Tuesday, 31 January 2012
‘Change Your Mind’ was released on the More Protein imprint in 1994, and constituted Eve Gallagher’s fourth single for that label, the best known of which was undoubtedly ‘Love Come Down’. ‘Change Your Mind’ was produced by Evolution, and remixed by Diss-Cuss, the latter being very prolific around the ’94 period before ostensibly disappearing altogether. The next release from Eve Gallagher was to be issued on Cleveland City, in the shape of the Ramp-remixed ‘You Can Have It All’ – one of my all time favourite tracks.
Eve Gallagher – Change Your Mind (Diss-Cuss 12” Vocal Mix)
Following the success of both ‘Eugina’ – an ahead of its time, chill-trance masterpiece - and their debut album ‘Wave Breaks’, Salt Tank were commissioned to remix one of the defining records of the dance music canon. Executed in their inimitable, Ibiza infused, trancey vein, Salt Tank offer up a complete overhaul of the original record, delivering a spectacular remix which ought to have attracted more attention that it did, upon its release on Distinctive in the autumn of 1997.
Sueno Latino – Sueno Latino (Salt Tank Amnesian Mix)
In its original form, ‘Alane’ constitutes a world music number, which initially received a US release in 1997 – with remixes from Tony Moran and Todd Terry – prior to landing on these shores early the following year. The Trouser Enthusiasts were duly drafted in to supply the archetypal remix, and serve up one of their finest recreations to date, an epic trancer nicely complemented and offset by the unusual, African vocals.
Wes – Alane (Trouser Enthusiasts’ Orgasmic Apparition)
The Original's 'I Luv U Baby' originally surfaced on the Ore label in 1994 and became something of a sleeper hit. The following summer, the track was re-released and became completely ubiquitous, having since been played to death by many an over-zealous radio station. The follow up single, 'B 2gether', caused less of a stir when it was issued in the Autumn of '95, but is, in my estimation, the better track. DJ Pippi's original showcases a much more mellow, Balearic vibe, whilst Dancing Divaz ratchet it up a few notches with their typically euphoric club and dub mixes.
The Original - B 2Gether (Dancing Divaz Vocal Club Mix)
Monday, 30 January 2012
Another trance classic from the summer of 1997, 'The Journey' was unleashed by Platipus, who commissioned the Trouser Enthusiasts to deliver the definitive version. The subsequent soaring trance soundscape elevated 'The Journey' into classic status, remaining as it does a highlight of the Platipus back catalogue. This remix sees Trouser Enthusiasts on characteristically top form, though it is a little more serious and a touch less playful than some of their pop-based remoulds of mainstream acts such as the Pet Shop Boys and Fierce.
Loveclub - The Journey (Trouser Enthusiasts Remix)
'Skin On Skin' was initially released at the beginning of 1996, and was originally loosely based on the Perfecto remix of U2's 'Lemon'. Oakenfold & Osbourne duly forged an instrumental track from the aforementioned 'Lemon', which they titled 'Orange'. When Dominique Atkins' vocals were applied to the latter it became 'Skin On Skin', the third single from the Grace project and one that proved a sizeable club and chart hit. Some eighteenth months later, a clutch of remixes were issued of various Grace tracks, the highlight of which was the Legend B remix of 'Skin On Skin'. Legend B completely remade the track, dropping the vocal almost entirely save for the insistent whisper of 'Skin On Skin', prior to building to a thunderous, synth-infused crescendo. Another underrated track, the Legend B remix of 'Skin On Skin' remains one of the defining trance records of 1997.
In its original form, 'Drive' is a rather catchy pop-R&B affair from UK soul singer Geoffrey Williams. The track was delivered to the legendary Dave Valentine to remix, who, in the guise of the Self Preservation Society, output a smouldering, understated rework which, bar the odd vocal snatch, is almost completely unrecognisable from the original song. This is definitely up there with Valentine's best work, easy equalling his remix of Sunscreem's 'Catch' in terms of its quality, in my opinion.
