What you’re about to listen to is a compilation of remixes created for Remix the Symphony.

Remix the Symphony sought to remix negative preconceived notions about classical music through a subversive, interactive experience that led audiences on a musically inspired journey through time, space, and culture. It was created in partnership with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra (ISO) and connected new audiences to the Lilly Classical Series.

Remix the Symphony hosted collaborative events with artists and writers in the Indianapolis community, distributed zines throughout the city featuring artwork and writing inspired by classical music, and held a remix contest, where we asked musicians to remix classical music into their own style.

This EP is the culmination of that contest, and the culmination of Remix the Symphony. These songs seek to find new ways to mix the old and new, classical and contemporary. Classical music will always have the power to inspire contemporary artists to make something that is truly unique and exciting. We feel that these songs convey exactly that.

The Remix Contest asked entrants to remix one of three pieces – all of which have been played by the ISO at a recent concert. If you like the pieces on this EP, check out the ISO’s Lilly Classical Series to experience the true power of classical music. 

Track List:

1. Symphony Remix – Jecorey ‘1200’ Arthur (Remixing Richard Strauss’ An Alpine Symphony)

Symphony Remix came about as a collaboration between composer Jecorey ‘1200’ Arthur and engineer Dan Giffin, and was created as the kick-off event for Remix the Symphony.

In the song, Richard Strauss’ An Alpine Symphony, a dramatic song with high tension and drama, is used to provide the backing track to a verse written by Arthur describing the tension he feels in life being both a teacher and a performer.

Arthur says the song “tells the story of strangers, coming together to make music” and describes a character torn between two worlds: the world of classical music, and the world of the streets. Arthur says that “it’s kinda similar to my story growing up from a less fortunate side of town in Louisville, KY, to becoming this musician who dabbles in the classical and the pop realms.”

2. Fantasia on a Theme Remix – Lonestra (Remixing Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis by Ralph Vaughan Williams)

This piece takes Ralph Vaughan Williams’ composition Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis in a strong departure from the original, while still maintaining the essence of the song. The beginning of the track is a “chopped up bar that has been altered to bring out a pluck sound.” The song then transforms into a downtempo, rainy track that has bright spots dotted throughout.

The composer of this remix, Lonestra “wanted to create something natural feeling” that also contained electronic elements. For instance, the percussion is from a live acoustic drum set, but the piano is electronic. He was drawn to the chord progressions of the original composition, and he wanted to focus on certain chord patterns in this remix. He feels that the remix adds to the original by taking small sections, and expanding on these sections, taking the work in a completely different direction.

3. Der Tod des Automaten in den Händen eines grausamen Königs – Null Echo (Remixing Maurice Ravel’s Miroirs III. Une Barque sur L’Ocean and Claude Debussy’s La Mer)

This piece takes Maurice Ravel’s composition Miroirs III. Une Barque sur L’Ocean, reducing it to a simple, repeated piano riff, looping it throughout the composition. The song also takes Claude Debussy’s La Mer, buried under layers of distortion, to provide a backing track to the Ravel sample.

The composer of the remix, Null Echo, describes the composition as “the sounds heard by a dying robot as it leaves Earth’s atmosphere.” Through dense layers of distorted noise, themes and melodies seem to rise out of the music, obscured by static and feedback.

Ravel’s sample was chosen by Null Echo because it sounded “wistful and melancholic, like the composer was reaching for a memory he couldn’t quite touch. It really served as the backbone to my work, and it allowed me to explore the themes of loss and isolation that I was hearing in the original piece.”

4. Miroirs II. Oiseaux Tristes (Unravelled Mirror II) – Zephyr Nova (Remixing Maurice Ravel’s Miroirs II. Oiseaux Triste)

This piece takes Maurice Ravel’s Miroirs II. Oiseaux Triste to build a brooding, sparse, and atmospheric experience. It begins with a simple statement of rolling piano keys, but it quickly builds into something far more brooding, dark, layered, and complex.

The composer of the remix, Zephyr Nova was struck by what “an unusual, complex array of emotions” that Oiseaux Triste distills. Within his remix he sought to further explore the sense of “mysteriousness, melancholia, and a dark beauty” he found within the original composition. Lose yourself in the unanswered questions. Lose yourself in the atmosphere.

5. House of Miroirs – Dead Horses (Remixing Maurice Ravel’s Miroirs III. Une Barque sur L’Ocean)

This piece takes the beginning of Miroirs III. Une Barque sur L’Ocean by Maurice Ravel, looping it for several bars, establishing a flowing, repetitive motion. The piece then presents the sample run through an arpeggiator, which serves as the backbone of the rest of the composition before being joined by a new rolling, atonal piano sample.

The composer of the remix, Dead Horses, describes the composition as “the waves of the ocean washing upon the shore beneath an abandoned haunted house, full of frightful ghosts and malevolent specters.” You can hear the moment when the listener leaves the shore and enters the house, because the music takes a sinister turn, and it becomes less composed, and noisier with the clatter of the spirits.
This sample was chosen because the composer felt that the beginning of the song captured the “smooth movement of the ocean,” and he wanted to capture that movement into a “House of Mirrors — hence the name” where the movement would swirl around a confined space, bringing out all of the ghosts trapped inside the house.