Give Walter A Break: The Jungle Music of Mr. Gibbons
Whereas other remixers visited the break on a record, Walter Gibbons LIVED in it. It’s no wonder that he got props from hip-hop DJs back in the day. It was all about the percussion. Check his remix of Double Exposure’s “Ten Percent” for further proof of that. The deliriously happy tambourine, the way the drums were moved from the background to the foreground, the fact that the chorus doesn’t kick in until almost three minutes into the song. It’s a vastly different version from Tom Moulton’s mix, which is probably the one that most people are familiar with. Moulton touches upon most of the original’s elements, though: verses, chorus, breaks, everything. The Gibbons Mix is just a different beast altogether.
He may not be as well known as Tom Moulton, Francois Kevorkian, or Larry Levan, but few put it on the line as regularly as Gibbons did, especially when it came to remixes. The Strut label released a collection of his remixes during the summer called Jungle Music, a term used to refer to his wild style of extended mixes and percussive break workouts. The easiest one to spot: “Set It Off” by Strafe, but for kicks they throw in the cover that Gibbons recorded as Harlequin Fours (with Barbara Tucker on vocals). I’m quite partial to “It’s A Better Than Good Time” by Gladys Knight and the outsider soul of Arthur Russell (“See Through”). Apparently, Gibbons was one of the only remixers that Russell would trust with his work.
Why babble on incessantly about this man’s work when you can hear it on your own? Respect due to Disco Sonitus for mixing up the remixes into a 70-minute journey through Walter Gibbons’ work. And if that’s not enough for you, hit the YouTube clip to hear Tony Smith and Danny Krivit speaking on Gibbons…