mercredi 29 avril 2009

Yaki-Da "I Saw You Dancing" - 1995

Yaki-Da was a girl group dreamed up by Ace of Base member and producer Jonas "Joker" Berggren. And they were awful. I mean, what does Yaki-Da mean already? What is that squiggle logo after their name and why does it feature so heavily in their videos if no-one can understand it? Did a blind person design that cover? We will never know. All the signs indicated that, after the cod-reggae codswallop of Ace of Base, Yaki-Da were destined to be pants.

However, as time has proved over and over again, crap music sells. Often, the crappier it is the more people like it (see Ace of Base). And thus Yaki-Da were thrust upon America with their début single "I Saw You Dancing", the audio equivalent of retsina-smelling vomit, accompanied by a dire video and terrible lyrics such as "Just look into my eyes / And I'll take you to paradise" or "Say Yaki-Da my love". Frankly, if my love said Yaki-Da I'd take him for a brain scan.

Here's the original video so you can see and hear for yourself. Perhaps it had Mediterranean camp sites slow-dancing all summer, but I doubt that many wiggled to it outside of Sweden.

Terrible, and definitely not club fodder, so Polygram decided to have it remixed by wunderkind of the time Armand Van Helden. And the incredible happened. He managed to turn it into something of pounding, glistening beauty. Ditching everything - thank God - except the 'I' of the title (because otherwise the label would have had a fit) and the line "I'll never be the same again" (quite true in this case), it's still my favourite ever Armand Van Helden remix, and I was lucky enough to be able to tell him so when interpreting for him in Paris years ago. He was already very slick and sure of himself back then, and although I don't like his recent material at all, this still gives me shivers down my spine when I listen to it (and brings back memories of amazing nights out).

I Saw You Dancing reached 54 on the Billboard hot 100, a fittingly lukewarm performance. The group released a few more singles, even a second album. Shite. All of it. But at least they gave us the greatest Armand remix of all time, and for that I am eternally grateful.

You can download
Yaki Da "I Saw You Dancing (Armand's Serial Killa mix)"

here (17MB AAC file)

BUT still available to buy here and on iTunes

dimanche 26 avril 2009

Adele Bertei - Zami Girl (1994)

For years I though this track was by Zami Girl. Zami Girl is actually the title. Poor Adele Bertei didn't even get a credit on the cover. But then this is quite a strange track...

Bertei (I have now learned) had a moderately successful career in the 80s as a sort of Madonna copy, recording with Jellybean (even appearing on Top of the Pops here) and having a bit part in Desperately Seeking Susan! Other bubblegum efforts were released with help from Thomas Dolby and Scritti Politti (here).

But Adele had a darker, more political side and in 1994 this expressed itself through Zami Girl. With its delightful refrain of "Ballbreaker. Dyke. Bitch", E-Zee Posse-style raggamuffin delivery and lyrics exhorting lesbians everywhere to reappropriate the insults hurled at them, it's hard to believe that anyone thought it would be a hit. However, it was produced by the same team as RuPaul's Supermodel, which probably explains how the track came to receive pretty damn fine remixes from Johnny Vicious - at the top of his game - and Junior Vasquez.

This was a time when BPMs were nearer 118 than 130 and although the track has been mostly forgotten (the CD isn't even on Discogs), stumbling across it again was a pleasure. Still not convinced by that mock-Jamaican accent though...

You can download Adele Bertei "Zami Girl" (51MB) here

mardi 21 avril 2009

Pia Zadora - Heartbeat of Love (C&C mixes) - 1989

I always thought that Pia Zadora was Italian. In fact she was born to Italina/Polish parents in Hoboken, New Jersey in 1954. After a rather up and down acting career (i.e. she wasn't very good) she moved on singing, where she was more readily accepted, by the masses at least.

She was 35 in 1989 when even the singing career seemed to be faltering. Heartbeat of Love was one of her last singles (check out"Dance Out of my Head" here too, it's rather good) and she's all but disappeared for the last decade. In 2000 she looked like this, so perhaps staying hidden for a while would be a good idea?

Before disappearing, she did give us Heartbeat of Love, a distinctly average song that some bright spark at CBS thought should be remixed by Clivilles & Cole, and frankly why not? If anyone could shine this turd, they could. Their Freestyle mix is 'heavily inspired' by Yellow Magic Orchestra, and the house mix pinches bits of Lil' Louis' French Kiss, a huge hit that year. Using cheeky hooks from elsewhere was a C&C strong point.

