Re-rub, edit, bootleg, flip, rework, re-do, alt mix, revision, dub, rejig, reboot, remix – whatever. At the end of the day, what you listen to when you hear a remix is a re-imagining of an existing song. That's really all it is. How that remix takes shape, whether it almost follows the original beat-for-beat, or whether it utilises the vocals and changes everything else, or if it completely obliterates the original – it doesn't matter. It's still a remix.

It's a creative response to a created object, regarding that object. It's hearing a song and thinking, a Jersey Club beat would sound great here instead of that and oh I could just take that bit of the vocal and repeat it here – and yes, some synth would go great here. It's like cooking with different ingredients already prepared for you.

And now here are the best 10 remixes of 2014. This is wholly subjective. Why isn't Ryan Hemsworth in here? Omg what about Flume?! No Preditah? No John Talabot? ARE YOU NUTS I'VE NEVER EVEN HEARD OF THESE PEOPLE!!11 Just had to get that out my system. It was very difficult to come up with these 10 (ten). There were like a hundred on the shortlist I made. Eventually I had to come to one deciding factor, something a little less analytical than listening to every single one and making notes like some mad music professor. Instead I sat there and thought, What remixes stick in my mind? I looked over the shortlist and certain names, certain titles, gave me a jolt of happy remembrance.

So here we are – an untainted list (in no particular order) of the best remixes of 2014, with no agenda except trying not to have too much of the same thing, oh and my feelings, which means there's some personal bias at work, but I hope you can forgive me having a heart and a mind.


Tokyolite - 'Coba' (Hiroto Kudo Remix)

I discovered Tokyolite after they emailed me their mini-album Hello. Real cool funky pop trio from Bogor, Indonesia (that's about 60km south of Jakarta), inspired by Motown grooves and modern pop hooks. Hiroto Kudo, producer from Sendai, Japan and affiliate of Japanese netlabel Tanukineiri along with Tokyolite, remixed the latter's track 'Coba' to dream-laden perfection. The vocals are drawn out, layered with alternate reality pitch-shifted versions, mechanical glitter synth providing a golden backdrop, underpinned by slow, hip-hop-flavoured beats, cute hi-hats rattling all the way, complete with deep canyons of sub-bass. It crosses borders with its mellow strings and destructive white noise distortion, just as it links two countries; however small the impact, it's beautiful and wildly catchy. It's stayed in my head all year.



Nas vs. Fugees - 'Surviving The Times' (Boehm Remix)

This is unique in this little list in that it's both a mash-up of two different songs and a remix. It's also quite a latecomer in the proceedings but that's that. Taking the highly singable hook from 'Fu-Gee-La' by The Fugees for use as a refrain, Romanian producer Boehm intersperses the first verse from Nas's 'Surviving The Times'. Both samples sit right at home in their new decidedly tropical surroundings, Donkey Kong marimbas tumble beside rapid-fire synth melodies that summon beachside fun, the easy funk of palm-muted guitars reverbing into a passionfruit sunset, skiffling percussion keeping time, bluesy harmonicas, the curving swish of bending guitar string shining out occasionally from the triumphal slo-house sound of this luscious remix.



alt-J - 'Left Hand Free' (Lido Remix)

Top marks for originality here. Taking the usually inventive alt-J's purposely cliched, Atlantic Records-appeasing 'Left Hand Free', Norwegian producer Lido gives it a new lease of life; yes, that's a cliched expression itself – life imitates art. Anyway, the remix (Track of the Day a while back) is a soundtrack for a cosmic Western landscape – dusty desert acoustic guitars stand side-by-side with piercing stabs of synth, ballistic weapon percussion exploding all the way ticking and ticking with urgency. It's the kind of alternate reality bizarro-world soundtrack that'd be perfect for something akin to William Burroughs' part-sci-fi, part-western, part-totally-odd The Place of Dead Roads. It's bustling and busy and evocative and genreless and, not least, impeccably well-produced.



Meishi Smile - 'Honey' (Yoshino Yoshikawa Remix)

Self-described as "The Ultrapop Producer from Tokyo, Japan," Yoshino Yoshikawa really doesn't disappoint. With this track it feels as though I have come full circle; Meishi Smile, the Californian producer and boss of international label Zoom Lens, released his harshly euphoric album Lust at the start of this year. It was winter. It was cold and the stark sounds of Meishi's brand of pop really emblazoned itself on me with all the freshness of a just-opened flower. Now it's winter again. Yoshino Yoshikawa's remix of 'Honey' stands out with its cheerful outlook, its natural buoyancy, taking the lovelorn android dance of the original and exchanging artificial beats for real drum sounds, complete with virtuosic fills and resplendent open hi-hats. Combine this with a jaunty bubbling bassline and frenetic flourishes of funky guitar chords, as well as a mist of synth ambience and driving distorted synth melodies later on, and here you have a remix that you'll be happy to remember.



