Various Artists: Disney Dconstructed

various-artists-disney-dconstructed
Disney has produced some of the most memorable musical scores of anyone’s childhood. Many of the Disney classic’s will bring you back to a time when you were young, gleefully watching heartfelt stories as the musical numbers carried you off into a world of awe and wonder. Well, only a minuscule fraction of those tracks actually made it to what could have been a commercial success, Disney Dconstructed.

With big name producers like Avicii, Mat Zo, and Kaskade remixing audio samples from Disney “classics”, you would imagine that the quality of each track would be upheld to Walt Disney Records’ standards. Unfortunately something went wrong along the way and no one did anything to correct it.

The album gets off on the right foot, “The Circle of Life” is a universally known and beloved song, a fantastic way to start a Disney album. In principle, leaving Mat Zo to transform this song into a track that will hit refresh on your nostalgia button sounds like perfect idea. But what you will find on the album instead is a strange far cry from a good execution. It sounds like Mat Zo was thinking lions when he introduced a deep growling LFO, but it’s hard to follow where he decides to take things after the first drop. The amazing sweeping bass sounds don’t seem to follow the underlying track at all and it just feels like you’re listening to two separate audio tracks that were never meant to be played together in the first place.

Next on the chopping block is Avicii’s take on “Derezzed”, a remix that has existed for over a year now. The original track, in and of itself, is a great electronic hit, and shows that Disney can work with world renowned electronic artist and produce top notch work. If you are unfamiliar with the remix, you would think that Avicii could have brought something fresh to the table, but instead only use a small amount of the original track as an intro, outro, and underlying melody. On top of that source material is his “So Amazing Mix” which isn’t so amazing, more bland rather in comparison to the original “Derezzed” track.

Now the first track that won’t offend your childhood, “Let It Go”, from the recent Disney animated movie Frozen, is remixed by Armin Van Buuren, and actually sounds like a great EDM track that you could find yourself dancing to. The track only uses vocal samples from the original score, but it makes good use of it, capitalizing on the well known “Let it go/ Let it go” chorus. Armin Van Buuren did well to play it safe with a very popular Disney score.

The tracks that follow are more obscure Pixar related ones, “Roar” being from Monsters University and “Partysaurus Overflow” comes from the Toy Story Toons short Partysaurus Rex where Rex essentially throws a rave party in a bathtub that eventually overflows with water. The latter of the tracks is not a remix and is just the full version of the track used in the short. The track was composed by Brian Transeau and Au5, and is entertaining to listen too with the Pixar short in mind.

A couple of tracks are inspired tracks like “U N K L E Reconstruction” which was inspired by a musical score from The Incredibles, allegedly. The other inspired track is more clear about it’s source material; titled “Hey Pluto!” it’s safe to assume it used audio samples from older Mickey Mouse cartoons featuring Mickey’s pet Pluto. This track is notably the most creative with the source material and most entertaining to listen to. StoneBridge utilizes Paul Smith’s musical scores for early Disney cartoons (the specific ones I can’t say for sure) and layers over bass riffs that follow along with the original melody that is used, and of course samples Mickey Mouse saying “Hey Pluto!” as well as Pluto’s bark.

Unfortunately the rest of the tracks sound like they were forced to be, sampling their source material just so they can qualify as a remix. “Once Upon a Dream” suffered this fate in spades. The Trion Remix doesn’t resemble the original in anyway and only after a minute of generic EDM melodies do you actually hear a sample of the song it is supposed to be remixing. “The Muppet Show Theme” quite possibly will give your children nightmares with the way the vocals are sampled in a hollow nearly demonic sounding way. Anyone who remembers the Muppets fondly or has seen the recent films could have only wished that the remix track would actually sound something like the catchy Muppets Show theme.

Probably the most alienating track of all however would have to be “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” remix by Alfred Montejano. The track starts off unchanged for the intro melody, if only to remind you of how precious that song is to you before it gets tortured into a cringe worthy soup of odd noises and vocal effects. If anything captures just how off base this album is in one track, it certainly is this one.

There is one track, however, that took the original source material that is near and dear to the hearts of our childhood selves, and managed to remix it in just the right way as to hit us with nostalgia but also appeal to that same, now mature, audience. That track is Shinichi Osawa’s extend mix of “Main Street Electrical Parade”. This track is actually quite old but listening to it now, it feels contemporary with its choppy sampling, pitch bending, and break beats. The track starts off smooth and slow, but jumps in progression and picks up a more EDM style as it goes. The track teases the famous Main Street Electrical Parade riff that plays after the narrated exposition, and only after playing with several melodies do you actually get hit with riff that will remind you what childhood magic feels like.

StoneBridge and Shinichi Osawa ought to deserve a medal for producing the only salvageable goods, to be found in what is, and I am very burdened to say, an album that alienated so many of us already. Both our childhood and for some our respect for our favorite artists. If the criticism sounds harsh, the album is streamable at Amazon, and a sampler video is available on Youtube, but as the saying goes, some doors are best left unopened.

Rating: 4.7/10
MP3: Randy Newman “You’ve Got a Friend in Me (Alfred Montejano remix)”
Buy: iTunes