Usually I’d have some kind of notes written down about a tune I’ve been forwarded to check out. Who’s produced what, where it was recorded, who the artist sounds like. When I was pointed in the direction of Air Max ’97‘s remix “Looking At Myself” by Sydney artist Gussy, there was none of this except for a YouTube link and a quick note that Gussy has ‘something special and exciting’ surrounding them.
Before listening to the remix, I went and listened to the original cut and instantly fell for that hypnotic vocal Gussy lays over some solid beats and production. Sold, I went back to the remix and found myself hit with something different altogether. With the Melbourne producer behind the helm for this one, the remix is a like a haunting shade – where the original punches through with heart and a certain warmth, the remix is colder, harsher. Distorted, but still sharp in its delivery, “Looking At Myself” – in remixed form – highlights isolation within the lyricism and in the official music video, we see it even more clearly.
Gussy dances alone at a mirror as the lights flicker as the grainy VHS quality of the video matches up with the gritty nature of the music. The vocals have been reworked too so that instead of singing, you hear Gussy delivering their lyrics almost drone-like. The text that scrolls along the bottom of the screen as they dance is a contrast to the rest of the action; negative commentary like “You’re funnier when you’re not trying,” and “You’re in a fight with yourself because you want to be good but you’re not,” float along while Gussy dances with confidence, catching glimpses in the mirror with each stance.
The negativity doesn’t affect them in the video, which I think is a pretty cool element of it all. Whether this remix and the video is a comment on distorted narcissism (especially one that rules much of our online culture today) or if it’s simply a beat to feel your best damn self to, Air Max ’97 has done something eerie to a beautiful original.
Well worth your time – check it out below.
Header Image: Joseph Brennan.