Last Summer, Gotee Records began a unique new series of projects released exclusively online and at artists' shows under a new devision called AudioGoat. These records are a series of remix projects featuring songs pulled from various albums by a single artist and refaced and rearranged onto a new CD. The first release was Grits' The Art of Transformation with the follow-up being the newly released So In Hindsight The Professional Rapper Isn't There Yet for John Reuben.
So In Hindsight... is a mixed bag of audio treats. Three different producers take three different songs from each of Reuben's three studio releases and remix them in their own way for this album. The album's first problem is that John Reuben had nothing at all to do with these remixes, and it shows.
The remixes, for the most part, lose Reuben's vision for his songs. Most notably, is when the melancholy and serious "I Haven't Been Myself" is given electronic claps and a sped-up almost-dance rhythm. Those who know Reuben's original know that just doesn't work. So In Hindsight... gets off to a rough start with a cliche-ridden remix of "Do Not" and added vocals from the Liquid Beats producers. Elected Official gives "Divine Inspiration" a techno boost while DJ Form gives "Gather In" a basic mix, but manages to drop a subtle melody from "Pataskala" in for good measure.
While Reuben's original versions for "Breathe" and "Doin'" were carried along strongly by thick and prominent beats, the Liquid Beats remixes lose this in translation, but still manage to turn in decent renditions. DJ Form gives "Move" a sort of bland gangsta mix while Elected Official takes a similar approach with "Life Is Short," but with a slightly more successful result. The project's three "bonus tracks" that close out the record start off with a creative "Smoothed Out" version of the usually raucous "Do Not." And while it's clear the vocals aren't exactly as "smooth" as the piano-driven musical backdrop is, it's one of the biggest overhauls of any of the songs on the record and possibly the most unique. Following a monotonous second take on "Gather In," the project closes with a subtle remix of "Life Is Short."
The biggest problem inherent in So In Hindsight The Professional Rapper Isn't There Yet is the overly unimpressive new mixes of Reuben's originals. While remixes don't always have to be improvements upon their originals, it helps to have an end product that can stand alone or at least rival its original, and not one remix here does that. Most of the songs are steps down from Reuben's fun and unique songwriting and lose what makes the original versions so good. Perhaps if Gotee would have commissioned talents like MuteMath, DJ Maj, Dan Muckula, Savage, or any more seasoned veterans to offer their own takes, perhaps the results would have been much more favorable.
If you're a fan of Reuben's work and can't possibly wait any longer for his new record scheduled for release this Summer, you may find something to like on So In Hindsight.... But if you're not satisfied with unexceptional remixes of some of your favorite Reuben songs, then let this project pass you by.- Review date: 1/9/05, written by John DiBiase
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