Sally Shapiro - He Keeps Me Alive

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  • There’s something fantastic about Sally Shapiro’s love-heart lullabies. There’s also a lot that’s phantasmic about her: no-one’s ever seen her (she won’t play live); it’s not her real name (she’s too shy and private); they’re not her songs (but rather the compositions of one Johan Agebjörn). But just one listen and all these concerns evaporate, and that’s because among the many people out there writing note-perfect simulacra of 80s disco and pop, none are as good as Shapiro: she’s more loveable than the too schooled for cool neo-Italo of Glass Candy, and she writes better songs than Tommy February. More than that, I’d even go so far as to say that Shapiro is better than the ‘real deal’ –a much better singer than Kylie Minogue, and one that doesn’t even have recourse to large props or silly hats, a la the Pet Shop Boys. More props to her, indeed….problem is, seems like she’s tough to remix well, if is EP is any evidence. What have we here? CFCF’s great remix effectively does unto the original as Metro Area did unto 80s disco – calming, cleaning, lifting and separating all the elements while placing the vocal in a larger room (with harder walls). Tensnake’s tactics, on the other hand, are to congolise and nocturnalise ‘I’ll be By Your Side’ for full discotheque compatibility. The breakdown is nice and makes the original sound much closer to Toto (or Nicholas Makelberge covering them, at least), but it’s also a lesson in the ‘necessary sacrifices’ of making functional music, and in this case it’s the best parts of the original’s melody and lyrics that gets flung out the warehouse window to make way for sweaty dancers. Juan MacLean’s re-rubbing of ‘I know You’re My Love’ takes his predilection for club-muscular versions of Yello/Devo and (sensibly) leaves the original’s melody right where it should be, front and centre in the mix. It’s essentially a peaktime amplification of the original, and it works. Lindstrom does what you’d expect him to, too, translating everything into his signature ‘epic and whooshy’ style. Everything in this version is slid through a thick, building field of gulps and loops, with Shapiro’s vocals getting cut, multiplied and woven over and over each other, until the inevitable whoosh/takeoff, which goes ‘up, up and away’ accompanied by a mobilised army of Lindstrom’s guitar strings. It’s the most creative of the mixes, but none of them have out-done their source material. Sally the simulacra overcomes her imitators, however creative they may be. As such, you might want to think about picking up this EP, but your first priority should be to get your hands on Shapiro’s Disco Romance album – it’s a classic.
  • Tracklist
      A He Keeps Me Alive (extended mix) A My Fantasy A Time To Let Go (CFCF remix) B I'll Be By Your Side (Tensnake remix) B I Know You're My Love (Juan MacLean remix) B Time To Let Go (Lindstrom remix)