William Fitzsimmons is the name of a Pennsylvanian singer-songwriter. Active since 2005, his first two releases came out of bedroom recordings made in his hometown of Pittsburgh. I’m afraid I don’t remember specifically where I first heard him, so I can’t give credit where it may be due.
His latest release, Derivatives is made up mostly of remixes that combine his soft, Iron & Wine-esque voice with chilled out beats. The remixes actually end up being stronger than the originals and give the album a unique sound. With such a large portion of the album made up of remixes done by other people, it’s a little hard to see where Fitzsimmons’ influence ends and the remixer’s begins. Despite this artistic uncertainty, the album avoids the trappings of being simply, well, derivative of other singer-songwriters.
I don’t know anything about the people who did the remixes, but there’s a large variety of them each different than the last. Mikroby’s remix of “If You Would Come Back Home” has a similarity to Frou Frou’s “Let Go,” while the Pink Garter remix of “So This is Goodbye” retains a spacey sound with echoing guitars and a single driving beat. The un-remixed songs have strong similarities to Sufjan Stevens and Iron & Wine, with “I Don’t Feel It Anymore” being my favorite. It sounds a lot like Sufjan’s more acoustic stuff on Illinois, which makes the remixed version all more interesting for its drastic tonal difference.
The best part of this release is its wide appeal to a great many genres; fans of house will feel right at home with the remixes and the soft indie-folk covers the acoustic section. Holding it all together is Fitzsimmons earnest little voice that is somehow able to sound perfectly at home on both kinds of backing tracks. I don’t know if the credit for that should go to the remixers or Fitzsimmons, but its a fantastic collection of songs.
I Don’t Feel It Anymore (Feat. Brooke Fraser) [download] (rightclick>saveas…)
I Don’t Feel It Anymore [George Ranquet Remix] (Feat. Brooke Fraser) [download] (rightclick>saveas…)
So This is Goodbye [Pink Ganter Remix] [download] (rightclick>saveas…)