- D.F.X.'s "Relax Your Body," originally released in 1989, is an oddity any way you look at it. A collaboration between Nigerian-Italian rapper Dr. Felix and Italian producer Claudio Donato, it has the spiritual vigour and straight-ahead throb of a classic Chicago house track. But the alarming synths, frantic piano and dark energy bring to mind Belgian new beat, or the beginnings of hardcore. The song's upbeat message—"peace, love, unity, understanding," various iterations of "relax your body," invocations of God and being one with the music—doesn't match its grave delivery or the monochrome instrumental. Now the track's been scooped up by the Autum label to launch a series of archival releases accompanied by remixes from contemporary trailblazers, beginning with Ricardo Villalobos.
A Villalobos remix is a head-turning feature for any record. At 19 minutes, Villalobos's version of "Relax Your Body" is one of his more indulgent remixes, stringing bits from the original over a squishy bed of electronics. His squiggles and bleeps are instantly satisfying, and even more galvanizing once the beat doubles up around five minutes in, but there are also sections that drag. Diehard Villalobos fans will probably love the remix for the same reason that fans of the original may hate it: it's strange, meandering and sounds nothing like its source material. But since D.F.X.'s track hasn't lost any power 27 years after its release, there's a little something for everyone on Autum's reissue, whether you're looking for a pristine copy of an old chestnut or a slice of Villalobos madness.
A D.F.X. - Relax Your Body
B D.F.X. - Relax Your Body (Ricardo Villalobos Remix)