#nowheretogo: Phoenix – “SOS In Bel Air (Jackson and His Computerband Remix)”

Image via Jackson and His Computer Band
Image via Jackson and His Computer Band

This song is part of a recurring post franchise called “Nowhere to Go,” where Young Cedar highlights dance music that might get lost in needless genre categorization or your overflowing SoundCloud feed.

There are a lot of cliques across music right now, and while Jackson and His Computerband seems connected to his peers in the French dance music scene (evidence), he appears to mostly go it alone. When I asked him about this in an interview for Dazed, he said, “I’m in the middle. I’m not on a quest to be an outsider, but I’m also this French guy signed to Warp Records, so it puts me in a different place. At the same time, I spend a lot of time hanging out with those dudes.”

Beforehand, he said, “I caught myself in the middle of those two generations of producers. I came across Daft Punk at the very beginning of their career…afterward came the next generation of the Ed Banger scene, which is only a bit younger. The Ed Banger mania took off the moment I went to live in Berlin, but later I became close to them and made friendships.” His sound is a refreshing take on the past that he’s inspired by mixed with the future shape of electronic music that he’s become instrumental in defining.

His remix for “SOS In Bel Air” is over five minutes longer than the original song (which is 3:43), so basically, Jackson went in. It kind of comes out of nowhere, since Phoenix‘s Bankrupt! came out last April, but it shows exactly why Jackson (and His Computer Band) is so one-of-a-kind. He slows down the original song, emphasizing the lyrics “You can’t cross the line / but you can’t stop trying,” and highlighting the despondence (yet eventual hopefulness) that gets lost in its original pace. For nine minutes and 28 seconds, the remix takes so many unexpected twists and turns, it feels like a movie (I thought it would end at three different points, once signaled by the lyrics, “Well I really need to go now”). That’s where Jackson and so many of his dance music contemporaries succeed; they understand the power of visuals, whether it’s Jackson’s memorable bleached hair and jumpsuit getup or the cinematic quality of this song. What was once an SOS is now something you don’t want to be saved from.