If it wasn’t for Tiesto randomly spinning some drum&bass on UMF mainstage or Four Tet going wild at every show, the festival season would have felt like a lazily scripted Netflix series so far. While we wait to sound out the tracklists of the two Coachella weekends, Bootleg Business is here to spice things up.
This month, my guest is a true bootleg master, someone who dares to lurk in the depths of the web, looking for forgotten gems and who is not afraid to drop an Ariana Grande and Aphex Twin mash-up in the middle of a set. I’m talking about Ramon Pang of course. I’m pretty sure he needs no introduction, but just in case, he’s a left-field dance producer based in LA, self-proclaimed “lover and documentarian of all things trap music and 90s intelligent dance music” and, I’d like to add, the most hardcore Four Tet fan you’ll ever meet. He co-heads Tabula Rasa Records, a record company and a community that you need to know if you’re into “braindance” or IDM if you want to call it (preorder their new compilation here). You can also catch him sharing tons of interesting stuff on his Twitter, pretty much any day of the week. I was definitely expecting a more obscure selection from Ramon but these dancefloor-oriented picks left me utterly satisfied. Fun fact: there was a one-in-a-million chance and it still happened, originally we both included Falldren’s bootleg in our selection.
Flosstradamus – Total Recall (Falldren Flipped)
The original is so nostalgic for me. I was in a Siscord voice chat with Falldren a year ago and offhandedly said that someone needs to flip ‘Total Recall’ into hardwave and it would be a mainstage hit. He whipped this up in 2-3 hours and published it without thinking too hard about it. But, six months later, I was there live when RL Grime dropped it at Porter Robinson’s Second Sky Fest and when Skeler dropped it as his LA debut at Brownies & Lemonade. That’s every bootlegger’s dream. It’s so deserved – it’s a tidal wave of a track.
SBU – Deep Love
To match the majestic vibes of ‘Total Recall’ I needed to bring up a banger of the same magnitude. Staying in wave territories, the choice was easy. Freshly released just a month ago, SBU’s brutal flip of Calvin Harris and Disciple’s ‘How Deep Is Your Love’ has caused quite a turmoil within the scene. In particular, I heard it literally destroyed Pantheon‘s dancefloor back in December. In case you’re a nerd like me, the pre-drop vocals are from a breakout monologue included in the movie ‘Closer’.
Skrillex, Fred again.. & Flowdan – Rumble (Kinoteki Footwork Jungle Edit)
The crew at Tabula Rasa Records are very good at blurring the line between cheekiness and sincerity. When the Rumble bootleg craze was going on, Kinoteki came out the gate with this beautiful Lone/Machinedrum-inspired melodic flip. I don’t know how serious they were when making this, but it doesn’t really matter – the way it rollercoasters is hypnotizing. I play it live a lot.
deadmau5 – strobe (dossyx edit w/ charlie)
Talking about bootleg crazes, Strobe is another masterpiece that received its massive dose of remixes, both official and unofficial. While I despise pretty much every version I run into so far, I have to say dossyx and Charlie have nailed the task. The mood couldn’t be more different than the original, but in the end the bouncy and crispy groove match very well the iconic melody. Kawaii bounce is probably the most fitting term to label this edit, will camoufly agree?
O’Flynn – Cardi Tool
I’ve loved O’Flynn’s blissful breaks and percussion-driven house on Ninja Tune before, and had no idea he had a Cardi B remix. Good internet friend from the Four Tet fan discord (I own the server, obviously) shared this one day and it was an instant save. In my sets, it’s such a cheat code: 1) super blendable 2) super effective in my deeper underground sets, and 3) a real driver in my more mainstream-leaning ones.
SoSick (KH version)
This one has been sitting on my PC for so long that I completely forgot how it got here. All I remember is that at a certain point (2018 or 2019 probably) Four Tet went wild on SoundCloud dropping a ton of unreleased material altogether. Why? I’ve no idea. I could do some research on my own, but since I have a living Four Tet-encyclopedia as the guest of this episode I thought it was more fun to ask him directly. Would you mind tweeting more info about this edit Ramon? Anyway, this is the perfect bootleg for those situations when the audience wants to sing along to some well know lyrics but you want to dance along to some classy groove.
Overmono – So U Kno (Villager Mix)
Villager turned Overmono’s biggest anthem into a bass-fueled monster. Like the ‘Cardi Tool’ one, it’s been effective in every set I’ve played it in. I think it really fits my modus operandi – I love tracks that take the best parts of traditional club-ready house/techno, then fuse it with energetic, traditional ‘EDM’ sounds in a restrained way. I think that translates into my music always.
Chris Lake & Green Velvet – Deceiver (Gaszia Edit)
It’s not that I DJ very often, but I swear that even I was getting tired of playing ‘Deceiver’. The original is a killer tune, nothing bad to say, but after rinsing it dozens of times I was desperately looking for an alternative version. I then turned to SoundCloud where I surprisingly found this edit by the one and only Gaszia. Way better than Chris Lake’s VIP.
TWRK – Living Room (Tielsie Remix)
Bit of a fringe pick here… this flip is almost 10 years old but it’s still one of my all-time favorites. On one hand, it sounds like a product of its time (2014), especially the clean 808 and the stereotypical trap/footwork drums. Listen to the original and then compare it to this flip’s take on its main melody… the way it’s chopped is so skillful and virtuosic.
Kanye West vs. Lucio Battisti – Love Lockdown (Nastro Rosa Edit)
This is one of my most secret guilty pleasures. I’m warning you, explaining it in words it won’t make any sense: it’s a mash-up between Kanye’s quintessential ‘Love Lockdown’ vocals and the instrumental of ‘Nastro Rosa’, a song by Lucio Battisti, one of the most beloved Italian singer-songwriter and composer of the 1970s. Genious idea, perfect realization, immaculate vibes.