MUSIC REVIEWS
by: Francis Tanneur
Opinions expressed are those of the individual writer for informational purpose
only. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions or viewpoints of
Freestyle Music.Com.

Contact Francis Tanneur at:francistanneur@hotmail.com

MUSIC REVIEWS # 13
(January / February 2001)

ADAM MARANO: “Love me now” (CD single) WAAKO RECORDS / ZYX MUSIC (Germany)
Score: 3 stars
 

This production is really interesting, but also very simple to realize when you are a professional! 

Indeed, Sonia’s voice is superbly captivating and hypnotizing; it does the entire job on this track. Adam Marano just needs to embroider the song and propose a very slow tempo that languishes around Sonia’s voice, and compose some atmospheric and oppressive keys. This choice is particularly successful and clever! 

This single also contains six mixes, four of which are Freestyle (two are in Spanish) and two are Dance music, and should convince a lot of Freestylers and Dancers. “Love me now” is definitely a production from Adam Marano that will entertain you. Enjoy! 

ELECTRICITY FREESTYLE VOL.6 (2CD’s compilation) SPV RECORDINGS (Germany)
Score: 3 stars
 

Year after year, this compilation series has imposed itself to the eyes of the German Freestylers as one of the most convincing series on the market, even if in my opinion, some volumes of this edition were extremely plain. 

The particularity of the “Electricity Freestyle” series is to blend some recent products with old Freestyle jams mostly from Old School and well known American and Canadian artists. But for the first time, SPV Recordings offers to his “faithful” buyers two CD’s in a same box.

The first CD presents 16 tracks in a more classical Freestyle trend (mix of Old School classics with few Planet Rock / Electro titles) including some groups and singers as April, Holly Cole, Frankie Boy, Free System, The Officer & Elios, Stevie B, Smash… On the contrary, the second CD contains 15 tracks more oriented towards the German Electro genre and Planet Rock sound with some bands as Flying Steps, Strip-T, Music Instructor, Freestyle Project, etc. Even two American productions are part of this comp with the remixed version of “Energy” by The KromOzone Project and “Wanna be your lover” by Kenny Moulton. 

This sixth edition is undeniably one of the most successful (with Freestyle Electricity vol.2) and should seriously put the other compilation in the shade since they will appear less abundant in titles. 31 tunes on a same compilation is a very rare occurrence, especially when the quality is here. Buy it without any hesitation! 

ELISSA: “Mamboleo” / “Back to me” (CD single) TI AMO RECORDS (Canada)
Score: No star (for “Mamboleo”)
Score: 3 stars (for “Back to me”)
 

Let’s not linger on the Y2K re-issue of the Latino Dance track of “Mamboleo” under the Canadian Ti-Amo Records which really annoys and bores me (even sang by Elissa), to talk a little bit longer about the other song “Back to me”, and especially its unique Freestyle version.  

Of course, it’s in this kind of register (Freestyle music) that Elissa excels the best! “Back to me” is a delicious mixture of Euro Dance keys (those of the Dance version) with a lively Old School rhythm beat. Elissa also possesses one of the most beautiful and charming voice of the Canadian scene which confers to this production a supplementary asset and seriousness. 

This new song is really awesome, and proves once again that Elissa is full of talent and very inspired in her choices. 

FIVE OF TEN FEATURING J.W. SCALE: “Feel the groove” (CD single) FREEFILES RECORDS / SPV (Germany)
Score: 3 stars
 

The second track by Five Of Ten is way more exciting than “If you want my love”. 

This is due to different factors: 1/ J.W. Scale’s voice is outstanding, powerful, sexy, full of good mood and warm. 2/ The use of a slower Electro Freestyle beat, more groovy and commercial, should appeal to a larger audience (even to those who are not very familiar to Freestyle music). 3/ An irresistible melody and catchy chorus. 

The amateurs of the “2 Step” musical movement will appreciate the two nice and very rhythmic versions of this track. Moreover, this very fashionable musical genre that comes from England is just an alternative mix of different genres (Drum ‘N Bass, R& B and Speed Garage) and becomes month after month more popular throughout Europe. Just Groove and only Groove!!! 

Just feel the groove… 

FREE SYSTEM: “This love is not right 4 you” (CD single) FREEFILES RECORDS / SPV (Germany)

Score: 4 stars (Psycho remix)
Score: 3 stars (other mixes)
 

Free System is incontestably one of the most original Old School Freestyle groups in Germany. 

Over four singles, the Free System members easily got a name, and they definitely have an approach and style which are unique. It is more refined than most of the German products thanx to the beautiful voice of Tina and also to the duet that she formed with Gianni (he is doing the vocoder and Rap), and to the melodies always well done and superbly crafted. 

Even though the three mixes (radio, club and original mix) are destined to the Electro fans, the “Psycho remix” (the best version of this CD single) heads towards to the Old School tradition. But this version is so insane in its realization (psychotic I should say!) that it’s very difficult to categorize it. The version combines melodious, extremely incisive and splendid keys. 

A wonderful and original song not to be missed. 

LINDA LOW: “Dancing in my heart” / “I gave you my heart”/ “Over you” (CD single) CERTIFIED MUSIC L.L.C.
Score: 3 stars
 

What a beautiful outset for Linda Low’s career that this EP, which introduces us to three titles… but only “Dancing in my heart” is highlighted with a torrent of mixes (a total of 7). 

