The Pick of the Week reviews for 1998.
December 27, 1998
Luther Vandross "Are you using me" (MAW Remixes)(Virgin Records 12" Promo)
Mutiny feat. Mary Joy "Bliss" (Remixes)(Sunflower Records 2x12" Promo)
Now this is a real delight for christmas (I got the records on christmas day). Virgin Records finally released a full promo of that sensational "Are you using me" by Luther Vandross wich is produced and mixed by "Little" Louie Vega and Kenny "Dope" Gonzales. Soulful house music here in its full 8:22 minutes 12" mix coupled with an 'BGV A capella' (this is actually the background voices acapella), a radio edit, an instrumental and an beatapella. On the other hand, we have the remixes of "Bliss" which are handled by the Louie & Kenny as well as Rhythm Doctor. The vocal by the Masters has both a nice piano and sax while their vocal dub takes it deep into the clubs. It's up to the Rhythm Doctor to give us the more percussive treatment. And finally, the original is included too.
December 20, 1998
4 Hero "Escape that" (Ron Trent Mixes)(Talkin' Loud Records 2x12" Promo)
4 Hero again get the house remix treatment, this time by one half of USG, Ron Trent. Smooth and soulful grooves with a jazz piano, on the percussive tip. What would we've done this year without Ron Trent and his soulful sounds?
December 13, 1998
Modaji "End Zones" (Laws of Motion Records 12")
Another example of high quality house music coming from the UK (just think of the stuff being released on People Records, Sole Music Records, and of course this label...). 'End Zones' is a spheric and moody deep house track. 'Locura quieta' is moody deep house track with a real cool jazzy piano, and that sax is driving me crazy...
December 6, 1998
Black Jazz Chronicles "Tribe" (NuPhonic Records 12")
Ashley Beedle once again, here together with Marc Woolford, delievering an infectous groove four your mind, body and soul.
November 29, 1998
Jephté Guillaume "Vodou EP Dubbs - Part One" (Spiritual Life Music Records 12" Promo)
Cosmic Rituals "Come inside the Loft" (The Alternate Demo Takes")(Spiritual Life Music Records 12" Promo)
These records should be available to everybody and not only to a few lucky people, but this is politics of a record label... The first one has unreleased versions of "Lakou-A" - an 'Alternate Bass Dub', "The Prayer" - a strings version and an acroostramental and "Voyage of Drums". The second has two new versions of "Come inside the Loft", one with a nice piano, the other on the percussive tip.
November 22, 1998
Black Masses "Wonderful Person" (MAW Records 12" Promo)
When I heard this for the first time on october 9th, I knew I had to get the promo. And after many weeks of search, I succeeded. Licensed from Tom Tom Records (a UK label), "Littlle" Louie Vega and Kenny "Dope" Gonzales remixed this into a real club stormer. Both the vocal and the dub build it up nicely and will catch you immediately. Two copies needed.
November 15, 1998
Sub City feat. Kathy Brown "Joy" (Definity Records 2x12" Promo)
Being played by David Morales for many month already, now finally available on promo vinyl with lots of excellent mixes. The 'Morales Classic Club Mix' kicks off the package with that classic DEF-Mix sound using those nice piano lines toped with the beautiful vocals by Kathy Brown and a fine background choir, and not to be missed is the dubby middle of the mix. The 'Morales Demo Mix' is very similar but uses less vocals and has no dubby part. Also on the first disc is the 'M&S UK Dub' with a driving beat. Disc two has funked up mixes by BMR (Boris Dlugosch and Michael Lange) and a tribal house version by Lord G.
November 8, 1998
Frankie Feliciano "The real deal" (NiteGroove Records 12" Test Pressing)
One of the upcoming producers follows up the success of Innervision (didn't Frankie do an absolutely oustanding remix?) with a 12" release of his own. This track takes on where Gigolo Supreme left. The main 'Ricanstruction Mix' is a long ride with all the elements needed to make you go banana. On the flip, you get a 'Saxapella' and 'Just a Groove' to play around on your desks.
November 1, 1998
Blue 6 "Sweeter Love" (Wave Records 12")
Jay Denes (for Naked Music NYC) and L.T. (responsable for the female vocals) are behind this simply beautiful, laidback groover. Jay does a really smooth vocal while his dub gets more moody. Matthias 'Matty' Heilbronn is behind the remixes. He adds a kicking fender bass to get this a really kicking beat.
