When Disney announced they were pushing this DConstructed album, I was excited as ever, but also skeptical like many of you. “Is Walt Disney Records simply cashing in on the popularity of electronic dance music?” was all I could think, but I had a serving of optimism left to consume, even though the tracklist wasn’t tailored to a 90’s kid exclusively. They enlisted some heavy hitters who know a thing or two about making compelling compositions though; Armin Van Buuren, Kaskade, Mat Zo, Avicii and Au5 are just some of the producers who got a chance to be on this remix compilation.
Fourteen remixes of iconic – and some infinitely classic – songs from Disney’s mostly immediate past got touched up, ranging from “Circle of Life” to “Roar” to “The Muppet Show Theme.” After taking a listen to the album, I was blown away. Not because this is the best thing since peanut butter ‘n’ chocolate, but because they really took the measures to make this respectable to ravers from all backgrounds. Of course, your various house jams made it onto the project, yet drum & bass, trap and even moombahcore can be found in the cache of remixes.
Now, I respect Disney, but I just wasn’t sure what to expect. Since the album became public, though, my worries have been laid to rest to a degree, while my love for Disney inched up just as mercury is beginning to do as we approach the summertime. Some of these will be perfect for the summer too, while some of them won’t be. Many people were disappointed, but given an honest evaluation I think this deserves a passing grade, so to speak.
Starting off with one of my personal favorites in “Circle of Life,” DConstructed did the most unthinkable thing ever. Drum & Bass meets Mat Zo in the Lion King anthem was the best way to start this compilation off. The vocal hits and you are instantly brought back to the 90’s in inspiring spirits where you stay, only to be brought to a smashing UK bass rave. The vocals and bass mingle felicitously together for a partnership just as good as the pairing of Mat Zo with DnB.
Following the lead is Avicii with his “So Amazing Remix” of “Derezzed” from the film Tron. I’m not a huge enthusiast of the more poppy sound, but dammit this track is fun if nothing else. It’s well produced too; maybe not Avicii’s most sound work, in my opinion. That’s only because he’s set the technical bar so high for himself at this point though. Nonetheless, his remix of Daft Punk is admirable.
You may have already heard what comes next. Armin Van Buuren‘s take on “Let It Go” got mixed reactions, but I think he did a fine enough job. Did it make me rethink the universe? No. Could he have done better? Most definitely, howbeit it kept me relatively entertained for six minutes. The only real issue I see with this is it not doing absolute justice to the original.
The next name may not be so familiar, however, Yogi absolutely kills it with his work on “Roar” from Monster’s University. I certainly was not expecting to hear trap. I didn’t recognize the artist’s name. No matter, Yogi’s hybrid trap rework is one of my favorites on the album. It’s so ill.
Walt Disney Records brought back a memorable production with the Toy Story inspired original, “Partysaurus Overflow,” from BT and Au5. Structurally this song is amazing; the intro foreshadows the hard electro bass, which comes after a big progressive drop that could have been adequate enough for a full song in some producers eyes. Not these two. They took things to a whole other level.
One surprisingly interesting find that we come across next is another original, “Unkle Reconstruction,” this time from Michael Giacchino. Inspired by The Incredibles, the record doesn’t pay too much homage to the movie, but it’s a trippy tune. Breakbeat meets rock meets psychedelia, in that order. If we were to throw some numbers out, I’d give this a solid six or seven, depending on the mood I was in.
“Fall” from Tron gets re-laced up with the Japanese Popstars. Despite their name, this is not poppy at all. It pushes the line between being a barrage of noise and being a song, but the side of the fence it falls on is indeed with the latter. This should have been in the movie if anything; it’s got that dark Frenchy electro feel similar to Gesaffelstein. It takes a certain type of person to even consider liking this in the first place, but I am one of those people who considers and enjoys. Even if it’s not on Gesaffelstein’s level, it’s dope.
Anytime hard electro bass is in the earliest parts of an intro, you have my attention. Anytime I can sense that the bpms are in the midtempo range, you have my attention even further. With Shy Kidx‘s remix of “The Muppet Show Theme,” both were true; what we have on our hands is some moombahcore. YES. I couldn’t be happier at this point. The song is exemplary for the under-appreciated genre too. They didn’t just grab some shit like a monkey and fling. I say thumbs up.
With StoneBridge‘s work we go way back. All the way back to the original Mickey Mouse cartoons where the inspiration for “Hey Pluto!” came from. It’s a classy cut that reminds me of electro swing, although I wouldn’t go so far as labeling this that completely. Groovy is one way to describe it, and so is convivial. I think it’s a tasteful treat worth coming back to when you are looking for a good tune to play.
Sleeping Beauty‘s “Once Upon a Dream” got work done by Trion in the next song on the list. The intro showed promise, but I wasn’t too impressed by the somewhat lackluster drop into the meat of things. As things started building again though, my distaste was tested. The next phrase is much better; more energy and more enjoyable tones flow through the air in a fun, yet maniacal manner. I can dig.
The extended mix of “Main Street Electrical Parade” by Shinichi Osawa is one of the most distinguishable tracks on the compilation for its recognizable sound. A dreamy 8-bit style presses the good vibes on with zeal deriving from the upbeat synth work. Polyphonic rhythms work together to produce a final joyous web that will entangle most.
Next comes one of the most legendary songs in history, with Randy Newman’s “You’ve Got a Friend In Me.” The remix comes from Alfred Montejano Hyper who made the interesting decision to venture towards a Daft Punk-esque sound. I’m not so hyped on this one; I felt like it was a little forced. The song is smooth, and the production value is even exemplary. I just wasn’t sold on this, unfortunately.
One of the more pleasurable singles on DConstructed comes to us in Kaskade‘s version of “Baby Mine” from Dumbo. It’s labeled as the “House Version” and house it is. Ryan’s subtle composition is characterized by sensuous synths, organic percussion and a tranquilizing vocal. Relax and immerse yourself to get the full effect. Kaskade’s oldie from 2009’s House Disney made a warranted comeback.
The last song isn’t based from a film, but “Pineapple Princess” does originate from the famous Mouseketeer Annette Funicello. Originally released on her Hawaiiannette LP, the tune now has a remix from Kinsey Moore. It’s good music for the car ride, with the top down, but on a dancefloor I’m not too sure how this would fare. Feel-good for sure, but not crazy impressive in my eyes. They chose it because it’s an OG classic – I’m sure – but I thought it wasn’t the best way to leave people off with the album.
DConstructed as an overall project is worth the time. There are a good number of gems in here that are worth keeping. With the grandiosity of Disney, the compilation doesn’t stack up, but as a dance music compilation being compared to other dance music compilations, I don’t see why this got harped on as much as it did. Feel free to disagree, but I thought this was a reasonably noble collection of remixes.
If you enjoyed your time, then follow one of the links below to take these home with you. If you choose to look on Beatport, you will find three extra songs that you can get. Two of them said “Big Room” so I didn’t bother to listen. Sorry!
I did manage to write this whole review, so there’s the trade-off. I’d like to hear your guys thoughts on this project, so feel free to comment below. In mentioning grades previously, I’ll go ahead and throw DConstructed a low B. What do you think?