The result isn't half bad, although Pia's weedy vocals are extremely evident at times. It is however fairly rare on CD (one copy here on and strangely a couple here on if you're interested.)

So, a curiosity rather than a classic, but surely anything by Clivilles & Cole is worth a listen?

You can download Pia Zadora "Heartbreak of Love"
here (57MB)

lundi 20 avril 2009

Flowered Up - Weatheral's Weekender - 1992

It is sometimes sobering to look at the dates on some of your favourite releases. 1992 was 17 years ago for Christ's sake! That's like listening to the Charleston when everyone else has moved onto rock 'n' roll. Anyways...

Back in the days when Madchester was raving and all indie bands were being remixed, Andy Weatherall was riding high. His remixes for One Dove were hot and I especially remember stories of how his Sabres of Paradise takes of Espiritu's "Conquistador" were changing hands for £100 (whether that was true or not, you can now get them for 99 pence). Silliness.

Flowered Up were a Happy Mondays-a-like, but Weekender was an epic track with a memorable short film for the video, and Weatherall's 'Audrey Is A Little Bit More Partial' mix now sounds much like an epic garage track; it's nearly 17 minutes long and has a great change in tempo in the middle, just like some of Johnny Vicious' best mixes. I'm a sucker for a long mix, and a tempo change, so rediscovering this was a pleasure.

If you fancy a bit of house-not-house, garage-not-garage, disco-not-disco, call-it-what-you-will-but-I-think-it-was-pretty-groundbreaking-then-and-still-amazing-now, you can download Flowered Up "Weatheral's Weekender (Audrey Is A Little Bit More Partial) here (31MB).

dimanche 19 avril 2009

My Mariah Carey "Fantasy" mix now improved
and hotter than a fireman in suspenders and a bra

Sorry, I couldn't resist this ridiculous photo, found whilst trawling through Google Images

When doing the Mariah Carey edit below I realised that a previous edit for her song Fantasy done last November could have been better quality. At the time I had gleaned the necessary mixes from a couple of different blogs and they were not encoded with a great bitrate.

A quick shout out for help on this page got me the top-quality mixes I needed very quickly from those nice folks at the Nineties Club CD Maxi Singles blog. Excellent! I immediately got to work recreating my edit...

You can read the original post all about it here. The download link there has been updated, but if you don't want to read the story behind it you can download my 20-minute mix of the Def Drums, Def Club and Sweet Dub mixes here (46MB).

I love this classic track (almost fifteen years old already!), and I'm pretty pleased with the re-edit. I'd also like to know the story behind that ridiculous photo (UPDATE: it's here).

vendredi 17 avril 2009

My Barabara Tucker Fist fusion

Ah, 1994! That was the year. Heaps of classic garage tracks, plus Johnny Vicious and Armand Van Helden at their prime. Delicious.

This tracks was one of the first fusions I ever did, using no less than four mixes and lasting nearly 22 minutes. I like the way the mixes all had their own personality and yet flowed into each other well. Some purists might not appreciate Armand's stomping bit at the end, but I loved it then and I love it now. Reminds me of my sole visit to the Factory Bar in New York... (*sigh*)


You can download my Fist Fusion of
Barbara Tucker "I Get Lifted" (42MB) here

jeudi 16 avril 2009

Mariah Carey - Butterfly Reprise Fist Fusion

I have to admit to giving up on Mariah Carey sometime in the nineties. Her syrupy love songs got on my nerves, her being signed for a huge amount then dumped by one major company, and consequently being signed again by another left me cold. Rumours about her depression and diva tantrums bored me.

Looking back, it wasn't all bad though. In particular, her partnership with David Morales was often inspired. I've lost track of how many songs they worked together on and whilst Fantasy was one of my top favourites (my re-edit is here) together with Dreamlover, I hadn't actually heard Butterfly Reprise before today. Thanks to the great Finest Def Mix blog for that.

Morales often had Carey re-sing the vocals of her downtempo stuff in order to remix it at a house tempo. Butterfly Reprise was so far from the original 'Butterfly' that it was even given a slightly different name and it sounds very much like Mariah in the studio improvising over a loop for 30 minutes. There's not much to the 'song', but it's one of those dreamy grooves that - if you get into it - just can't last long enough. Some will say that the chord structure bears more than a passing resemblance to "Stay This Way" by the Brand New Heavies (that you can get here). Others might remark that the song is basically rhyming 'fly' with 'fly' throughout. Whatever. It's kinda sweet.