October 25, 1998
Tony Allen "Ariya" (Comet Records 12")
Obscure and very interesting record coming from France. This stands out of the many african house records put out in the last few weeks since its quite special. The 'Psychedelic Juju Mix' is exactly what the title says for its weird keys while the 'Afrobeat Straight Mix' keeps on the groove to ride.
Just look for a cover with three giraffe at your record store, and you got the record.
October 18, 1998
Ja'Shay "Shout Hallelujah" (Flatline Records 2x12")
Some of you may remember this from the Winter Music Conference in Miami earlier this year (to be exact in March), now it's finally available for everyone. The original mix kicks this package off with its piano driven New Jersey style garage followed by an acapella. The Backroom Boys deliever a variety of dubs to choose from with slamming grooves. Tommy Musto gives it the SubUrban style of garage. Finally, there is the 'Steves Funk Club' with an irresistible groove.
October 11, 1998
Kenny Lattimore "Days like this" (Masters at Work Remixes)(Columbia Records 12" Promo)
US r&b singer Kenny Lattimore gets the remix treatment by none other than Kenny 'Dope' Gonzales and 'Little' Louie Vega (the Masters at Work). Unfortunately, Columbia decided not to release these mixes on vinyl (you can get them only on CD single or on bootlegg). The 'Lattimaw Soul House Mix' is, as the name says, a soulful take on house music while the 'NuYorican Soul Mix' perfectly plays around with the beats.
October 4, 1998
Stetsasonic "Talkin' all that Jazz" (Dimitri from Paris Remixes)(Tommy Boy Records 2x12" Promo)
Taken from the forthcoming album Tommy Boy's Greatest Beats (a 4 CD set), this double pack features new mixes by Dimitri from Paris among the classic original version from 1988.
Dimitri takes this jazzy hip-hop classic into serious jazz-house territory while making use of the classic trademarks of this song. On the 'Dims Respect for the Old School' he adds a smooth house beat. The 'Live Dubstrumental' adds some serious percussive elements while the 'Tortis Old School of Edits Dub' adds lots of edits. The 'Clap-A-Pella' and 'Tortis Bonus Breaks and Edits' round of this package.
September 27, 1998
Jephté Guillaume "Voyage of Dreams" (Chrysalis Records/Spiritual Life Music Triple-Album)
As you might know, Jephté Guillaume is from Haiti, and this album is a mixture of haitian-african music and the body'n'soul style of hous music. I won't loose much words here - you gotta check this out for yourself to hear the spirit and inspiratin that you can find all through the album.
The only problem might be that it comes from France - so it might be a bit expensive.
September 20, 1998
Shawn Benson "River of Love" (expressed by Charles Dockins)(FattBoy Records 12")
Baltimore Soul Tree feat. Sandee "Hope in your Soul" (Charles Dockins Remixes)(Velocity Records 12" Test Pressing)
You might be surprised to see two singles as pick of the week, but if you're into garage music, you know that Charles Dockins is behind lots of quality productions and remixes. Both those 12" had previously been released and got the remix treatment by Charles Dockins to get further success. As usual, he gives us that uplifting and spiritual feeling on his vocal versions coupled with his dub expressions.
"Hold your head up to the Sky" (as Sandee sings on "Hope in your Soul" which is produced by DJ Oji, another man to watch out for in the future).
September 13, 1998
Kim English "Missing You" (Nervous Records 12")
One, it not the favorite track of her album for many, finally released on vinyl. Frankie Feliciano delievers the main two mixes. Both his 'Ricanstruction Mix' and 'Broken Arms Remix' are smooth and full of soulful vocals in a garagey way, the later adding a more serious club beat. The flip side has a pumping UK-style garage dub. And as a bonus, there is a progressive remix of 'Tomorrow' included.
September 6, 1998
Gerald Levert "Thinkin' bout it" (Blaze Remixes)(EastWest Records 12")
What a surprise to see a soul singer from a major label getting the remix treatment by Blaze (normally they opt for the likes of Tony Moran, Victor Calderone and so on...), but for once, they've choosen remixes that won't sell that much but are of a much higher musical quality. On the a-side, there are the r&b radio remixes while we get the Blaze mixes on the flip. The tracks matches perfectly the vocals of Gerald, so if you don't know that this is an r&b track in its original, you could think this is another outstanding Blaze production.
