Sometimes art is so elegant and well-crafted that it becomes fluid, phasing through different planes and iterations of itself without losing any brilliance. “When” by Norrisette is one such piece of art. Contrary to contemporary musical trends, the production here is minimal. This simplicity showcases the subtlety of the songwriting, which carries the listener to a delicate reverie. The song’s remix retains much of the same soft dreaminess, despite the introduction of club and glitch elements. In fact, in some ways this adds to the feelings and themes already established, as the driving of the complex percussion pulls us deeper into Norrisette’s dream, where we become entranced.
Because the songwriting itself is the star of the show, “When” is a beautiful piece of art regardless of mix. However, there are many differences between the mixes that significantly change the feel of the song. The remix differs from the original by creating more tension in two main ways; by presenting elements at odds with each other, and by adding elements which are more fast-paced/active.
Firstly, the added percussion contrasts heavily with the softer more muted elements of the original version. Tension within the new elements further this; the glitch aspect contributes to a feeling of surrealism while the heavier club kick grounds us and adds emotional intensity. Having more variation between these elements creates a more emotionally and sonically dynamic experience.
Secondly, there is a highly present and variable drum beat in the remix which propels the listener forward through the song. Because of the forward directionality this conveys, the air of curiosity from the original version transforms into a motivation to solve the mystery. Instead of a gentle self-reflection, it now feels more like a deeper contemplation. In addition to this, structural changes from the added instruments and transitions throughout the song form a climax and a resolution that leaves the listener with more of a sense of closure.
The relationship between this song and its remix demonstrate that having a solid foundation to work with in art allows for diverse potential. Somehow, Norrisette was able to finesse both mixes in a way that honored the integrity of the song itself. This soft intensity is not easy to attain, and in doing just that she shows how brilliant of an artist she really is.
Featured Image: Norrisette