REVIEWS

 

Trick Or Treat feat Paradise - 2 Step Flavas (FTL)

This got to me a little late, so it should already be in the shops, but it’s an interesting one. Featuring Paradise from Brixton hip-hop act 57th Dynasty this mixes a credible, vibe-heavy rap vocal with tough, fast and kinky 2 step pro­gramming. and it’s one of those tracks that could find itself in a variety of DJs’ boxes. Dub-wise. it might remind a little of MJ Cole at first in its cut-up scattiness before it drops into a simple stabbing b­-line. Proving Trick Or Treat are not ones to repeat a production style, this certainly has afresh fiava. Original and heavy.

Magik Room - Little Bit Of Sunshine (White Label)

All the way from Blackpool where “unfortunately people think that garage is a place where you keep your lawnmower” (so say the producers of this!), What we have here is a breakbeat-edged tune with a sweet-tooth - something along the same lines as Trick Or Treat's take on Let Me Be Your Fantasy’. The first mix in particular nods back to Baby D /vocal breakbeat house (complete with hardcore b-line breakdown) and its upbeat vibe comes from some crazily catchy vocals. There's an even more radio-friendly 2 step mix, so record labels get on to this one - it could blow!

Zoom & DBX - Comin’ Again (Planet Phat)

A debut single from this Luton duo, who are obviously teeing the breakbeat sound. A-side we nave a simple, hook-filled mix based around a catchy key rift and a few choice vocal phrases. Mixing the bright and musical with a tough bassline and some funky percussion, it’s a very immediate groove. But what's really going to rip up the floors is the electro-influenced Dub Mix, lead by a nasty, nasty b-line. One for all you breakbeat bassline freaks out there - and watch for the Dee line Remix to follow.

Rizar feat. Melody - It’s A Shame (Virtuosos)

From a recently formed London label. Essex-based producer Riser gives Motown the 2 step twist with this version of the old Detroit Spinners song. The original mix - although it's quite radio-friendly and has some good vocal harmonies - feels a little under-produced and lacks a bit of punch However, it all suddenly gels together on Richii & KC's almost K Warren-sounding mix, which features a sweet harp hook and a more subtle style of programming that suits the delicate vocals. Once the bass is cranked up in a club, this mix could do some business.

 

System 3 - Independent Women (White Label)

This maybe a bootie version of Destiny’s Child's mega-hit but this would make a pretty fine official remix - wonder I the girls themselves have heard it? The arrangement really works in this melodic, soulfully hinged mix, and with its potent hooks and of course those distinctive vocals, this makes all the right moves to get the party going. Another top bit of RnB bootie action awaits you on the flipside too. Also look out for System 3's take on Ruff Ends and Jamelia. Almost angelic.

Konstruction - Upside Down (Under Control)

I’ve never heard Diana Ross’ old classic sound quite like this! This is one funky mutha of a track - and a pretty experimental one - from a label headed up by some unsung heroes of the scene: Hermit, Danny Ward and Laurence Bagnall. Mixing hip hop, old skool breakbeat and rave flavours this runs on its breaks and strident key riff hook, but it’s so moody and bouncy that it's just a rocking track as an instrumental. Add to that the male vocal­ist taking on Ms Ross’ part on the other mix, and the vibe gets even more twisted. Weirdly wicked.

The Sniper - After Party (White Label)

Could 4/4 be making its way back into the scene with a little more force than it has over the last coupe of years? The signs seem to be there. as more producers appear to be tuning out four to the floor mixes once again - and why not get back to variety?! Koffee Brown gets the infamous Sniper treatment, and while there’s a workable 2 step mix (phat bassline, plenty of vocals, tough beats) try flipping over to the wicked 4/4 mix, which is busting with that irreplacable 4/4 energy - twitchy drums, bouncing bassline and funky cut up vex. Real shake that ass’ music.

Unknown - Looking At You (Panic Record )

 Not sure who's responsible for the original here, but it does include a remix from DEA's Para. The original mix has some big, chunky step programming lightened by a sweet (un-credited) female vocal and quite a musical, melodic arrangement. One for the ’ladies massive’! Para comes up with a rough, RnB-influenced mix (Jordan Knight's ‘Give It To Me’ and ‘Godfather' riffs anyone’?) packed with a lot more club-power. Working in loads of hooks ~including his own name!) and a distinctive Wookie-ish ‘talking’ bassine, its raw vibes and sure to make floors bounce.

 

Kru Kutz featuring Gerideau - Dance With Me - Trick Or Treat Remixes (Clean Cut)

The wonderful Gerideau s back on the UK scene with a vengeance, and he adds an FX-ed, strangely distant-sounding vocal to a chunky slab of 2 step. The A-side mix stands out the most, combining influences it seems from the likes of Club Asylum to Bump & Flex and even a touch of Sunship Amway, it's a simple key rift that leads the pro­duction (maybe a little too repetitive) - but it’s infectious and Gerideau’s typically dramatic vocals (with shades of Michael Jackson here) make the tune.

 All Saints - All Hooked Up - Architechs Remix (London)

This time it's the turn of body groovers Arthitechs to give the ubiquitous garage treatment to Al Saints who’ve some top garage remixes to their name now. The Architechs come up with a mix that will shake you out of any pre-conception that they’ll come with a ‘Body Groove’ style mix. This is strange, dark stuff! Throwing down a conga-style rhythm and their crunchy pneumatic-sounding percus­sion, they compliment All Santa’ moody lyrics with a deep, grizzly b-line chord stab and switch weirdly from harmony to a kind of dischord. Once you’ve got used to it, it’s one to get down and dirty to.

Todd Edwards - Shut The Door (Locked On)

It’s the one many have been waiting for, and DJs are already hailing this one of Todd’s best ever productions. Featuring a full vocal, this not only offers the best of Todd’s unique ear for melodic structures and funky programming, but what really stands out is the sincere and quite affecting lyric. And with the ‘Healed From Within' mix making the vocoder sound mysterious rather than coldly robotic, this tune will remind you of when garage raving was a mesmerising and, at times, spiritual experience. What better way to kick off the New Year than with this’?

Colour Girl feat PSG - Mas Oue Nada (4 Liberty)

In a brave move, Colour Girl takes on the quite difficult Latin folk vocal originally made famous by Sergio Mendes in the 70s, but in doing so gives the conventional 2 step song formula an almost leftfield edge. Mixes a -plenty here, but it looks as if all the spotlight son this year’s rising star, Soveneign, who knows how to work a b-line drop or two and he provides the dub angle with his darkly powerful version. Elsewhere In 2 Deep step up the Latin flavour, whilst Marvel and Eli give it some competent RnB moves with their radio-friendly rub. Still, Sovereign leads the way.
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