August 30, 1998
Ali "Feelin' You" (Mood II Swing Mixes)(Wildcard Records 2x12" Promo)
The mixes to be checked are the ones by Mood II Swing. Already hammered by the big names in the scene from dubplate or acetate, this is set for big things. Smooth and soulful club music to take you into dreamland.
August 23, 1998
Cesario Evora "Sangue de Beirona" (Wave Records 2x12" Test Pressing)
Licensed from BMG France, this now gets new remixes by Francois K. and Joe Claussell. The new mixes are full of that Body & Soul spirit with lots of percussion, and they are very organic, not that house thing you might expect. But you shouldn't miss this one when it's gonna be out in early september.
August 16, 1998
Grooverider "Rainbows of Colour" (Masters at Work Remix)(HigherGround/Sony Records 12" Promo)
The Masters have been busy recently - lots of remixes and productions. And on all of them, they were on top of their game. Now this is rather a surprise since Grooverider are a junglist outfit, but the result is outstanding. As usual, Louie and Kenny play around with the beats, and they save some of that original drum'n'bass feeling on the beats, and there's a killer jazzy sax. Two mixes to choose, a full vocal and a dub version, both ten minutes long journeys into music where the dub takes it deeper into clubland with its added keys.
August 9, 1998
N'deshea "City got Soul" (HipBone Records 12")
One of my fave labels at the moment, and they just put out another monster production with killer remixes. Four mixes are included to choose from. Dennis Martin & Ray Grappone take it into jazzfunk land while Julius Papp & Dave Warrin, Vicky Bell & Adam Scott and Richard Les Crees each deliever a jazz influenced reproduction.
August 2, 1998
Ultra Naté "New Kind of Medicine" (Tiefschwarz Remix)(Stricly Rhythm Records Germany 12" Promo)
Everyone that heard these remixes by Tiefschwarz is trying to get his hand on it. Tiefschwarz are the hottest remixers of Germany at this time and are getting more attention then Mousse T., Boris Dlugosch and everybody else in the German house music scene.
This is the strongest remix they've done so far. Absolutely brilliant rework of this beautiful song (of all the other mixes available it's the extend version getting my attention) in a true smooth but still housy and funky enough to make your crowd go mad.
You'll get vocal, insrtrumental, dub and acapella mixes. To make this record the perfect 12", that excellent extended version by Albert Cabrera is included as well.
July 26, 1998
E-Smoove feat. Latanza Waters "Déjà vu" (E-Smoove Mixes)(Nervous Records 12"/AM:PM Records 12" Promo)
E-Smoove feat. Latanza Waters "Déjé vu" ( MJ Cole Remixes)(AM:PM Records 12" Promo)
What a return for E-Smoove on the dance scene. Featuring Latanza Waters on vocals, he produced a funky club groover which will instantly catch you with it's vibe. The US release on Nervous has two vocal and two dub versions, all very catchy and funky. On the AM:PM release, we get the smoother original version along with speed garage remixes by MJ Cole. His vocal mix is a nice grooving affair while on the dub, he heads for the drum'n'bass style bass.
July 19, 1998
Joe Claussell presents Cosmic Ritual "Come Inside (the Loft)" (Spiritual Life Records 12")
I won't loose much words on this, it's another one of Joaquin Joe Claussell's brilliant productions of real music. Get it.
July 12, 1998
Monday Michuru "Sunshine after the rain" (Polydor Records 12" Promo)
All of us having the poor quality pressing of her "Mermaid EP" on vinyl will be looking forward to the release of this 12" single. It only includes one song from the EP, but since we get those absolutely massive Masters at Work mixes, this is no lost.
A total of six mixes to choose from, it's the twelve minute plus vocal version featuring Eddie Stockley, Kenny Bobien and more on backing vocals kicking in full effect. But the two dub mixes and the instrumental among the bonus beats and acapella should not be missed either.
And don't miss the "Mermaid EP" which is out now on Polydor Records on CD.
