Sir Ivan – Imagine: The Remixes
Ivan Wilzig is a rare breed of cat. It isn’t often anyone hears about a man walking away from a multi-million dollar career to pursue his dreams of making it in the music industry. Perhaps some might say he has luxuries not available to Joe Average, but that’s neither here nor there. The central fact is this: Ivan Wilzig, aka Sir Ivan, could have contented himself with working for his family’s banking concerns until the grave called for him. However, he chose another road. The bravery of embarking into a great unknown like the music industry, self financed or not, cannot be denied. Sir Ivan’s first commercial success came with his 2001 debut cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine”. The release came just one week before the World Trade Center towers fell as a result of the 9/11 attacks and the timing couldn’t have been better. Recent well publicized terrorist attacks and the 35th anniversary of Lennon’s death have spurred Ivan to look back on the legendary Beatles’ ideals and famous song in a series of remixes from the world’s foremost EDM producers and DJs.
The Dirty Pop remixes embody a well orchestrated balance of lightly applied electronica followed by dense blasts of synthesizer anchored by a classically relentless pulse. The radio edit here, as elsewhere, personifies a professionalism defining the entire release – these are producers who know how to produce for maximum effect while still highlighting the important themes Sir Ivan’s performance hopes to communicate. Israeli music producer and popular DJ Dor Dekel takes his turns with the song and it results in a dense, highly musical trio of tracks that never venture too far away from the core strengths of Ivan’s cover, but embellishes them instead with added sonic intensity. Marc Stout, another famous figure in the EDM community, brings a distinctive Windy City touch to his remixes. These are ultra urban, late night shots of adrenalin that reverberate in the sternum and push listeners to move.
An European flavor enters the mix with Project Bassline’s contributions. This London based unit has a sterling reputation only burnished by their work here. Naturally, the remixes focus a great deal on fattening the bottom end of these songs, but this isn’t the only trick they have. Project Bassline also have a command over sound allowing them to color these remixes in a variety of ways without ever losing sight of their mandate to entertain. European influences continue to emerge with Roger Shah’s trio of remixes. This German electronic music composer turns in a rather imaginative recasting of Ivan’s work that stamps it with his own personality.
It still seems vaguely improbably, fifteen years later, that someone saw the EDM possibilities inherent in Lennon’s earnest meditation on humanity’s utopian potential. Sir Ivan had that vision and the good timing to unveil it in the aftermath of a global tragedy. Unfortunately, whether it’s nearly half a century, thirty five, or fifteen years later, mankind still hasn’t heeded Lennon’s pleas and “Imagine” remains as relevant as ever. Thanks to artists like Sir Ivan and the producers involved in this project, Lennon’s message is continually refreshed for future generations to hear.
9 out of 10 stars.