One of the signs of a truly great musician is how musically adventurous they are. If they can move out of their musical comfort zone and still sound good, then you know this isn’t just any Tom, Dick, or Harry. That all certainly applies with Susannah B and her brand new “Moon & Sand” j.wells remix, a pumped-up, reinvented version of the original “Moon & Sand” song found on the singer’s Girl Gone Wilder! album.
This is an electronic take on the song, with the expertise of j.wells at play, enabling the song to take on a whole new sound and spirit. It may seem like an unlikely pairing, but Susannah and j.wells have found just the right chemistry together, with the producer helping her find a whole new side to herself as a musician. They first collaborated on an EP of techno house remixes of Susannah’s songs titled Deep House Sessions, and they are now back to grace you with some chilled-out, down-tempo beats.
Explaining the motivation behind the remix and working with j.wells, Susannah tells us:
“I decided to do a remix of ‘Moon & Sand’ because when I first covered the song on my retro jazz album Girl Gone Wilder!, I learned that it was written back when World War II was just starting, and the world was in a really dark place… but the song is this sensual, romantic fantasy, and that contrast interested me. I played up the sultry, mysterious vibe on my jazz album, remembering that the song was like an escape from the bad news of the period. And then I realized that a new remix could do the same thing right now, when the world feels so overwhelming and unstable.
I thought the dreamy, escapist vibe could work really well as a more up-tempo electronic track. At first, it was kind of a creative puzzle for me and my producer, j.wells to figure out how to turn this jazz standard from 1941 into a modern techno house remix, but we ended up collaborating more closely than we ever had before and came up with something special that we’re really happy with!”
Recording electronic music is obviously quite a change of pace and arguably a career risk for Susannah, but it speaks to her guts as an artist. Girl Gone Wilder! is a retro-jazz flavoured record that acts as a tribute to the late great American composer Alec Wilder. Not only is she a well-respected singer-songwriter, but Susannah is also a screenwriter and actress. She grew up in Manhattan as an off-Broadway actress and local club singer and has co-written films.
j.wells is a Brooklyn-based producer who has been a staple of New York’s techno, house, and hip-hop scene for many years now. Also classically trained, he grew up heavily influenced by the dance music scenes in Berlin, Detroit, and New York City. What makes him such a highly valued producer is his minimalist, experimental approach that uniquely uses vintage synthesizers, analog drums, and vinyl cuts.
They may not seem like the most natural association on the surface, but judging by their output, there’s no doubt that Susannah and j.wells have got something good cooking.