'The Artwork EP' by Rodd-Y-Ler received a UK release in 1997 on the short-lived Hooj Choons subsidiary label Blue Banana. The lead track, 'Lifesigns', was way ahead of its time, comprising a piece of hard, fast, yet wonderfully harmonious trance. 'Lifesigns' has unquestioningly endured - sounding as uplifting now as it did do at the time of its release - yet remains a criminally underrated, artful hard trance composition.
Rodd-Y-Ler - Lifesigns (Original Mix)
This is one of those rare tracks whereupon every single mix is completely spellbinding. Issued on the S3 label at some indeterminate point in 1996, 'My Life Is In Your Hands' stood out at as an epic house masterpiece at a time when the world was apparently obsessed with 'dream house'. An epic journey in its original form, I personally prefer the Dekkard & Dane 7" edit which condenses the original version and foregrounds the big diva vocals (something of a rarity of the time, as progressive house numbers of this era - with a few notable exceptions - tended to feature ethereal, 'little girl lost' vocals). Blue Amazon deliver one the highlights of their remix career, whilst Lisa Marie Experience lay down a piano-tastic, memorably uplifting rethink. Despite the strength of the remixes, the original remains, in my estimation, the best. This is one of my all time favourite tracks, and I can still recall sitting bolt upright when I first heard it being played on some Saturday night Radio City dance show, utterly enraptured.
Meltdown - My Life Is In Your Hands (Dekkard & Dane's Shortwater Chase)
Arguably one of the most influential Balearic numbers of the last twenty or so years, 'Snappiness' was first released in 1990, percolating amongst taste-makers for a number of years until a more prolific re-issue ensued some six years since. The Hi Life re-release featured the tastefully updated 'Revisited dub', alongside some of the original ambient mixes, as well as a Hardfloor-aping, rather head-banging version from Zen Terrorists. Featured here is the 'Revisited edit' (for some reason my CD single of this track does not include the full length dub, though Discogs insists that it ought to); and one of the lilting, balearic versions that made this track so indispensable and special the first time around.
BBG - Snappiness (Evolution)
Saturday, 28 January 2012
‘Going Round’ was released on a subsidiary of MCA in 1995 and featured an excellent US garage variation from UBQ, alongside a characteristically quirky MK dub. The pick of the mixes is from Dancing Divaz, who were extraordinarily prolific around this time, regularly turning in remixes for a breadth of high profile artists. The Divaz, also known as Nick Worthington and Dream Frequency’s Ian Bland, deliver a bouncy, piano-driven re-tweak which is up there with their best remixes. US vocalist D’Bora’s sophomore single arrived some twelve months after the release of ‘Going Round’, in the shape of ‘Good Love, Real Love’, itself a compelling vocal number featuring revisions from both Dudearella and Maurice Joshua.
D’Bora – Going Round (Dancing Divaz Club Mix)
Another Italian stomper of mysterious provenance, ‘And I’ll Be There’ was issued in the UK on FFRR’s commercial arm FFRREEDOM in late summer 1995. Unabashedly cheesy in its original form, the track benefited from a blistering rework care of Undiscovered label-mates LWS, who famously released the harmonica-infused ‘Gosp’ in 1994. This track might well prove insufficiently underground for some palates, but the phenomenal nature of the breakdown and attendant elongated vocal cannot be denied. ‘And I’ll Be There’ is a little-known gem that exudes the ‘fun’ of Italian commercial house, a genre which seldom took itself too seriously. Apparently, Antonomasia is a figure of speech used in rhetoric, quite how that concept relates to the track at hand is a bit of a mystery.
Antonomasia – And I’ll Be There (LWS Bitch Mix)
‘Jazzin’ the Way You Know’ marked something of a change in direction for Perfecto, a label hitherto inexorably associated with unabashed, rip-roaring trance. The original version is quite an uninteresting house affair, notable only for a distinctive Change sample. Fortuitously, Illicit were on hand to inject some much needed bounce, rendering a remake that is at once driving and massively infectious. Guaranteed to paint a smile on your face on any dance-floor, ‘Jazzin’ the Way You Know’ was elevated to classic status care of this stratosphere-cruising interpretation. Quite why this version was excised from the commercial release – appearing as it did only on promo – is befuddling, and led to rather a lot of hassle on my part at the time, in trying to track it down.
