Overall Grade: 4.5/5
Prime Cuts: In Jesus' Name, Impossible Things, Reckless Love
Remix albums are not just geared for churches who want to replicate a "Christianised" alternative to clubbing. Rather, when an artist remixes a song, it allows worship leaders to hear how songs can be re-imagined in ways that can be creative and innovative. This helps create alternative readings of the same worship song, bringing out a freshness into the worship experience. And these versions can also be positioned to be used in contexts such as youth outreaches and summer camps. For songs are not just meant to be xeroxed but they are there to be interpreted in ways that the leader can infused his or her own identity in them.
This is the purpose of Reyer's brand new collection "Worship The Remix Project, Vol. 2." Here this Dutch producer and songwriter has put his own creative spin on popular worship favorites from Darlene Zschech, Steffany Gretzinger, Cory Asbury, Elevation Worship, Chris Tomlin and others.
Reyer is a producer, songwriter and musician who has had worked with with worship conferences such as Opwekkingband, the EO Youth Day, Soul Survivor, New Wine and other festivals. "Worship The Remix Project, Vol. 2" is his fifth release following last year's "Hope in Me."
Often remix albums fall into the trapping of programming songs with a steely resolve making them sound like robotic expressions. This is not so in Reyer's hands. Instead of cluttering Hillsong Young and Free's "Wonder" with a scaffolding of synth riffs, the song actually is entered on worship leader's Eline Everdina's soaring vocals. Instead of obstructing her vocals, the bubbling percussion actually add color and dimensions to them Steffany Gretzinger's original take of "Pieces" was a tad too soporific and tedious. But when Reyer ups the tempo and adds a thumping electric drum line, the song livens up with a brand new lease of life.
Creativity takes the front seat in some of Reyer's touches. The reverb of the line "God is fighting for us" in Darlene Zschech's "In Jesus' Name" actually builds up a fortress of faith as we look to Jesus to redeem us. Chris Tomlin's "Impossible Things" gets a retro 80s Thompson Twins' New Wave that actually sounds really cool. Remix DJ gurus like Lukasz Gottwald and Aphex Twin should take a backseat to how Reyer transforms Cory Asbury's "Reckless Love" from a pensive ballad into a dance anthem without sacrificing the heartbeat of the song.
However, not everything works. By making the beats of Mosaic MSC's "Tremble" more elongated, the sound's ethereal feel (which is the song's biggest draw) gets compromised. While Reyer could have been more creative in giving Hillsong Worship's "What a Beautiful Name" a more radical makeover rathe than simply donning it with a few dance beat flashes. Nevertheless, despite these minor quibbles, Reyer has a creative soul often experimenting outside the box. This allows us, especially worship leaders, to grasp the different ways which we can present a song. In this regard, Reyer excels.