Perfecting His Trade
Posted March 28, 2014
By MarcusHathcock_NRT, Staff Reviewer
In short time, David Thulin has gone from behind-the-scenes producer (and former Alaskan brush pilot) to go-to remix master in Christian music. After his experimental first album with Dream Records, Reconstruction, Thulin earned his stripes, opening him up to the larger Christian music world.
These days, he's producing a weekly Christian EDM radio show (for NRT Radio, full disclosure), starting an EDM wing of Dream Records and fielding an ever-growing number of requests from artists asking for remixes.
The result of this quick progression in his career is the first of two EPs from David Thulin due in 2014, titled Reconstruction 2.1. An intelligent fellow, it becomes clear upon listening to this EP that Thulin is always learning, always pressing forward, and thus, always perfecting his craft.
The first track on this EP is an original by Thulin, "Light In Me," featuring Nicole Croteau of Press Play. The dreamlike synths paint a sense of wonder as Croteau's powerhouse vocals declare heartfelt devotion to God: "Even if the moon won't shine / And even if the sun won't rise / Even if the lights go out / You're glowing within me / Even if the darkness comes / The heart of you will still shine on / When you call me, I will run / The world will see / Your light in me."
"Light In Me" is a bold presentation of Thulin's ability to not just "reconstruct" others' works, but to contribute originals of his own. (NOTE: He did give us original material with his first album, but this is the first with actual vocals and lyrics.)
A thumping beat and trance soundscapes color the remix of "Architecture," the current hit single by Thulin's brother, Jonathan--another Dream Records artist. The mark of a good remix exists when you don't compare the remix to its original, but rather you see them as two separate songs. This is the case with "Architecture," which was transformed from a dramatic ballad into a head-bobbing club-friendly hit. Word on the street is that Jonathan's next album will be more heavily electronic; did this "reconstruction" have a hand in that?
Another labelmate, Press Play, gets the remix treatment on Reconstruction 2.1, with a different look at "Love Audio." This is a power-packed, grinding retelling of this song from #LITO, and honestly, it's better than the original. It hits hard, deploys some pretty strong bass, beats and dubstep gymnastics.
I love what Thulin does with people's voices. He chops them up and turns everybody into a robot. He does this throughout Reconstruction 2.1, but particularly excels at this with his treatment of "Beautiful Love" by Shine Bright Baby. While the base song itself is probably the least dance club-friendly of the bunch, Thulin does a masterful job of painting it with trance strokes and embellishing it with those android-like vocal cuts. I think there might've been better songs to have remixed from the band's BEC Recordings debut, Dreamers--actually, the title track might've been awesome!--one can understand the choice of the band's first radio single.
Rapture Ruckus' lead single from Invader Vol. I, "In Crowd," already was an electronic-heavy song, and yet Thulin finds a way to differentiate it from the original. He changes up the beat to give it a more linear feel, and deploys gritty synths that turn an 80s-sounding pop song into an edgy, aggressive dance track.
Perhaps the biggest artist on Reconstruction 2.1 is featured on the final track of the EP, as Thulin remixes Natalie Grant's "This is Love." This is perhaps the strongest track of a very strong set of remixes, likely because Natalie Grant's aggressive, soaring vocals provide a powerful counter to Thulin's high octane instrumentation. Thulin knows how to strip it down to strings and piano, too, letting Grant's vocals shine to close out the EP.
David Thulin is only getting started. He's perfecting his craft at a breakneck pace, and the way he does it is important: He finds the best from the original tracks, and creates instrumentation that allows the "bones" of the song to shine.
It makes a ton of sense for Thulin to start making EPs rather than full-length albums. In the fast-paced, fickle world of music, tastes change, and so do hit songs, so Thulin has positioned himself to stay current and relevant. We're looking forward to his next crop of reconstructions, which should (somehow) even be better than these.
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