For my Fist fusion I combined the main house mix with part of the Def 'B' Fly mix and the original, giving a version that lasts over 16 minutes. I also repaired a dodgy edit that had been made at around 3'35" (perhaps at the mastering stage to shorten the song a bit?) and left a slight audible hole.

You can download my Fist fusion of
Mariah Carey - Butterfly Reprise (23MB) here

And for masochists, the video of the original weepy American housewife version is here with lots of scantily-clad Mariah looking wistfully out of windows at horses. Awful!

mercredi 15 avril 2009

A note about rips and file formats

photo by Kyle Perschke used under cc licence

I don't think there's any point posting music if it's not at decent quality. 192 kbps mp3 files sound OK when listening on your computer, but for home listening the sound isn't great. Part of the idea behind this blog is rediscovering lost music, so for me quality is important.

Firstly - and a lot of people neglect this stage - I take care with the rip. I use a wonderful program called Max by Stephen Booth that can rip and convert in about 20 different file formats. More importantly, it uses cdparanoia error correction, which guarantees a bit-correct rip of the data (audio) on the CD without any analogue transfer (via a soundcard for example) giving an absolutely perfect cop of all the audio information (no skips, etc.). Max is also great for ripping old or damaged CDs as it is able - in most cases, and for a lot of 'lost causes' - to keep chugging away at scratched or oxidised data and finally get them ripped. It has come through for me in the face of ancient CDs more than a couple of times.

By the way, Stephen also has a CD Ripper called, er, Rip currently in private beta, and I'm interested to see what it will be like...

Secondly, file quality is very important. Whenever I pay for downloads on (my personal favourtie) junodownload, I always get them in FLAC format. FLAC is an open-source compressed file format, but unlike mp3 or even m4a it is lossless, meaning that even with a smaller file size there is zero reduction in quality. FLAC will never be as small as mp3 or m4a files, so I'll only be using it when one or two tracks are posted. Itunes can't read FLAC (Apple prefers its proprietary format Apple Lossless), but Songbird or VLC can. Of course, not many people use those two programs to listen to music (I certainly don't). Once again, Max can convert files between 20 different formats, so I would advise using it for converting to your favourite file format.

When several songs (a whole CD-single, for example) are posted, the tracks will be in AAC format (m4a) encoded at 256 kbps. This is the format used for files from the iTunes Store, and sound quality is comparable to (if not better than) a 320 kbps mp3 file but with a smaller file size. It's not quite audiophile, but it's getting there. For most people and systems, the sound quality will be indistinguishable from a CD.

mp3 will only be used in extreme cases, for example when posting re-edits of tracks I've dowloaded in that format from other blogs. I don't have anything against mp3 apart from the fact that it is now old and heavy compared to AAC (although some people say that the sound quality in AAC is less harsh compared to mp3). It's classicly the format used for best cross-platform compatability : not all portable audio devices can read AAC files, but more and more of them can. AAC is definitely a better format in my opinion.

I also make an effort with ID tags. These are used to store the artist and track name data. Some blogs don't add this, and although the file name contains some information, playing the track on your iPod will show "track 2 - artist unknown" or something similar. Not very helpful. I always fill in this info, and add the sleeve scan if possible.

I couldn't find a photo of an ID tag, so here's a photo of bangers and mash by Annie Mole used under cc licence.

Finally, for hosting I use
mediafire. The service can be a bit kranky sometimes, but for a free service it's not half bad. I hate those sites like zshare that open two other windows with ads in them, make you wait 45 seconds, make you enter a captcha, etc. Sometimes the file names will be changed slightly to stop the tracks being found and deleted by 'rights owners' but frankly this has never happened to me: the stuff I'm posting is old, very specialised and no longer available. Also, posts will always mention where to buy a track if residual copies are still knocking around on amazon or ebay. Other sources for rare tracks are discogs, cdandlp and - occasionally - eil.

There you have it. Enjoy hope you enjoy the quality of the music and the the quality of the music, if you get what I mean...

mardi 14 avril 2009

Bel Canto - Rumour (1996) - Masters At Work remixes

I have to say, it took me a while to like these mixes by Masters At Work for Norwegian pop band Bel Canto, and I very much overlooked them for a while. Like, for ten years!

