mercredi 28 octobre 2009

Dimitri From Paris - Sacré Français (Todd Edwards mixes) (1998)

Another example of how the mighty have fallen, Todd Edwards blazed incredibly bright in the early nineties, more or less invented speed garage by accident, milked it as long as he could and continued making the same music way after all his inspiration had left him.

Instead of cleverly cutting, pasting and tone-shifting micro-samples, he started lazily filling in any obvious holes with vocodered lines sung by himself (and he doesn't have a great voice).  Increasingly embarrassing and incongruous references to God and Jesus were shoehorned into his remixes. The beats got faster and faster, a sure sign that the melodies were getting weaker and weaker. Frankly, he hasn't done a decent remix in the last eight years.

And yet, back in the early nineties, no-one could touch him. What seemed like a formula - dry beats, chopped up vocal samples, that break - was endlessly inventive, surprising, inspiring.

When Dimitri From Paris' Sacrebleu album was re-released in the U.S. through Atlantic, they commissioned new American mixes of a few tracks to whip up some interest. Une Very Stylish Fille was picked up by Volvo for an ad campaign and remixed by both Kenny Dope and Steinski. Sacré Français got new mixes from Davidson Ospina and Todd Edwards, and the latter were absolutely top notch.

Unfortunately, the Todd Edwards Re-Dub version on the CD was mixed in with the previous track (because of its long intro?) and the alternative Re-Create Mix was never released on CD. Indeed, the entire album is now no longer available, almost certainly because of problems with uncleared samples.

Happily, I recently across an old CD-R of mine from many years back (when I had access to a Technics and proper amplifier) packed full of classic Todd Edwards remixes!

Below you'll find the link to the two Dimitri remixes. Firstly, I've reconstructed the Re-Dub version to remove the mixed intro that was on the CD. This involved re-creating the rhythm beat by beat, high hat by high hat. During the process I also came across a click in one of the samples that was almost certainly left in purposefully, but I found very distracting, so I've removed it throughout the track. As for the vinyl-only mix, I've de-clicked it and it sounds pretty damn good. Have a listen!

The other mixes that I've cleaned up are:

Mantra ft. Lydia Rhodes - Away (Todd Edwards mix) (14MB). This is a stone cold classic, and it's a crying shame that the only digital versions available now are chronically cynical circuit mixes by John Creamer and Stephane K.

Wildchild - Jump To My Beat (Todd Edwards Jump remix) (15MB). Another great remix, released on CD-single but only in a shunted version. This is the full version.

Ali - Love Letter (Todd Edwards dub) (13MB). The dub was never released on CD, but it's pretty damn fine.

And you can download
Dimitri From Paris - Sacré Français
(Todd Edwards Re-Dub) and (Todd Edwards Re-Create Mix)
here (13MB) and here (14MB) respectively.

Hope you enjoy them all.

dimanche 18 octobre 2009

B.M.U. - U Will Know (C.J. Mackintosh mixes) (1995)

Black Men United was a 'supergroup' made up of R. Kelly, Boyz II Men, Tony Toni Tone, Tevin Campbell, Usher and more (including Lenny Kravitz on guitar!), apparently formed just for this track, in order to promote the film Jason's Lyric.

Jason's Lyric, "a modern day Romeo & Juliet from the makers of New Jack City" was clearly aimed at he black demographic - both thematically and musically - and allegedly nearly got an X rating for a racy sex scene (that was removed). IMDB gives a quote from the film that does not inspire confidence:

Jason Alexander: I've never flown in a plane before.
Lyric: Sometimes you don't need a plane to fly.

or how about when the characters are sitting in the bayou:

Jason Alexander: Damn, it's quiet out here! I should've brought my radio.
Lyric: [smiling] No, it's not quiet. It's full of music. Just listen.


And talking about music, the B.M.U. track U Will Know came with sterling remixes from C.J. Mackintosh, including two house mixes that were very cleverly constructed, skilfully layering element on element.

It occurred to me that it would be possible to put the two of them together, so I extended the intro a little and made one mix flow into the other, giving the track five minutes to build up before the vocal parts come in. Even at nearly 12 minutes long, you never get bored. A testament to a well-made remix. Have a listen...

This really reminds of the time when Mackintosh was dishing out what he called FXTC dubs with generally superlative results (Sounds of Blackness, for example), and I never tire of listening to the track, 15 years later.

You can download my BMU - U Will Know
(C.J. Mackintosh Lyrical dub/House lyric Fist fusion)
here (17 MB).

mercredi 7 octobre 2009

That Old Bag - Erotica (1992).
Exclusive Masters At Work mix

I won't go on about how terrible, irredeemably awful her current product is (I wouldn't even call it music any more) but suffice to say that some people should - at some point - realise that they've said all they had to say, don't need any more money, and just retire.

Unfortunately, this increasingly-crusty old bag is still going strong. I prefer to ignore the adoptions, divorces and facelifts and focus myself on 1992 and this amazing release. The Masters At Work mix of Erotica was a thing of beauty, deceptively simple (based on three repeating chords) that added element upon element, building higher and higher... and then stopping abruptly. I always thought that the main MAW mix was way too short. Luckily, I recently came across the vinyl dubs on someone's blog (no idea where now) and thought it was time to give this version the length it deserves.

The House Instrumental is indeed the perfect counterpart to the Underground Club mix, with plenty of FX and dubbiness to keep the interest going. Put together, they give a 9'25" version that is - to me - much more satisfying, (dare I say it) length-wise. Brings back memories indeed.

You can download my
Underground Club mix / House Instrumental Fist fusion
of one of that old bag's best tunes here (22MB)

jeudi 1 octobre 2009

Ultra Naté - How Long (1993)

It's funny how time can change things. I used to love Ultra Naté, then she did Free, had a huge hit worldwide and - in my opinion - ruined Strictly Rhythm forever, if not house music in general. After Free, every label started scrambling to make the catchiest, most commercial house tune possible. Things were never the same.

I bought this CD-single on import when it came out, and it reminds me of the good old days of scouring HMV for U.S. maxi-CDs with loads of mixes on them. This one had over an hour of music on it, with barely anything to throw away. The downtempo mixes are cool, the Fire Island mix went on to be the basis of Ultraflava (hence the name), and with names such as Basement Boys, Nellee Hooper and Mood II Swing how could it not be a classic?

It was the last three mixes on the CD, collaborations between Mood II Swing and Little Louie Vega that really piqued my interest though. A mixture of dubby and druggy, they worked the vocal elements and transformed the song into a Factory Bar classic. Epic, inspired stuff. I had a bit of fun putting those three mixes together into one long mix (23'14"!) and although it's not perfect (it was one of my first ever efforts) it's still pretty tasty. Things were complicated by one of the mixes not being at the same tempo as the others. Anyway, have a quick listen if you like...

When my bag was stolen from a train years ago, this CD was in it. I was so relieved to find a copy again a little later, and if you can, you should too. It's pretty scarce now ($30 on eBay!).

You can download my Ultra Naté - How Long
(Ultra's House Swing / Mood II Master /
Sound Factory Mood mix Fist fusion) here (32MB)