song from Siberia to offer you, which I'll upload in a few weeks. It's a little different for me, and perhaps even the best of the lot...

In the meantime, thank you for listening, and if you haven't yet purchased Lights' excellent Siberia album, you can rectify that grievous error >here<.

Lights - Toes (James Merrifield remix)
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Banner (Lights) remix 23rd Jan 2012
Banner (Lights) remix

Here is the second of my Lights remixes. To be fair, 'Banner' is probably one of the weaker tracks on the excellent Siberia album. The original production tries to push the song in a contemporary electronic direction, with some dubstep-ish elements thrown in, but it's easy to hear that underneath all this it just wants to be a big ol' pop ballad. So that's exactly what you get with my remix. I was careful to restrain my inner Peter Cetera (legend though he is) so as to prevent the song becoming a parody of itself, hence the remix is lacking the wailing guitars or big piano chords you might be expecting when the chorus hits. Instead, I filled the space with tremolo guitars, a hammond organ, and some nice swirling effects courtesy of the excellent free ValhallaFreqEcho VST. Hope you like the result, and thanks for listening.

Lights - Banner (James Merrifield remix)
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With rampant piracy and falling record sales, today's musicians are often encouraged to seek income from advertising and sponsorship deals. Therefore, I'm pitching this remix squarely at the Siberian Tourist Board. "Where the wind is cold and angry - Siberia!" Catchy, huh?

Brick Tamland may love lamp, but I love Lights. I generally try to find something nice to say about all the artists I remix, but Lights' Siberia is truly one of my favourite albums of the year. And if I may be allowed a little pride, some of my love for Lights' music extends to this remix, because I think it's one of my better efforts. It's kind of noisy and sparkly at the same time, and it moves at a reasonable pace, so you won't get bored.

You can download the MP3 below, or click here to compare with and purchase Lights' original version from her Siberia album.

Lights - Siberia (James Merrifield remix)
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I made this indie pop remix of Vivian Girls' 'Dance (If You Wanna)' for a Mercedes online advertising campaign, but they chose not to use it. I can't say I blame them - my remix is probably more Fiat 500 than Mercedes C-Class Coupé - but then, much as I like the ramshackle, carefree exuberance of the original song, I can't really imagine any possible interpretation of it truly embodying luxury or precision German engineering; it's just not that kind of song at heart. Still, both my remix and the original bounce along in a fun kind of way, so you might like to check them out.

'Dance (If You Wanna)' is taken from Vivian Girls' third album, Share The Joy, which you can preview and purchase here. Listen (if you wanna) to my remix by clicking on the link below.

Vivian Girls - Dance (If You Wanna) (James Merrifield remix)
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