Sean Austin: “Mercy” (Remix) (feat. Lion Heights) [PREMIERE]

The rapid rate of single rollouts in hip-hop have really made us take remixes for granted. Because when it’s as simple as revisiting the beat, rewriting a verse, and inviting in a few new voices, “I like the remix better” becomes a given with pretty much any commercial success. Which is a shame, since remixes are a great opportunity to breath new life into a piece and reach new listeners with just the right amount of crossover appeal…think “Walk this Way” by Run-D.M.C.. Heck, even if it is pretty much the same song, a fresh set of polish, a literal re-mix, can make an old tune sound new.

If you’re already hip to remix culture, you know it started around in the Dance Halls of ’60s-’70s Jamaica, where DJs stripped and rebuilt reggae, rocksteady, and ska to cater to different audience demographics. And reggae – where the riddim reigns supreme and formal covers are often lost in the id of universally accessible dub bass lines, timbale fills, and guitar skanks – is undeniably an extremely underrepresented arena here in Central Texas. But if there’s one act who just keeps on roaring strong, it’s Austin-via-Chicago four-piece Lion Heights. And of course they’ve incorporated a few other Caribbean-inspired cubs into their pride, including fellow Texas-via-Jamaica reggae purveyor Sean Austin, who they teamed up with on last September’s “Jah Love” (off Lion Heights’ Not Done Fighting Riddim album), 2020’s “One Love”, plus Christmas 2021’s “Same Girl” and “Mercy” (both from Austin’s Purple Hearts LP).

“Mercy”‘s an amazing track, but its relatively lo-fidelity mix leaves the rest of the song quality at the mercy of the listener. Thankfully though, Lion Heights bassist/engineer extraordinaire Dane Foltin worked his magic on “Mercy” to bring it up to snuff with a Tuff Gong mix just in time for a steamy summer. You can hear the difference right away; there’s a newfound clarity and the sense of space is now island-wide, like a long overcast sky suddenly becoming sunny and spotless. Not much more to say other than we love this song, and we’re thrilled to hear it finally get the high-fidelity treatment it’s always deserved.

Mercy (Remix) (feat. Lion Heights)

Sean Austin

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