London producer Wafa follows up his Lucky Strike EP for Grizzly with a ridiculously over-the-top single, sampling Rose Royce's classic "Love Don't Live Here Anymore" for a bombastic tune with questionable trappings. Three different remixers do their best to save the effort, but they can only do so much.
The first minute and a half of "Abandon Me" is a cruel tease. Floating strings and a shuffling beat meet the filtered sample, building toward what seems like a soulfully grooving, space-age house track, something that might even be perfect for the summer months ahead. Then, the production is flipped on its back, making space for a heavy beat and a stomach-churning electric guitar sample that seems culled from, or inspired by, the depths of hard-rock machismo. Not only is the guitar incredibly unfitting, but it essentially takes over the tune. While pieces of the filtered sample continue to occasionally slip through, the screaming guitar assures that they remain only vaguely related to the rest of what's happening. In short, "Abandon Me" is a terribly misguided attempt at a banger and a surprising disappointment considering Wafa's production career so far.
The EP's three remixers do their best to make something worthwhile of this mess, and it's telling that none of them do more than drop a hint of the electric guitar—not even the brash electro poster boys of Crookers attempt to seriously incorporate the questionable riffs. Still, Basement Jaxx makes a rare and impressive remix appearance (albeit one that's less surprising given that the Abandon Me EP is dropping on the duo's own imprint), twisting Wafa's tune into a classic Jaxx-style excursion with fragments of house twisted around infectious melodies and a funky, swinging low end. Perhaps the best effort comes from a remixer by the name of FHR, who somehow erects a sturdy production from the shambles of the original, half-timing the beat and adding a dreamy assemblage of swirling pads, chords, and reworked vocals for a rewarding tune that lands on the more emotive side of UK bass. Unfortunately, these two remixes are the only things worth their weight on this outing, which leaves an unnecessary and hard-to-ignore blemish on Wafa's otherwise worthwhile track record.