July 5, 1998
4 Hero "Star Chasers2" (MAW Remixes)(Talkin' Loud Records 2x12" Promo)
After a month of research, I finally could get a copy of this. 4 Hero, a drum'n'bass act, get the remix treatment by NuYorican Soul/Masters at Work. As usual, Kenny "Dope" Gonzales and "Little" Louie Vega do a wonderful job on a already beautiful song. Let the music speak for itself.
June 28, 1998
Abstract Afro Lounge (NiteGroove Records 2x12")
Including seven unreleased mixes, this is a showcase of the afro house movement of the moment. Included are lots of quality remixes by todays hottest names like Blaze, Joe Claussell, Francois K., Idjut Boys and more.
Take for example the fantastic 'Joes Real Rhythmental Mix' of "Koté Moun Yo" by DJ Hiro featuring Masabumi Kickuchi, a fantastic new interpretation of this recently released double 12". Or "Seasons of Love" by Blaze or "Blow up" by Shiji Takeda in a new Blaze dub. And there is much more...
June 21, 1998
Kerri Chandler "The Mood EP" (Nervous Records 12")
It's time to give Kerri the place he deserves after so many slamming releases this year. Yet again, he delievers four tracks with laidback grooves and a jazzy edge. Check out 'Union City Nights' which is on the jazzy side or 'Rain' which is a moody underground thing or.. - Stop! You gotta find out for yourself!!!
June 14, 1998
Charles Dockins feat. Sheila Ford "It's alright" (Velocity Records 12" Test Pressing)
Charles Dockins feat. Sheila Ford "The Journey" (Slip'N'Slide Records 12" Test Pressing)
Finally, I could get a copy of "It's alright" which has been licensed by Slip'N'Slide Records for full release. It's a hands-on garage record. But before this one gets released, there will be "The Journey" which is more soulful and featuring a killer saxophone. Also included on that 12" is the midtempo groover "Great day".
The album is expected to be released in September.
June 7, 1998
Ruffneck featuring Yavahn "Baby You" (MAW Records 2x12" Promo)
Produced by Josh Milan (of Blaze), Dwayne "Spen" Richardson, Derek A. Jenkins and Stephen Wilson (Backroom Productions), this is the sort of club record that won't go away for a while. The track is a soulful affair coming in its original mixes on the a-side. The b-side has the Masters at Work remixes, with a tuff reworking of the drums (especially on the 'Rascal Dubb'). Harry "Choo-Choo" Romero gives it a tough dub and bonus beats on the c-side while on the d-side DJ Pierre does 'The Dons Dub' sounding very similiar to 'The Horn Song'.
May 31, 1998
Mad Styles and Crazy Visions (BBE Records Quadruple Album)
Subtilted "90's Disco Movement", this is a truly outstanding compilation album (also on triple CD with one mixed and two unmixed CDs). Compiled by Little 'Louie' Vega, this is a showcase of the pearls of 90's disco movement. Included are such gems as the Mousse T. remix of First Choice 'The player', the MAW remix of Atmosfear 'Dancing in outer space', Abstract Truth 'We had a thing', The Songstress 'See Line Woman', Blaze 'My Beat', Faze Action 'Original Disco Motion' and much more (there is a total of 16 tracks).
May 24, 1998
Voices of Life "The word is Love" (Frankie Feliciano Remix)(ClubTools Records 12")
Many of you were looking for this one, and surprisingly it is released on a german label. These Frankie Feliciano mixes are on a smooth NYC vibe with a fine funky bass. Also included are unreleased mixed by Kelly G (Bump'N'Love Mix) and Mousse T. (For the Heads Instrumental).
May 17, 1998
Ten City "Dub Life Volume 1" (Ibadan Records 12")
Another cool body & soul 12" for the real connaisseur. This time, we get an EP with four so far unreleased dub versions by Joe Claussell of 'Suspicious', 'Nothings changed', 'My peace of heaven' and 'All loved out'. OK. some of them have been released before, but only as limited edition promo copies.