Tove Lo - 'Habits (Stay High)' (Hippie Sabotage Remix)

The rise to fame of Stockholm singer-songwriter Tove Lo could arguably be credited to this awesome remix. Created by Californian duo Hippie Sabotage, there's some real magic at work here. The original 'Habits (Stay High)' is from Tove Lo's debut album Queen of the Clouds, a quite good electro-pop song, turning it into a different beast entirely. The sense of knowing melancholy in the track is unbelievable, achieved with pitch-shifted vocals that now seem to lament even more with their repetitions, each phrase a gorgeously sad hook from the original, veiled with the now bulging, cosmic synth and booming, methodical beat: the steady spiral staircase into the recesses of loss and longing that hide away in all our minds. Not only is this one of my favourite remixes of this year, it's one of my favourite tracks of this year. True say.



Ulzzang Pistol - 'PASTEL 女の子' (et aliae Remix)

It seems all desire for self-obliteration into a delicate fuzz of confused molecules whirls around the core of this pensive track. The gravelly tremolo chords, the stardust sparkles of melody, the heavy rasp of the beat, all of it adds up to a sonic illustration of lonely introspection. The talent is not only in the noises themselves but also in the spot-on compartments of the song, the dynamics of its instrumental comings and goings. Recent Cascine signing et aliae remixed Filipino producer Ulzzang Pistol's 'PASTEL 女の子' (the Japanese means "girl"), released on otaku-friendly Magic Yume Records. Musically, it's almost exactly the same as the original, a kind of rainy night Shibuya-kei sound (part of internet radio station Data Fruits' compilation earlier this year), yet spiritually it is wholly different, entirely et aliae.



Beni - 'Protect' (FVLCRVM Remix)

Totally funked up footwork version of Australian DJ and producer Beni's track 'Protect', which features the vocal and lyric-writing talent of London duo Antony & Cleopatra. It's by FVLCRVM, a producer based in Bratislava, Slovakia, and a big fan of footwork himself – who can't admire the beauty of how 160bpm can be interpreted, with scenes spanning across the globe from Japan to Norway? Anyway, his remix (another earlier Track of the Day) is much richer than the original, a layering of lounge chords with synth power, the insanely catchy vocals pulled up an extra aching octave, jostled by the hyperactive kicks and virtuoso slap bass, panning from left to right towards the end for an intense experience. It oozes surplus energy and production talent, there's an ear at work here that knows what's what.



Eggroll - 'No Satisfaction' (Valiant Vermin Remix)

What can I say? I just love this remix. It's fun, it utilises a very catchy sample, the new melodies are ear-meltingly lovely, the piano is satisfyingly robust. It's a remix by 17-year-old Filipina producer Valiant Vermin aka Bettina Campomanes – she's classically trained in guitar and coincidentally she is a member of Ulzzang Pistol-founded Philippines collective, YoungLiquidGang. But right now you might more be interested in asking, Who the hell is Eggroll? This is an obscure duo from the late 1980s–90s who made funky pop and R&B, 'No Satisfaction' being one of their catchier singles (here's them performing it on New York Public Access TV in 1987). Valiant Vermin does a number on this one, injecting it with jazzy piano fills and a freewheeling, feel-good house vibe – how smooth are those little synth melodies? "Wonderfully smooth" is the correct answer. I will take nothing less.



Spazzkid - 'Truly' feat. Sarah Bonito (Go Yama Remix)

I got my first real introduction to Boston-based producer Go Yama thanks to his Darker Than Wax-released EP, Glimpses From The Spirit Plane: A Tribute To Hayao Miyazaki – a self-explanatory title. This was a wonderful sojourn into Go Yama's beautiful world, a balance of hard beats and melodic atmospherics. He recently inducted LA-via-Philippines producer Spazzkid's track 'Truly', featuring Sarah from Kero Kero Bonito, into his magical world on Promise Remixes Pt. 1 (with Pt. 2 surely on the way soon). This remix is awash with fragmented percussion and cutesy synth, all slotting together with tight rhythmic patterns, reflecting the original quirkiness from Sarah's rap, evoking the same innocent loveliness exuded by Spazzid's vocals. The main crux of this remix, for me, is the surprise attack of virtuoso jazz guitar from the hands of Go Yama himself, bringing a true touch of personality to the track, a gorgeous phrase of perfectly toned guitar noodling.



Craig David - 'Fill Me In' (Good Dish Remix)

This one goes to show that good subject matter counts just as much as what you do with that subject matter, how you treat it. Taking Craig David's hugely popular and highly influential 2000 hit 'Fill Me In', a producer going under the excellent name Good Dish gives it a dynamic and hyperactive reworking. Part of a group of highly talented young Norwegian musicmakers, and in particular part of Trondheim-based producer/DJ collective Rytmeklubben ("Rhythm club" in English), he dices up Craig David's original vocals, sautés them with synth spice in jolting, unpredictable rhythms, tenderises your brain with booming beats and grated snare drums, serves it up with a combination garnish of garage and footwork. It's a good dish from Good Dish, basically.


But enough about us. What do you think? Please talk to us on Facebook and Twitter.