Joe Goddard’s (of Hot Chip fame) original “Gabriel” was the kind of indeterminate broken beat banger you might expect from someone who hails from an “indie dance” band: a little too careful, maybe a little too slow, but delicious all the same. Its hook comes from the vocal, thankfully forgoing the soul diva trope and choosing a tortured, genuinely impained squawk from Valentina instead. It’s the kind of thing destined for a bunch of great remixes, and “Gabriel” gets four rock-solid interpretations coming from four very different angles.
First up to bat is Seiji, whose illustrious broken beat history probably has the most in common with the original’s leisurely progression, but his lengthy remix piles on layers of synths that rub and grind against each other like brightly-colored plastic. New Juan Maclean project, Peach Melba, provides a stuttering house makeover, taking the heavy disco bounce of their debut single “Can’t Let Go” and loading it up with staccato mirror chords. The other two remixes are welcome curveballs: UK funky romantics Ossie turn “Gabriel” into the kind of jumpy funky jam not heard of since the heyday of Crazy Cousinz. But the winner is most certainly Compound One, a UK act known (or unknown, honestly) for orthodox dubstep of the wobbly kind, who turn in a garage anthem that feels more adventurous than any self-labelled “future garage” that I’ve heard. Compound One’s rework dices the vocal into a Todd Edwards-esque syllable scroll over a bounding chord progression that feels surprisingly gritty and distorted, Actress-style frequency politics. With three genre exercises and a work of genius to boot, “Gabriel” is an uncommonly strong remix EP, and you just can’t beat that vocal in the first place.