May 10, 1998
Janet Jackson "Go Deep" (Masters at Work Remixes)(Virgin UK Records 2x12" Promo)
People, am I proud getting this as one of the first persons here in Switzerland. Everyone has been talking about this for weeks (some for months) and it has absolutely being worth the hype! The Masters at Work delievers these absolutely phenomenal mixes. Kenny 'Dope' Gonzales plays around with the drums as you can expect from a hip-hop expert. The main mixes include a solid beat added by a flute and guitar. The 11 minute 'Spiritual Flute Mix' is an instrumental version built around that flute which never gets boring. Also included are an alternate vocal and a vocal disco dub with different beats and drums.
With even more mixes to expect (at least there will be some downtempo mixes) this is set to explode all over the world on the dancefloors.
May 3, 1998
Underground Dwellers presents Ja'Nel "I'm a queen" (Yellorange Records 12" Promo)
What a way to kick off a new label! Tony Humphries has got a beauty for the first release on his own label. Shaheer Williams delievers a pumping, piano driven dub followed by Lenny Fontana's garage mix which adds a nice sax at the end. On the flip, the Pound Boys take it clubwise with their driving version. Finally, we get the original version by Underground Dwellers.
April 26, 1998
Scott Grooves feat. Roy Ayers "Expansions" (Soma Records 12")
Scott Grooves feat. Roy Ayers "Expansions" (Remixes)(Soma Records 12")
This old Lonnie Listen Smith classic was housed up several times before, but this is by far the best reinterpretation to date. With Roy Ayers on vibes and vocals, this is full of soul and vibes. The first 12" has a fantastic 'Conga Reprise Mix' on the flip side. The second 12" has the remixes. First, Joe Claussell takes it into Body & Soul land with his instrumental interpretation adding a jazzy piano. The Ballistic Brothers do a funky Jazz-Fusion remix which is set to kick your butts.
April 19, 1998
Terry Callier "Love theme from Spartacus" (Talkin' Loud Records 12" Promo)
Talkin' Loud Records once again set the standard for top quality house music. Was it the 4 Hero Remix of NuYorican Soul "Black gold of the sun" last year, it's now the Roy Davis Jnr. Remix of "Love them from Spartacus" by Terry Callier, a guy that releases his first album for 15 years a month ago.
Roy Davis Jnr. gives us the spirit of soul music spread over 8 minutes. This is not the record to make your crowd go crazy, it is for the real music connaisseur since it's a smooth and tasty house music excursion. On the flip side, we get a remix by Peven Everett who does a fine remix too, also on the smooth and jazzy tip.
April 5, 1998
Ultra Naté "Found a cure" (Remixes)(AM:PM Records 2x12" Promo)
Don't know why this is entitled 'Remixes', it's just the double-promo including all mixes. Produced by Mood II Swing, this will doubtless be another club hit. Inlucuded are the 'Mood II Swing Original Vocal Mix' which uses a heavy guitar. On the 'Mood II Swing Underground Mix', Lem Springsteen & John Ciafone give us a true smooth club version. Finally, there is a 'Mood II Rascal Dub' in a Drum'N'Bass style. Erick 'More' Morillo delievers a smooth 'Classic String Mix', a smoooth 'Morillo Classic Adventure' along a harder 'Morillo Swings with the Constipated Monkeys'. Finally, there are the UK remixes by Full Intention (both a club and dub version) which use the MIIS bass. Quality package.
March 29, 1998
AM:PM W.M.C. '98 (AM:PM Records 2x12" Promo)
The Winter Music Conference '98 is over only for a few days now, and AM:PM is presenting an awesome samplerof their upcoming releases. It kicks off with the Soul Solution produced Reel Soul feat. Carolyn Harding "Let it rain", a sure club hit. It is followed by Joey Negro feat. Carolyn Harding "Movin' on", mixed by Joey Negro himself in UK style. This is followed by Soul Station "One good reason" remixed by K-Klass, and it's a commercial progressive UK house remix. Debbie Pender "Movin' on" remixed by Full Intention is next. This song has been picked up from Azuli Records and will get more remixes before it gets released. Also featured is Ladysmith Black Mambazo which has already been promoed on 12" (see 12" reviews for details).
The winner cuts are an unreleases mix of Voices of Life "The word is love" by Steve 'Silk' Hurley which is the so long missed instrumental version. The package closes with the 'Roachin' Da Bassbin Mix' of Ann Nesby "Witness". This mix is courtesy of Pete Heller & Terry Farley in their trademark dramatic house style.