I’m going to operate under the premise that you’re aware of Anoraak already. Perhaps if you’re coming to this blog from Shuffler.fm or Hypem maybe you aren’t, but our regular readers should be. Rewind the clock back to 2007. We were diving head first into the world of electronic music, loving everything that we were finding, but always wishing that more people took a melodic approach to the songwriting, like Daft Punk’s more tender moments on Discovery. The summer of 2008 arrived and with it so did Anoraak and the rest of the Valerie crew. With one song Anoraak delivered my favorite song of 2008 and altered my entire belief of the potential for melodically driven dance music. That song was ‘Nightdrive With You’.

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Anoraak – Nightdrive With You

And you say…

I won’t rehash the song too much, except to say that even after hundreds of listens, the song still tugs on my heartstrings in a way few in my life has. Perhaps its the whispered, intimate vocals, or perhaps its the progressive, emotive bassline that really drives the song. Either way, the song holds up as well as any, and it still feels so fresh in my speakers.

The main reason I wanted to write about Anoraak is to highlight his current streak of remixes though. While his album is quite good (it was one of my favorites from last year), I don’t think it lived up to the public’s giant expectations that ‘Nightdrive With You’ left in its wake. I guess they were probably impossibly high. Its my belief that since Anoraak strayed a bit from some of the aesthetic principles of his early work, it alienated the public a bit and left his album to climb out of an impossibly deep hole of expectations. What I’m hearing in this newer batch of remixes though, is an Anoraak seemingly free of the shackles of expectations. The productions are grown up, complicated and interesting, and yet emotionally they seem to be harkening back towards the places that Nightdrive With You came from.

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Neon Indian – Psychic Chasms (Anoraak Remix)

A touch older, but a great example of Anoraak’s ability to draw emotion out of pretty much anything. The heartbeat bassline pounding through the layers of delayed synths works perfectly with Palomo’s (Neon Indian) filtered and tweaked vocals. Really just a pretty piece of music.

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Jupiter – Sake (Anoraak Remix)

Venturing into more of a dance oriented area, his recent remix for Jupiter bounces around with the kind of energy that early Valerie productions were known for. His productions are becoming much more organic though, especially in the drums, which I think is a great sign for future Anoraak originals. I love how Jupiter’s playful vocals play over the somewhat dark bassline that pulses underneath. Its like finding the girl with the kind of smile that you just know is trouble.

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Pacific! – Unspoken (Anoraak Remix)

Finally, Anoraak’s newest remix, for Pacific!, is the one that really brought me back in. Much like his originals where he lets his voice settle into that middleground between singing out and speaking, he works best with breathy vocals like these. To me this remix represents the perfect growth and balance between early “Nightdrive With You” Anoraak and the Anoraak from his full-length album. This remix is already one of my favorites of the year. I fall in love every time I hear it.

I have never seen you before

In the end, I’m excited for whatever Anoraak is planning with his music. I suppose its both a blessing and curse that he hit such a home run with his first swing. ‘Nightdrive With You’ is a song that launched a thousand followers (including the Bag Raiders actually, who’s Shooting Stars never gets written without Nightdrive). For better or worse, that song created unreasonably high expectations for his debut, which I think has turned out to be underrated by the public. What we’re seeing now seems to be an Anoraak comfortable in his own skin, crafting songs with the same kind of emotional naivete that made ‘Nightdrive With You’ possible, and yet with the newfound production skill that resulted from crafting his album.

Head to his facebook page and show him some love!

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Written by Josh (Binary). Follow him on Twitter.