The Pick of the Week reviews for 1997.
Picks as of Sepember 21, 1997
MAW "To be in love" (MAW Records 12")
This one has gotten a rush release (thanks to the many bootleggs floating around), and it is coming under the name of MAW, not India. Lot's of stars involved in this project: Joey Lazzanzi and Vincent Montana jr. as writers, lead vocals by India, backing vocals by Lisa Fischer and Paulette McWilliams, and more.
Here we get the long awaited, nearly 13 minute long, full version with a full acapella break in the middle. It features a superb bass by Gene Perez and a of course, since Vincent Montana jr, is involved, some nice xylophones. On the flip side, we get 'Bonus Beats', a 'Masters at Work Dub' with a piano in classic Knuckles and Morales style, and finally the 'Rascal Dub'. A quality package not to be missed, two copies needed.
And don't miss my review of Inida's latest CD on the Summer Grooves Page.
Picks as of Sepember 14, 1997
Kings of Tommorrow "The Session" (GrooveOn Records 12")
GrooveOn follow their recent success with another slamming release. This Sandy Rivera production is a superb track including keyboards, guitar and bass over a slamming beat. Check out the 'Ghetto Mix' - nine minutes of pleasure.
Picks as of Sepember 7, 1997
Michael Proctor "Fall down" (SoulFuric Records 12" Test Pressing)
We can be happy this one will finally see the daylight in a few weeks 'cause it's such a great record. Around on dat and acetate since the Winter Music Conference in Miami, now the vinyl test pressings arrived. Produced by Marc Pomeroy & Brian Tappert, this is another superb UBP style anthem. Using their succesfull formula, UBP keep it warm and soft as usual. A nice guitar and sax included, you'll get a club version as well as two dub treatments. Finally, an acapella is included as well. Sure to be big all over very soon.
Amira "My desire" (Virgin/:VC: Records 12" Promo)
This is so good I have decided two records will get my 'Pick of the Week' award this time. Produced by those famous Blaze people, :VC: have picked this one up from Slip'N'Slide Records. Again, this is one records that has been big at the Winter Music Conference. Only the original mixes by Blaze (a vocal and a dub) are included. Since this two mixes are so good, no remixes are needed (but will likely be done)!
Picks as of August 31, 1997
Dimitri from Paris "Sacre francais" (EastWest Records 12" Promo)
Quite a special record (Dimitri is quite a special guy), this is not about house music, this is about real funky life music. The record kicks off with the 'Zulu B-Boy Jam', a cool funky stomper with scratches and vocal samples.The 'Bob Sinclair Paradise Mix Edit' is jazzy house interpretation. On the flip, we got 'Ready Made Happy Charm Fool Mix', a jungle version with a jazzy piano on thop. Also included are a 'Radio Edit' and 'Full Length Version' of the album track.
Picks as of August 24 1997
NuYorican Soul "Black gold of the sun" (Talkin' Loud Records 12" Test Pressing)
We've been waiting for the remixes of this one since it had been released on the box set, and this is only a taster for the full release. It includes the original vocal version from the box set (and album) as well as a brand new instrumental with the now so typical 6/4 beat by the Masters at Work. Absolutely fierce and made of the same quality the previous 12" had.
We can expect club mixes of this as well.
Picks as of August 10, 1997
Ame Strong "Tout est bleu" (Francois K. Mix)(Delabel Records 12")
Ok, this one is out for nearly two month now. You may have seen this french import in your local record store, but here in Switzerland, this record is really hard to get. Thanks to my friend Urs Diethelm, I'm one of the lucky guys to have a copy.
This is the Francois Kevorkian remix of a french sung chanson which comes in a club and a dub version. Francois only uses a few of the original vocals (mainly the refrain), but check out the mellow groove on his club version. The original french version is also included - a nice midtempo groover.
Picks as of August 3, 1997
Kim English "Learn to luv" (Mood II Swing Mixes)(HiLife Records 2x12" Promo)
I couldn't wait for this one, and here it is (at least on promo, should be released in September, I guess). It's another smashing production by Mood II Swing who also deliever the main mixes (some of the DJ's have been playing them from acetate for the past few months). This double-pack kicks of with the 'Mood II Swing Harder Vocal Mix'. It's not really hard, it just has a harder beat than on the previous Mood II Swing productions. A nice 'Hard Dub' interpretation is included as well. My favorite is the 'Mood II Swing Club Mix' for it's smoother beat and really nice keys. Finally, Tommy Musto gives us a nice 'Movin Dub' which works perfectly on the dancefloor.
