Since posting the video for Brenmar’s “Taking It Down,” I’ve been playing the track on repeat. Digging deeper into his body of work, I’ve found a unique strand of rhythm and bass. His songs surge on UK funky beats and sultry R&B samples, chopped with more finesse than those of his juke and footwork cousins. As Brenmar describes it, “this is club music for the present.”
Brenmar (government name Bill Salas) was born in Chicago and hones his craft in NYC. Over the last year or so, he’s made a name for himself with his club remixes of tracks by mainstream artists like Rihanna and Jamie Foxx. His flip of Ashanti’s “Only You” into the swaying “Boy U Got Me,” chops “boy you got me doing things that I would never do” across a bass-heavy jam (the song appeared on Top Billing’s excellent Truancy Compilation). Compared to “Boy U Got Me,” his remix of Aaliyah’s seminal “R U That Somebody” is a hypercharged workout, with nods to the juke of his hometown.
[wpaudio url=”/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Brenmar-Boy_U_Got_Me.mp3″ text=”Brenmar – Boy U Got Me” dl=1]
[wpaudio url=”/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Aaliyah-R_U_That_Somebody_(Brenmar_Windy_City_Mix).mp3″ text=”Aaliyah – R U That Somebody (Brenmar’s Windy City Mix)” dl=1]
Brenmar’s tracks are all about the perfect sample, always clipping just the right phrase or lyric to build a song around. On his debut EP, At It Again, it was Ne-Yo (“Make Me Say”) and Marques Houston (the aforementioned “Taking It Down”). He continues that practice on his latest, Let Me Know (Tasting), which was released Tuesday. The title tracks features one of Mya’s more suggestive lines (“If you’re likin’ what you’re tastin’ / Baby let me know“) and single “Want Me” continues the theme with some Brownstone.
[wpaudio url=”/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/brenmar-wantme.mp3″ text=”Brenmar – Want Me” dl=0]
As a remixer, Brenmar has ventured out of the pop-R&B sweet spot, with interesting results. On remixes for Blondes and Teengirl Fantasy, he reverse engineers the chilled-out songs into more traditional dance tracks. It’s clearly a form he’s most comfortable with; what he calls club music for the present is more like club music from the future.
Check out his Gold Bricks mix for The Fader (below), and catch him at Baltimore’s Red Maple on June 30.