We need to talk about edits.
Edits are one of those pleasant aspects of the electronic music package that add another element to its already diverse landscape. There is a fine line between edits and remixes, with the latter being a whole new take on a track, using stems from the original, while an edit is loosely a fresh edge added to the original spine.
With that being said, an edit is by no means a throwaway term that should be attached to a track that features the mildest of kicks accompanied by a high hat or two. There’s an art to sculpting an edit, just like there is an art to creating a varied track within the monotonous confines of electronic music.
Take the original track as a box and the label ‘edit’ as a pre-existing framework within that box. An edit has to complexly fill the framework, while also molding a brand new one.
There are plenty of examples of delectable edits from all realms of electronic music, each showcasing what can be done while operating within the grey area between an original and remix, there’s no denying that plenty of edits may not actually be doing a whole lot, but still adding an extra dimension that almost completes a track entirely in comparison to the original that may have been missing a thing or two.
Good edits, along with original productions, are a garnish to an already finished dish. Basing your career off of them is like eating TV dinners for the rest of your life.
Some of the best edits are ones you’ll only hear during an artist’s set as it’d be comical to release them as individual tracks, given their similarity to the original. Still, there have been plenty of edits that have taken people’s fancy and become somewhat more well known than the original, despite not claiming to be anything more than an edit.
While it’s fair to say there have been plenty of notable artists such as HNNY, Bicep and Mall Grab who have all had plenty of tracks that fall into the category of those that have released glorified edits with tracks like ‘Gotta let you go’, ‘2 B Real’ and ‘Most Pretty Girls Have Pretty Ugly Feet’ all being fractionally different from the originals, however each artist above has showcased their individuality and production quality via numerous memorable original productions that are so well known there’s no point in listing them.
That’s all well and good, but there are still those who have managed to carve out a name for themselves solely via tracks that’re essentially minuscule edits that are not really worth releasing and/or tracks that don’t necessarily claim to be originals, but that aren’t labelled edits, despite their similarity to the original.
That’s not to say that these tracks aren’t great to listen to, or indeed a great spot by the producer to realise that an edited version would go down really well with a modern listenership, it’s the fact that these producers are almost solely relying on cracking open classic tracks and not even crediting the original artist behind the backbone of the new era remake.
Gaining exposure by breathing new life into old tracks that have been left behind in the grand swing of things is all well and good at the start of any producers career, it’s a good way to showcase your knowledge of music in general and your knack for translating classics into a modern and electronic context. Some of the best have even done it throughout their careers. Edits are definitely one of the most appealing aspects of electronic music, but they’re also a cheerful mask to what’s a certainly a murky underlying problem.
Producers that lurk the depths of YouTube for old tracks across all genres that are totally out of the mainstream’s consciousness just to add a disco or techno flavour to them are stealing original content. Taking the guts of a track, spewing it into a preset techno or house makeup and packaging it with a brand new name and artwork is not only a stark disrespect to the original composer but also to the electronic community as a whole. Getting booked for and selling those releases is even worse.
Openly tipping your hat to the creator of the original and presenting the edit as your interpretation, is not only the correct procedure but also a noble way of reviving old sounds, not re-packaging them.
Photo credit: Maely Lim