Model 500’s “No UFO’s,” first released in 1985, is an inspiring anthem telling us to look up, wake up, notice what’s going on around us, and then maybe we can expect the unexpected. The chorus goes, “They say there is no hope. They say no UFO’s. Why is no head hung high. Maybe you’ll see them fly.” Techno’s godfather, thirty-two years later, continues to inspire globally with sound, old and new. “No UFO’s” tells listeners to stop fighting and set yourself free. It is music about liberation while also being liberated music. Juan Atkins brought together vast musical influences and developed innovative, revolutionary music from tones and textures, to complex rhythmic patterns, and provocative ideas and philosophies. And you could party to it in the club.
Moodymann’s remix is the type of remix that is a whole entire piece of creative sound art all on its own. The first thirty seconds sets a mood alerting listeners to listen up. From his revolutionary music in topic and sound, to his roller skating parties, and his Detroit museum dedicated to Prince, Moodymann is a man you need to listen to. He removes distortion from Atkins’ voice, boosting volume and clarity in the vocal line, and brings rich, textured distortion in his percussive patterns throughout the piece. Building on melodies from the original, and enhancing particular timbres in the bass line, he turns his remix into a sonic ode to Juan Atkins’ musical genius. The lilting, but hard-sounding piano line lets you know that it’s Moodymann. Lyrics, a little harder to decipher in the original, tell a beautiful story: “Told me it was alright/You said I should not fear/Things you haven’t seen before/Are coming very near/They analyze and test us (X2)/I hope they do not catch us/They analyze and test us/ â€¦ If we get together/Cut out all the game/Maybe catch our tempers/Maybe act more tame/Put down all our weapons/Strange as it may seem/Then maybe we can travel/Beyond our wildest dreams” The remix ends with diminishing layers of sound giving the listener a stronger sense of the complexity of the piece as the individual patterns drop away.
Luciano segments minimal portions of bass lines and melodic patterns from the original composition, stretching the pieces into a meditative song with a simple melody that builds as rhythmic complexity increases. Just before the two minute mark of this roomy 14 minute 39 second piece of music, Atkins’ vocal line from the original “No UFO’s” flows while percussive. Luciano cut up the vocal line from the chorus so that each word can still be understood, but the pace is disjointed and syncopated. Model 500’s original message is honored, while the presentation gets reworked and expanded. Near four minutes, the music slows when Atkins states “They say there is no hope.” And the crowd cheers; we can hear the live, gigantic audience hollering for the music. This becomes a metaphor of sound throughout the remix, tones and patterns functioning as creative dedications to the godfather. Luciano explores the depth of Atkins’ composition and artistry, allowing listeners to appreciate the levels of beauty in the original piece, as well as the possibilities for sound and creativity in a remix.