Jazzy M – Jazzin’ the Way You Know (Illicit Remix)
Perfecto Records were riding the crest of a wave in ’96 with a succession of wondrous trance-tinged releases from artists and producers such as Grace, Jelle Boufon, BT and Tilt. ‘Give Me Strength’ surfaced in the late spring as the anticipated follow-up to Jon Pleased Wimmin’s first and best-known production ‘Passion’. ‘Give Me Strength’ is a pounding number encapsulating Oakenfold’s vision for his label, and is augmented by the presence of Sister Bliss on co-production duties. Vocals come courtesy of Bliss’s label-mate Penny Shaw, whose operatic warbling graced two of my favourite Cheeky releases – ‘Give Me Life’ by Mr V and the legendary ‘Love, Love, Love’ by Rollo Goes Mystic.
Jon Pleased Wimmin – Give Me Strength (Slammin’ Mix)
The late Darryl Pandy’s humungous voice graced innumerable releases spanning three decades. His coup de grace was undoubtedly supplying the vocals for ‘Love Can’t Turn Around’ by Farley Jackmaster Funk, a surprise UK Top 10 in 1986. Following the success of that groundbreaking number, Pandy lent his unmistakable pipes to a slew of high quality releases, from ‘Sunshine and Happiness by Nerio’s Dubwork to the Rhythm Masters’ produced ‘Raise Your Hands’ by Big Room Girl. To commemorate the passing of such a legendary singer, here is one of his lesser-known tracks, his collaboration with Mr Roy, as released on the Fresh label in 1996. This single went inexplicably unnoticed yet serves as the archetypal example of the vocal range of the big man with an even bigger voice.
Mr Roy Featuring Darryl Pandy – Searching For Love (Mr Roy’s Original Mix)
Friday, 27 January 2012
It was again one of those tracks which was played by all the top DJ's and also one that seemed to stay around for ages.
A real timeless classic that drifts along yet, also really kicks at the same time.
I love it at 4mins when it raises the tempo and starts to kick further and then brings you back down again after taking you on a journey.
A really special track - timeless and a true PCC!!
Slam - Eterna
The fairly unremarkable (in my opinion) 'Bjango' was produced by Fluke, and released on Hi Life in October 1996. Way Out West transform an otherwise ploddy production into a dancefloor destroyer by employing their trademark remix skills to optimum impact. This has to be up there with the best Way Out West reworks, and that really is saying something as almost all of their remix output between 1994 and 1998 (Saint Etienne, Hannah Jones, Bel Canto, Liquid, The Tabernacle ad nauseum) were immeasurably immense. The WOW mix of 'Bjango' has certainly stood the test of time, sounding as fresh and innovative today as it some fifteen years since.
Nineteen-ninety-five was quite an incredible year for Billie Ray Martin, whose club anthem ‘Your Loving Arms’ scaled the upper echelons of both the UK and US charts, helped in no small measure by spellbinding remixes from Brothers In Rhythm, Roger Sanchez and The Grid. The follow-up singles failed to emulate their predecessor’s commercial success, yet ‘Running around Town’ and ‘Imitation of Life’ wrought similar dance-floor damage. ‘Sky High’ originated on the Italian imprint Bustin’ Loose in 1994, and was picked up some eighteenth months later by Sound of Ministry for a UK release. Unlike the ‘Deadline For My Memories’ singles, which by and large were epic and progressive in equal measure, ‘Sky High’ is a more straight-forward vocal house affair as reworked by two of the foremost exponents of the genre, namely Stonebridge and Satoshi Tomiie, respectively. Interestingly, BRM had to put out this track in a pseudonymous manner, owing to legal wrangling between the Magnet and Sound of Ministry labels. The picture is representative of some 'sky high' petrol prices, an outrage with which we can all identify.
Voices Presents Individual Featuring Billie Ray Martin (Stonebridge & Nick Nice Club Mix)