By the way, HiLife Records will release some UK remixes by Nush on another double-promo, so pick up the right one (this means the Mood II Swing Mixes)!
Picks as of July 27, 1997
Byron Stingily "Flying high" (Nervous Records 2x12")
Written by 'Little' Louie Vega, Kenny 'Dope' Gonzales and Byron Stingily, produced and mixed by the Masters - this has to be massive, and it is. Ok, the Masters have been guests on my 'Pick of the Week' many times in the past, but they do deserve it - just check out the diversity they deliever in their production and remixes (you can here their backgrounds on many of their work).
Split over two 12", the first one kicks off with a solid vocal house mix of this song with a nice guitar and some beats. On the flip are some fantastic 'Brazilian Mixes' (voal and instrumental - I just don't know how to describe it - my english is just not good enough). The second 12" has two dub mixes, one including edits by Albert Cabrera (for Rascal Productions) with lots of fine keyboard work. The flip has two 'Nuyorican Mixes' (vocal and instrumental) including that nice guitar again.
Not as instant as 'Get up', but sure to be a classic in the future. This is taken from the forthcoming album 'The Purist' which will have tracks produced by the Basement Boys amongst others.
Picks as of July 20, 1997
The Family Affair "Crystal world" (Soundmen on Wax Records 12")
It's the unstoppable Lenny Fontana again hitting the spotlight whit this jazz-house stomper. Again, a beautiful sax coupled with congas, timbales, horns and bass. The a-side has the 'Classic Salsoul Mix' for the true dancefloor feeling. The b-side has the 'Just music mix' - which has only the sax and the keys. This rhythm won't go out of my mind...
Picks as of July 13, 1997
Atmosfear "Dancing in outer space" (Masters at Work Remixes)(Sushi Records 12" Test Pressing)
A classic from the late 70s (can anyone get me the original 12"?), restructured for the late 90s by those magnificent Masters at Work. The main mix stays true to the original but has these nice MAW reconstruction feeling (know what I mean?). The three other mixes included are some clever dubby variations of the original, added with some nice overdubs.
Picks as of July 6, 1997
First Choice "The player" (Minimal Records 12" Promo)
Finally out on vinyl, this is another of the much awaited hits of the Winter Music Conference which took place earlier this (in March) in Miami. Remixed by Mousse T. & Boris Dlugosch, it stays close to it's original vibe from the seventies but still has enough of todays feeling to make it a real winner. An Acappella is included as well.
Picks as of June 29, 1997
George Benson "Song for my brother" (ZAC Records 12")
OK, so I finally got this one - thanks to my friend Urs Diethelm of DJ Service Zuerich. As reported last week, ZAC Records are not allowed to export this one from Italy, but who cares? It has been exported (my friend George in New York got his copy, too) and the release on GRP Records US won't be out for a while, so get I if you can.
Like last week, this weeks pick is another fab remix production by the Masters at Work. Soulsful house with that typical George Benson guitar in two versions. On the flip is 'Baby, I'm in love', a jazzy downtempo house cut, again with George's guitar. Another piece of real music not to be missed.
Picks as of June 22, 1997
D'Influence "Hypnotize" (Masters at Work Mixes)(Echo Records 12" Promo)
What a return for D'Influence on the worldwide dancefloors with a little help by Little Louie Vega and Kenny Dope Gonzales. Two mixes - a '12" Mix' and a 'Rascal Dub' - to choose from, the first is the full vocal version with lots of nice synthies. The later is edited by Albert Cabrera (of the Latin rascals - remember?). An additional mix by Funkstarz is included as well.
Might just to be to good for the crowd...
Picks as of June 15, 1997
Yo Yo Honey "Groove on" (M&S + DJ Pierre Remixes)(Worx Records 2x12" Promo)
The DJ Pierre remixes where first out only on a dodgy white label (I'm still not sure if it was a promo or bootlegg) a few years ago. A year later, DJ Pierre released them under his name as a twin-pack on Emotive Records. So this means these mixes will be out officially for the first time under the name of Yo Yo Honey togehter with brand new mixes by M&S.
M&S give us four tastes: 'M&S Vocal', 'Reprise Mix', 'M&S Epic Dub' and 'M&S Epic Instrumental'. The bass on all mixes (live played by Richie 'Bad Boy' Ramsay) sounds like a sample of an old Talking Heads record (I can't remember the name), the rest is pure M&S style: lots of keyboards, nicely played. Already big in the clubs in London.
