Picks of the Week
Boulevard featuring Kristin Berardi "Free your mind" (Phuture Sole Records CD Promo)
It has been quiet around Phuture Sole Records for some time, but with "Free your mind" they return with a big bang (to be released in early 2006). Produced by Andrew Whitehouse and David Prescott, this wonderful song features an outstanding vocal performance by Kristin Berardi, and it comes in a pleasant variety of offerings. The original version is on a mellow, almost chill-out tip, spreading a laidback feeling through the smooth groove, sweet percussion, warm laminar keys and jazzy brass. Todd Gardner provides the 'Certified Organik Mix' which is a wonderful interpretation giving the song a soulful garage outfit that is creating an uplifting vibe, while DJ Freestyle (aka Colin Russell) reworks the song into a deeply rumblin' and groovy affair that keeps the laidback vibe of the original alive. A song to stay in your mind for a long time coming.
Selan "Gravity" (Vega Records 12")
After the magnificent "Unconditional love" on Wonderwax Records released earlier year, Selan returns with the self produced "Gravity" that got helping hands from Kenny 'Dope' Gonzales and 'Little' Louie Vega giving it the right touch for the dancefloors. The main version is a cool garage track with melodic keys and gorgeous vocals over truly groovin' beats, while the 'Roots Dub' is taking it way deeper with a dubby bassline, warm chords and vocoded vocal snippets.
Diviniti "Life for the night" (Women on Wax Records 12")
Diviniti and Pirahnahead team up on "Life for the night" for a splendid slice of mellow garage soul. Their vocal version is on a funky tip thanks to the superb bassline, enriched with warm keys and sublime harmonies all layered behind an emotional vocal excursion from Diviniti. The short dub features a great dubbed-out break in the middle. DJ Spinna is reponsible for the remix, keeping the soulful feeling and emotions from the original alive while firing things up with retooled drums and bassline and additional keys.
Raw Silk "Do it to the music" (Blaze Remix)(WestEnd Records CD Promo)
Right now being offered as "Download only" at the WestEnd website, these Blaze remixes are stimulating the discussion in the dance music scene whether a classic should be reworked in any way or if it should stay untouched. In this case, Blaze solely used the vocals and the unmistakable keyboard line from the original and added a percussion driven backing music that gives the track a refreshing vibe. This way, the unique feeling of the original is not completely preserved, however there is the Masters Work interpretation on the "25th Anniversary Edition" vinyl package for those who prefer a subtle reworking of the original. To stay with the Blaze remixes, they might no appeal to everyone, but isn't this the case with music in general?
DJ Genesis featuring Darnell Kendricks "Willing" (WestEnd Records 12")
"Willing" is produced by Detroit based DJ Genesis, and without a doubt she delivers one of the years picks when it comes to soulful house featuring a passionate vocal performance by Darnell Kendricks. Her original is a delightful deep house gem with jazzy keys over a laidback groove that is getting reworked by Ian Friday who gives it a fuller, bounced up sounding. DJ Minx gives it a twist on her deep and dreamy take that features a true Motor City sound on a techy edge, with the analogue elements shining through.
One Touch featuring Sharlene Hector "Live your life" (Purple Music Records CD Promo)
After the success of "Ready", One Touch (aka Roberto De Carlo & Mirco Esposito) present the follow up "Live your life" for Purple Music featuring singer Sharlene Hector. This is an uplifting production featuring a soulful and inspiring vocal performanced by Sharlene Hector over a thumpin' percussion enhanced house groove that comes complete with a lovely instrumentation including funky bassline, warm melodic keys, great horns and funky guitar solo. The dub intensifies the funky flavors, while Benny Pecoraio gives it a bouncy feeling on his take with the funky vibes kept intact.
Ralf Gum & Mia Taylor "Ordinary girl" (ProgCity Deep Records CD Promo)
Released originally in july of this year, but as it did not get the recognition it deserves (even yours truly missed on it), a re-release is scheduled for the beginning of next year. Produced by Ralf Gum, "Ordinary girl" is an organic production driven by an almost broken beat groove and a funky bassline that serve as playground for the soulful voice of Mia Taylor and the melodic keys. On the dub, Ralf Gum is giving it a deeper feeling, while Joyce & Paxon come up with a groovy dub that keeps it soulful. Finally there is the 'Karol XVII Remix', a pumped up affair for the bigger floors.
FM Groove featuring Dee Holloway "Say it" (Look-At-You Records CD Promo)
"Say it" has originally been released almost two years ago, now this great production returns on Look-At-You Records. "Say it" is an uplifting production featuring the sweet and soulful voice of Dee Holloway, together with a great instrumentation including melodic keys and a deeply stomping groove. The dub version takes the song on an underground ride featruing an irresistible groove and spaced out keys. The Layabouts provide a brand new interpretation that is fired up with a pumping groove, laminar keys and lovely guitar, making this a peaktime priority.
Runner-Up: Groove Junkies featuring Solara "Just groovin'" (OM Records CD Promo)
The Groove Junkies return with a track that must be considered their strongest production to date. "Just groovin'" features the passionate and sexy voice of singer Solara over a funkily groovin' backing track that is nothing than absolutely irresistible. Featuring a jazzed-out saxophone, killer bassline and wicked guitar, "Just groovin'" is guaranteed to drive the dancefloors crazy in the 'Main Room Madness Mix' that is a drivin' and pumped up affair. The 'Classic Roots Mix' is a more relaxed affair, sweetening down the groove while not loosing the resistlessness.
Bobby Valentino "Slow down" (Spellband Remix) / Amerie "1 thing" (Karizma Remix)(Rotgut Records 12")
Rotgut Records delivering a phat two tracker of reworked r&b tunes for the dancefloors. First is Bobby Valentino's "Slow down" reworked by Spellband who add stompin' beats and electronic keys to it that give the result a driving feeling. The flipside features a Karizma take on "1 thing" by Amerie that underlines the feeling of the original with an added 4/4 house groove and extra percussion.
Alexander O'Neal & Cherelle "Saturday love" (Tabu Records 12", 1985)
Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis with one of their best productions ever, featuring the wonderful voices of Alexander O'Neal and Cherelle.