It had to happen. There was no way the bigwigs at Universal's marketing department weren't going to push for something else to milk from Brokeback Mountain's fine, Grammy-winning score (by the great composer and producer Gustavo Santaolalla). So here is an EP of three different mixes of "The Wings," the score's main theme, remixed for maximum club consumption on the dancefloor by a trio of well-known DJs and producers. The first version, by classically trained arrangers Gabriel & Dresden, keeps the emotional core of the theme, with its guitar and pedal steel atmospherics sitting in the dead center of the remix. It's a progressive house treatment to be sure, but its sensitive and feels more collaborative than the other two (but Santaolalla had nothing to do with choosing DJs or had any final say on these mixes -- that was taken care of by the A&R department). It's still schlocky in an overblown Hollywood movie way, and rips the integrity from the original tune, but it's at least defensible and makes sense. The Manny Lehman, Tony Moran, and Warren Rigg read of the tune is pure Balearic house. The guitar theme gets touched upon in this fusion of funk, disco, and house over nine minutes, but its an elemental aside. It feels better than the Gabriel & Dresden version because it doesn't aspire to anything other than being a killer dance track with a neat little guitar vamp as its centerpiece. Lehman's final take on the track is the longest one in the bunch and clocks in at a little over 11 minutes. It's much more in your face, tribal, and trancey. It's prime-hour floor music. The theme gets used fragmentally and is countered with a boatload of keyboards playing it synthetically. It moves though, and makes more sense than any of the others. It's hard-hitting and driving, its rhythm loops are infectious -- and it comes complete with a big finish. This is a mixed bag to be sure, but for fans of the theme or those looking for new dance tracks, this just may be your thing. Still, given how high Santaolalla's profile is in the Latin pop music scene (the guy produces Juanes!) and his involvement with DJs and remixers, it would have been nice to hear who and what he may have selected.
© Thom Jurek /TiVo