Picks as of June 8, 1997
Ultra Naté "Free" (Mood II Swing Mixes)(Strictly Rhyhtm / AM:PM Records 12")
So, here it is, the long awaited smash from the Winter Music Conference. Simultanly out in the US and UK, containing the same mixes, the Mood II Swing mixes are what we've all been waiting for. The main mix, the 12 minute long 'Mood II Swing Extended Vocal Mix' has been played by the top jocks for a few month now so I'm sure you know this one. On the flip, we'll get the 'Mood II Swing Dub Mix' (not included on the AM:PM Promo altough mentioned on the cover) is another example of the quality keyboard work by those Lem Springsteen and John Ciafone. Finally, there is a 'Mood II Swing Live Mix' - totally different but equally good for it's live music.
There are also some remixes by Full Intention and R.I.P. - see my review on the 12" page.
Picks as of June 1, 1997
Karen Ramirez "Troubled girl" (Bustin' Loose Records 5x12" DJ-Set)
Unbelievable - a five-pack of a record, very limited (word is of only 500 copies made) coming to us from Italy. You may have heard or read of this one in the past few month - in most cases, the artist was named Robin Grey. Also, Manifesto Records had a very limited 2x12" test-pressing around including four mixes by the Masters at Work. Now, on this five-pack, we get much more mixes to carry about.
The main contributors to this package are the Masters at Work who give us no less than six versions to choose from (english magazine Blues & Soul wrote they've done 19 versions - would you believe this?): three vocal (english, alternate and spanish) and two dubs (dub 1 and dub 2), all very similar in style. Additionally, they give us a beautiful 'Bossadub', an instrumental interpretation of the original version (also inlcluded) by SouledOut. Also included are two club mixes by Boris Dlugosch & Michael Lange as well as two mixes by Coccoluto & Martinez.
Over all, a fierce package, not to be missed.
Picks as of May 25, 1997
Blue Train "Per ulv" (R&S Records 12" Promo)
This is another incredible production by Eric Kupper following his jazz-house remixes for many artists like Groove Collective. The A-Side features the 'Kupper 12" Mix', a nearly 12 minute long jazzy adventure with housy beats. On the flip, there is a very similar 'Kupper 12" Groove Mix' with some fine rare groove beats. Finally, the 'Goate Dub' is mostly beatless but very useful. Absolutely cool.
Picks as of May 18, 1997
The Brand New Heavies "You are the universe" (FFRR Records 2 x 12" Promo)
After the fantastic MAW mixes of "Sometimes", the Heavies are back, this time with remixes by Roger S., Tuff Jam and Curtis & Moore. Roger S. gives us two uplifting house mixes, while Curtis & Moore go for a solid uk garage jam. Finally, Tuff Jam give us a nice, different garage rub. And there is already word that the official release will be a quadruple-pack with even more mixes.
Picks as of May 11, 1997
Ultra Naté "Free" (Strictly Rhythm Records 12" Test Pressing)
If you see a DJ spinning a red-vinyl record and the lady sings 'Free' - this is it! Already picked up by AM:PM Records for the European release, this may be the garage tune of the summer. Only one mix on this Test Pressing, but it's a Mood II Swing thing with lots acoustic guitars and some balearic-ish beats - another cool and fine production by those Mood II Swing guys. And it does slam on the dancefloor, believe me. Watch out for the full release on June 5th on AM:PM with other mixes by RIP Groove and Full Intention.
Picks as of May 4, 1997
KenLou V "Thru the skies" (MAW Records 12")
Not much words needed to describe this one - another all-time-production by those magnificent two Little Louie Vega and Kenny 'Dope' Gonzales aka the Masters at Work. It's a perfect combination of junglish beats with house rhythms and the terrific keyboard work of Terry Burrus. Three mixes to choose from, the 'Main Mix' is over 17 minutes long, while the 'Instrumental' is only 11 minutes (instrumental means the keyboard is missing). Some fierce 'KenLou Beats' are included as well.
This is the kind of record you'll need two copies.
Picks as of April 27, 1997
Mary J. Blige "Love is all we need" (Universal Dance Records 2x12" Promo)
Strong mixes courtesy of Boris Dlugosch, who teams up with Michael Lange on this one. Four mixes to choose from, the best one is the "D.Y.M.K. Club Mix', a smooth Garage stomper in Peppermint Jam Style. The other three mixes are on a harder, more dubby edge. Additional mixes are supplied by Mark Picchiotti who 'Needy Vocal' is a commercial housy version while his 'Faster Mary Faster Dub' is a bit to cheesy for me.
And if you're into quality R&B, check out her brand new album 'Share my world' - pure class.