However time is great at helping your appreciate certain things, and I have finally come round to thinking that these mixes are actually rather fine: the MAW vocal version is pretty cool (although the vibrato in the voice makes it very clear that everything has been radically speeded up), the 'Tribe In Dub' mix is much more than just bonus beats, and even the downtempo mix (together with its instrumental version here) isn't that bad. Well worth rediscovering.

Download the Masters At Work mixes here (63 MB)

And if you like it, go buy it here! Yep, it's still available, and for as little as 93 cents. Cripes!

By the way, Bel Canto are still active to this day, and singer Anneli Drecker has notably collaborated recently with fellow Norwegians Röyksopp.

dimanche 12 avril 2009

The Absolute - There Will Come A Day (1995)

A Mark Picchiotti project. Listening to the various remixes he was doing for people back in the early 90s I now have mixed feelings (sometimes relentless pumping is a little too much), although I loved them a lot back then, especially the disco influences.

This track came out via uber-cool label Tribal UK, much mourned when it folded, as all good labels seem doomed to. The track also came out through the US arm, albeit with a heinous sleeve designed by visually-impaired graphic artists (right), with Suzanne Palmer's giant head and flowery blouse on a rank green background. Ugh!

Luckily, the music was amazing; the fairly epic gospel house number was given some inspired remixes from Picchiotti himself. The results were pretty stunning then and well worth revisiting now.

When I say 'revisiting' I mean 'listening to again' because Mr. Pichiotti decided to re-release and remix the track again during the summer of 2007 on his Blueplate label. I find those seven new mixes, including a couple by ATFC completely awful.

Savour the original mixes here (73.5MB)
or grab my 16'34" Fist fusion of the
Black Lozenge / Half Tab mixes here (30MB)

samedi 11 avril 2009

Body 2 Body - Let's Get Intimate (1992)
Not one but two Fist fusions!

First heard this on the wonderful Nineties Club CD Maxi Singles blog in late 2008 and immediately thought it was brilliant. With two of my favourite singers from ID Productions (Chantay Savage and Donnel Rush) and some excellent mixes from Steve 'Silk' Hurely and E-Smoove, I actually sang it practically non-stop for a week.

I'd seen on Discogs that there had been even more mixes available at the time, but eventually forgot about it. And yet, it kept popping back up on my iPod, and eventually I went back to the original post, saw that the CD-single was originally from Germany and had a look on There it was, still available, with more mixes, for just under 2€! Definitely a bargain. I bought it immediately.

When it arrived I listened to the extra mixes by Jamie Principle. First I though they were strange, then given a little time to let them sink in I thought they were actually quite brilliant. I was inspired to do some mucking about with my new find...

First, I mixed the Hurley and E-Smoove mixes together, trimming both of them down a bit; the Hurley mix is a little too long in my opinion, repeats itself a bit, and the E-Smoove mix had a few bars of nasty keyboards that I eliminated. The two mixes are very different and hide the fact that you are basically listening to the same song twice.

Then I also took the two Jamie Principle mixes, one of which was basically a bonus beats, and stuck them together to make a decent-length extended version. It is filthy, in a good way. I imagine this is what people danced to in opium dens in 1992.

Click here to download my two Fist Fusions of
"Let's Get Intimate" by Body 2 Body.

Hope you like them.

jeudi 9 avril 2009

Nu Colours "Desire" - 1996
A lost Masters At Work mix?

Any garage-head will know about Nu Colours. Desire was one of those songs that wore on me after a while; The Masters At Work dubs were everywhere at the time, and I just got sick of hearing it.

Then recently I bought a CD compilation on eBay (for the Horace Brown track) and found another MAW mix of Desire on it, the Style mix, clocking in at over 11 minutes long. Can't find it on any other blogs, can't find it on Discogs. Very strange indeed. Even stranger is that mix is pretty damn fine! So why didn't this very decent, full-length Masters At Work mix get released back then? And why did it seem to disappear completely? Who knows. Anyway, I'm happy to share it here for fans of the group and - especially - fans of the wonderful Masters At Work.

Click to download an audiophile FLAC version (79MB) or iPod-friendly AAC version (23MB) of Nu Colours "Desire (Style mix)" by Masters At Work.

And here's the original video which cleverly gets around the obviously saucy nature of the song by heavily featuring a steam train (numerous shots of trains going into tunnels, coal being shovelled into the boiler engine, etc). At around 2'52" you'll see the couple that have been smooching since the beginning. The bloke points to the end of the carriage where the toilets probably are, and they both go off there looking very smiley. Desire indeed!

mercredi 8 avril 2009

Horace Brown
"One For The Money (C&C Music Factory mix)" - 1996

Quite unlike me to listen to anything recorded after 1994... ;-) but a classic is a classic, whatever the year.

