I was introduced to the whole concept of remixes via an album of just Depeche Mode – Behind The Wheel tracks. An outstanding memory from my life is of driving home with a friend from college, six hours from Pittsburgh to New Jersey, the two of us listening to one outstanding mix of Drive after another, the same song but a different experience with each, perfect for a very long , straight drive through the night.
We were sober and awake, focused on the single-minded task of getting home safe at 85 miles per hour and without speeding tickets. Drive, the music, became a recitation, repeated. A mystic will use repeated recitation of a religious text to achieve a transcendent state. To hear the voice of God. And so it was with the music on us. The beats felt like tires as they pushed off the road. Measures replaced miles. A rhythm set in. A trip once laborious became transcendent.
And then came that moment. One of the mixes included a piano riff that was at once both solid and over the top. It came from under an accompaniment, edged its way into the foreground, and found itself center stage.
Like an actor with her last chance of making it big, it quickly worked though its perfunctory skills. Practiced stepworks and trills were presented. And then presented again, only repeated to top the earlier round. Modulation to keep the audience’s full attention, and then once more and again, to the point where it was twirling around and over itself to the point of dizziness.
When it decided to end, the end was abrupt, to make you acutely aware of its absence. My friend and I took a shocked look toward each other and broke out laughing, an shared acknowledgement of the spontaneity, fun, and utter brilliance of it.
Things get lost and I lost the cassette. Over the years I’ve thought back to that ride, that Drive, that perfect moment.
Still looking for that mix, but I’m starting with this: