When you feel threatened, what do you do? Do you “step up”? Do you protect what you have? Is what you have something to be protected? What does it really do for you? Does it help you? Does it provide shelter from them? Or does it shelter you from yourself? From something more? Inside you? Is what you have what they want you to have - a feeling of security, of comfort, of “identity”? How will you react?
You have rights. You’ve earned them. You stand up to exercise those rights to defend the life you’ve worked hard for because you’ve got a backbone. And you won’t back down. You expect that flavor of liberty. No, you demand it. The freedom to stand up for yourself and what you believe in. But protecting reality is nothing more than protecting the illusion when you cannot distinguish one from the other. Compliance can feel so liberating when you don’t recognize the real threat.
Moments in, memory of “Say My Name”’s sugary original fades as the remix finds its sweet spot by gently deconstructing the late-’90s pop-landmark, mellowing out its peaks and pitch-shifting its vocals in creating a bizarro counterbalance to the source material. Quickly becoming a favorite among Soundcloud crate-diggers, Cyril Hahn’s 2012 Destiny’s Child remix has captured millions of listens across the web since its release, with notable shout-outs from the likes of BBC Radio 1′s Annie Mac and Interview Magazine, who reflected on how it “distorts and reverbs mainstream R&B, blending it with ethereal synths and lax house beats to make something entirely new and undeniably sexy.” Stylistically echoing the track was his remix of Mariah Carey’s “Touch My Body” from the same period, repeating the pattern of rebuilding a beloved pop-single as a warped reflection of its original self. While both remixes were produced on a busted Windows XP computer, each provided a well-designed glimpse into the “eerily twisted melodies” that would come.
A Swiss native who jetted across the world to attend school at Vancouver’s University of British Columbia, Hahn was only a year removed from his initial foray into music before transitioning from bedroom producer into the realm of live performance. In the wake of additional press in 2013, "Say My Name” saw its physical release on The Love Below #1 12” before Hahn landed with Disclosure’s label, PMR. Well received mixes helped prompt festival circuit dates and eventually a full-blown tour with Ryan Hemsworth, while his remixing captured the attention of Sigur Rós and Caribou, who each commissioned Hahn for official projects. Caribou’s Dan Snaith called the latter a “beautiful ethereal slowed-down version [of his track ‘Second Chance’],” which made it to the expanded release of his 2015 album, Our Love.
Now having dropped a trio of EPs — 2013′s Perfect Form, 2014′s Voices, and 2015′s Begin — Hahn has moved into a style self-described as no longer being embedded in R&B, contrasting the feel of his early remixes and leaning toward a more synth-friendly brand of house. Thump characterized his most recent EP as “positively swelling with soulfulness,“ but Voices is where Hahn sounded most in his pocket, caught between a transition away from his early remixes (which sort of “sound like a fat girl trying to seduce [you]”) and his later dance-friendly beats.
The EP’s standout tracks are the Ryan Ashley collaboration, “Open,” and “Getting There,” which closes the project by layering ghostly vocals with echoed synth in creating a sound that summarizes Hahn’s entire body of work in a single track. It’s shadowy without being dark, while reflecting a pop sensibility that Hahn continues to embrace. The producer once joked with Attack Magazine, saying, “My friends always describe my music as sex music or make out music so I guess if you wanna get down to business my songs are just what you need.” Even if he’s tried to escape that critique, he finds himself sounding most comfortable within those parameters. This is especially true on “Getting There,” where the song builds over its five minute timespan, adding haunting, abstract vocals which bleed over a progressive dance buildup. While hardly “sex music,” it is incredibly sexy.
Published September 17, 2016