This was a an R&B smoocher in 1996, with Horace boasting about how he has risen from poverty (sub-text: thanks to his amazing TALENT) and now has a new mansion, champagne soirées, etc. etc. (thanks to his amazing TALENT). That boy. What a larf!

Nevertheless, not a half bad song. Unsurprisingly, the video (see below) is classic mid-nineties MTV-formatted posturing with lots of spontaneous synchronised dancing in black suits. Who would have thought that Clivilles & Cole could turn it into a great house number? I especially like their mix because a) they take their time (10'26") to build the thing up, and b) it's really a mix in two halves with the vocal flowing into the dub effortlessly. Classic C&C genius.

Perhaps not especially rare (apparently available on a German CD-single here through but I couldn't find it on any of the other blogs, so here it is! (in audiophile and iPod-friendly encodes)

Download Horace Brown "One For The Money
(C&C Music Factory mix) here
or there's a 256 kbps VBR AAC file here.

(If you don't know what FLAC is or what to do with it you might like to read this on Wikipedia and download rather useful program Songbird which can read almost every audio format you can throw at it and may well come in handy in the future).

mardi 7 avril 2009

Joey Negro presents Lifeforce "Feel Your Body" - 1992

I'm not really in the habit of posting whole CD-singles. A lots of other blogs do it, and good for them, but I partly felt bad for copyright reasons and partly didn't want to duplicate what had been posted elsewhere.

However, as time goes by I've realised that I do have some stuff that people might be interested in (and that hasn't been posted elsewhere) and more importantly that specialised blogs have become the unofficial archives for a lot of record companies that made their buck back in the day and then moved on.

I get pretty angry frustrated about the non-availability of a lot of what I call classics. God knows I would buy them if I could, but I can't. Anyway, enough ranting...

This 1992 German CD-single on EastWest isn't half as rare as I thought it was (you can still find it second-hand here on for example) but I got it on eBay a few years back and was pretty chuffed. It's classic, early Joey Negro with a plethora of mixes that all have their subtle specificities, and dates from a time when disco house was so big that the majors were licensing left right and centre(stage!).

You can download Lifeforce - Feel Your Body here (66MB)

By the way, I am sooo over mp3 (especially at 192 kbps, not really archive quality). I'll be using FLAC for single tracks but in this case it was too heavy, so the mixes are ripped in m4a format at 256kbps (which is - to my mind - better than a 320kbps mp3 file and a lot lighter to boot).

jeudi 2 avril 2009

20 minutes of Trippin' On Your Love

Kenny Thomas had a few 'hits' back in the early nineties, but I'd be surprised if many people remember him now. I only ever really noticed his track Trippin' On Your Love back in 1993, especially the Roger Sanchez Grand Diva dub that had (anonymous) female vocals instead of Kenny's. Go figure.

It was a pleasure then to come across a post on the Hard To Find Trax blog with the all the mixes from the double 12" promo, two from Simon Dunmore that are not really up my street and no less than six from Sanchez, all of them stormers.

Of course 16 year-old vinyl suffers, and the noise reduction on the recordings is pretty harsh. The treble is crushed and some of the voices sound a bit chevrotant as we say in French (i.e. warbling like a goat! Love that expression). However, if that's the tradeoff for being able to listen to this again, then fair enough. Does anyone realise how much time it takes to rip vinyl and clean the files up afterwards? Kudos.

The remixes are classics, all with their own identity. Sanchez was really at the top of his form here... and of course I couldn't leave all that great material alone. So...

...I boosted the treble and overall levels to get it sounding nice and crisp, did some manual de-clicking (yep, there were still quite a few left) then took all my favourite bits from the various mixes and ended up with a 20-minute version that I really like. Epic! Hurrah!

By the way, a Fist fusion doesn't just involve sticking everything together and making it as long as possible; ironically, certain parts of the individual mixes have to be shortened because they just drag on a bit over a very long mix. Here I trimmed a couple of things down and hopefully got a mix that keeps your interest, switching from vocals to the dub and back... and back again(!), something that sounds like it could have been one of the actual mixes. I only have a Mac and some very cheap software (not even any hardware) so I'm pretty pleased with the result. Sanchez and Hard to Find Trax inspired me!

You can download my Kenny Thomas - Trippin' On My Love Fist Fusion here.