Picks as of April 20, 1997
First Choice "Armed and extremely dangerous" (Minimal Records 2x12" Promo)
Oh, what kind of a remix of this seventies classic! Arthur Baker did a great job getting the rights on this one to do some remixes for the nineties. The mixes are done by Cevin Fisher, Full Intention and Black Science Orechstra. The mixes to be checked out are the ones by the Black Science Orechstra. Both the 'Black Science Restoration Vocal' and 'Black Science Restoration Instrumental' stay true to the original. They also give us a 'DJ Ds Dub Science' where they teamed up with Dominic Dawson for a 12 minute epic track - sure to be big on the dancefloor.
Picks as of April 13, 1997
Uptown Express feat. Richie Jones "Not much heaven" (Original Mixes)(Azuli Records 12" Test Pressing)
Uptown Express feat. Richie Jones "Not much heaven" (Heller & Farley Remixes)(Azuli Records 12" Test Pressing)
Richie Jones, the man who gave us Degress of Motion a few years back, returns with this brilliant Garage anthem released on one of the finest labels of this decade. The first 12" hosts the Original Mixes by Richie himself. Two different vocal versions available, its the A-Side doing the business. Strong vocals over a bumpy beat with nice keyboards, and a Dub is available too. The second 12" has the UK-flavour remixes by Heller & Farley who give us their usual style in three different mixes (vocal, dub and beats).
Picks as of April 6, 1997
NuYorican Soul "It's alright, I feel it" (MAW / Mood II Swing Mixes)(Talkin' Loud Records 2x12" Promo)
Oh yes, this are the House and Garage Mixes! The first disc holds the MAW Mixes. The 'MAW 12" Mix' is the version from the six-record-box with a new intro while the 'MAW Alternative 12"' is a re-edit of the above with some junglier beats. Finally, some 'Rascal Beats' for you to play around. The second disc holds the Mood II Swing Mixes. The 'Mood II Swing Remix' is a splendid Garage Version on a similar vibe to "Searching" but a bit more funky. The 'Mood II Swing Dub' is beautiful keyboard work while the 'Mood II Swing Nuyoremix' is a dub with accapella parts.
Togehter with the Armand Van Helden Remix (reviewed last week), this package will rock the dancefloor for sure.
Picks as of March 30, 1997
Bobby D'Ambrosio feat. Michelle Weeks "Moment of my life" (Definity Records Test Pressing 12")
This is the first release for Def Mix Productions custom label Definity. And what a way to start with! A cover of the old Inner Life classic coming to you in four mixes. The 'Classic Club Mix' stays close to the original, but has the 90's groove. The 'Classic Dub Mix' is a true example of great studio work - typical Def Mix keyboard work. The 'Family Mix' is my favorite - nearly 12 minute long, it's the one for the dancefloor. Finally, there is a 'Family Edit'. Should be out on April 2 - get two copies!
Picks as of March 23, 1997
Next Phase feat. Helen Brunner & Terry Jones "My desire" (SubUrban Records 12")
SubUrban return with a vocal anthem produced by Tommy Musto. No new formula, but a strong song with nice vocals in four perfect mixes. Already getting lots of response on the dancefloors.
Picks as of March 16, 1997
Mute - Find the way (Liquid Vibes Records 12" Acetate)
Liquid Music is getting stronger with each release, so be prepared for this one - it will cause earthquakes on the dancefloors all over the world! It's gonna be released on Liquid Vibes, a new label concentrating on more track-orientated material.
Two mixes are finished so far, and they are slamming. Both have a deep, funky bassline. But wait until you hear the groundbreaking 'Dub Mix' - pure madness for your dancefloor: there is a Jungle-Break and it does work beautifully on the dancefloor - the reaction by the crowd is overhelming. This is gonna be the next winner coming to you courtesy of Oliver Stumm.
Don't ask your record dealer for this one - it's not available yet (it's gonna be released in about six weeks).
Picks as of March 9, 1997
Kim English "Supernatural" (Mousse T. Mixes)(HiLife Records 12" Promo)
What a return for Kim English! A gret song getting massive remixes by Mousse T. Four mixes to chooose from, all in Mousse T. own funky style. Pure class from HiLife who are promising some more mixes.
Picks as of March 2, 1997
The Brand New Heavies "Sometimes" (FFRR Records 2x12" Promo)
The Heavies are back on the dancefloor with this slamming Double-Pack full of mixes by the incredible Masters at Work. The Masters give us six mixes to choose from. Record 1 comes in two different vocal Mixes. Side A has the main 'MAW 12" Mix' with a nice break while Side B hosts a shorter 'Smooth Mix'. On Record 2, we get four different tastes of Dub mixes to choose. Side A kicks of with the 'Trippin Dub' followed by the 'Bouncin Dub', both full of nice keyboard work. On Side B, there is a fantastic 'NuYoricans meet the Heavies', and yes, this already says what we get: pure quality music! The 'Instrumental Groove' closes this splendid Double-Pack well worth looking for.
Like in the past, to choose the Masters at Work for remix duties of a Heavies song gives us some fierce and quality music - and thats all I'm asking for.
Picks as of February 23, 1997
Urban Blues Project presents Jay Williams "Testify" (Soulfuric Records 2x12")
Hope you didn't buy the bootlegg 'cause here it is: the official Double-Pack full of slamming mixes. This one was worth the wait: just check out who has done the mixes: UBP himself, man of the moment Mousse T. and as a bonus our own swiss DJ Aston Martinez! UBP's 'Classic Mix' and 'Classic Dub' is what it says: soulful house with lots of piano and saxophone (if you loved Michael Proctors 'Love don't live' you'll be freaking for these mixes). Their 'Sunday Vocal' and 'Sunday Dub' are on a different groove, and for the 'real funky affair' check out Mousse T. 'Test-A-Dub' and 'Test-A-Beats'. Aston Martinez completes the package with his 'Dub-Solution Mix'.
There is still word of a second Double-Pack including Roger S. Mixes and maybe the unreleased vocal mixes by Mousse T. and Aston Martinez.
Picks as of February 16, 1997
Connie Harvey "Make sweet music" (Eightball Records 12")
The first classy garage track from Eightball for a long, long time. Written by Connie Harvey, the music is by Eric Kupper for his Histeria Productions. Classy means it sounds like the early DefMix sound with lots of pianos, but Eric makes this one sound fresh. Four mixes including an Accapella to choose from this one is a winner.
Picks as of February 9, 1997
GU & Cei-Bei "House music will never die" (Cajual Records 12")
Perfect title (see my note above) - and a beautiful song. The standout cut is 'C.V.O.s Bismark Hotel Mix' featuring a live guitar by Stevie Israel over a classy, deep house beat. Cei-Bei aka Curtis Harman delivers the vocals expressing his (and our) deepest wish. Check out the other mixes too - Mark Grant does a more discoish job while Glenn (Underground aka GU) gives us a splendid 'Afro Dub'.
Picks as of February 2, 1997
Simply Red "Money's too tight to mention" (Remixes)(EastWest 2x12" Promo)
Remixed by Fire Island, this classic from 1985 comes to you in a variety of mixes. The 'Fire Island Vox', a nearly 11 minute long workout, kicks off this double-pack nicely in typical Fire Island style. The 'Fire Island Dub' uses all the vocals over a afro-beat, while the 'Afro Centric Dub' is the same without the vocals. The 'Rinsed Roach Vox' is an alternative vocal mix. An Accapaella is inclucded, too.
Picks as of January 26, 1997
Me'Shell Ndegéocello "Who is he and what is he to you" (Maverick Records 2x12" Promo)
Out only on German release so far, this Double-Pack features two housy mixes by Danny Tenaglia on Disc 2. Both 'DT NYDC Mix' and 'DG Pleasure Dub' are long workouts for the dancefloor of a beautiful song.
Picks as of January 19, 1997
Nu Yorican Soul "Runaway" (Talkin' Loud Records 2x12")
That's the one we've been all waiting for - a Double-Pack of classy mixes sure to rock every dancefloor. Armand van Helden gives us an 11 minute 'Mongoloids in Space Mix' in his ultimate phunky style with lots of fantastic breaks - a true follow up to his own 'Phunk phenomena' and his remix of 'Professional widow' (the Tori Amos track). Mousse T. gets the honors for his 'Jazz Funk Experience ' and 'Soul Dub' for a true Garage-vibe. The Masters at Work stay close to the original Salsoul-vibe with their 'Original Flava 12"' and 'Ronnies Guitar Instrumental'. The 'Philly Beats' and 'Indias Ambient Dream' round this package up. There is also an Accapella available on a very limited 10".
Picks as of January 12, 1997
House Foundation feat. Butch Quick "Feel it in my soul" (King Street Sound 12")
This one has been around on very limited pressings in Japan before it has been picked up by Kin Street Sounds. It's a welcome comeback for Butch Quick on this 12" which comes in fabulous Deep Zone mixes.Uplifting garage mixes together with Butch's vocals - a sure winner.