If you are fond of the West Coast sound, you should appreciate her musical style and you will be overcome by her emotional and attractive voice which she is surrounded by a bunch of local producers and remixers (Kenny Moulton, Slammin’ Sam Maxion, Randy Taylor-Weber et “Lenny Linus” Douglas) for the Freestyle part. As far as the three Euro, Dance, Trance versions are concerned, she appealed to two European mixers (Cosmic Dreamer from Belgium and Magnus Ekelund from Sweden) and to Craig Carpenter from New York City, maybe also to conquer the Europe Dance music market. Smart, isn’t it? 

Whatever your musical domain of predilection in Freestyle music, you will participate to the success of Linda Low in buying this CD single because the work done by all the remixers is also very nice. A new talent to discover! 

SHARYN MACEREN: “One and one” / “Hard to get” (CD single) CAPTAUR RECORDS
Score: 4 stars (for the Hyperspace club mix)
Score: 3 stars (for the other mixes)
 

We haven’t had news about the beautiful and ravishing Sharyn Maceren since her last hit “Hard to get”. Pressed for the first time in 1996 on the compilation “Slammin’ Compilation vol.1” (where you can also find another track from Sharyn “You’re my everything”), this song has nevertheless been officially released one year later under the name of The S Factor on Slammin’ Sam Maxion’s label (S.E. Records). Straight away, “Hard to get” revealed the talent of this young artist from the Bay area. 

Fortunately, the year 2001 heralds her comeback on Captaur Records (located in San Fancisco) with this new jam “One and one”. The two producers of this brand new record company (Jeremy Davis & Mario Bonilla) had a good nose to license Shary Maceren and to secure Joe Grandberg’s services (he wrote some titles on Alexis’ album) because this CD is definitely really interesting. You may listen with a huge pleasure to the terrific Freestyle version “Hyperspace Club Mix” which is very close from Buffy’s style with a more German musical orientation (vocoder, and powerful & melodious keys). A very good job!

You may also delight yourself with the good Latin Dance mix of this tune (I particularly liked the guitar sequence done by Joe Grandberg himself on his keyboard, it’s very nice!) and the pleasant House music version of “Hard to get╗. 

This CD is definitely to get before it is out of stock. A wonderful comeback assuredly! 

SILVERBACK RECORDS PRESENTS THE SBP PRODUCT (CD COMPILATION) SILBERBACK RECORDS
Score: 3 stars
 

This compilation on Silverback Records is the fruit of several years work by Josey Santos (the initiator of this project) and then, of the association with two his friends (Benji Quiles Jr and DJ Pauly). This is why this comp is called “The SBP Product” (S for Santos, B for Benji and P for Pauly) and whose main vocation is to propose the best products as regards Progressive Freestyle music! 

To achieve success, they called two “musical experts” from New York City (Victor Franco and Carlos Berrios) and a newcomer in the Freestyle business, Ryan Paltrow from Florida. They also asked the participation in this project of Freestyle personalities as Miguel Reyes, 2 AM, Fred Nice, and especially George Anthony and Julian Hernandez (for the backing vocals). And then, they used some unknown, but talented artists (Sonia Merced, Zeyda, DeJa and DJ Pauly). The result is simply awesome and this Progressive Freestyle compilation is globally succesful, one of the best since the birth of this genre. Even if I keep repeating that this kind of Freestyle is not really my cup of tea. Yet, Progressive buffs should appreciate this CD more than I do. 

However the only thing I’m sure of is that you will find some superb productions and upcoming hits as the splendid tunes as Zeyda “I’ll show you love”, DeJa “We can do it”, DJ Pauly “What am I to do”, Fred Nice “Do you believe in love” and the Dance music song “I’ll wait for you” by Sonia Merced (What an amazing voice!). The Progessive remix of “Those were the times” by Miguel Reyes is quite interesting, even if I largely prefer the Old School versions out on Tazmania records. The remixed version of “Celebrate” (this track is also available in Euro Dance style on the 2 AM’s full-length album “Waiting for this moment” out on Hot Productions, Inc. in 1997) and the Ryan Dreamscape mix of “Hands up” are also quite original. 

A Progressive Freestyle compilation that deserves a prize! 

THE OFFICER & ELIOS: “Baby gimme all your love” / “Don’t break my heart” (CD single) FREEFILES RECORDS / SPV (Germany)
Score: 3 stars
 

This second single (after the “La musica” EP) is certainly the most captivating since the association between Stonay (a.k.a. The Officer) and Elios. It’s also one the rare German groups to sing in Italian and English languages. 

“Baby gimme all your love” remains in the line of his previous singles (“Hold me tight”, “Waiting”, or more recently under his new artist name The Officer with “Cry”), even if this time his new production has more an Electro than an Old School flavour.

The “vocal backup” from Elios brings an undeniable edge to this friendly collaboration that we wish would last forever. This male band should become a redoubtable and lethal weapon for the German Freestyle scene. Their vocal performance is already an asset and really appreciated by Freestylers. 

Don’t forget to listen to the only original mix of “Don’t break my heart”, which could be their upcoming hit! Who knows? 

THE UNDERDOG PROJECT: “It doesn’t matter” (CD album) LOOP DANCE CONSTRUCTIONS RECORDS / KONTOR RECORDS / UNIVERSAL MUSIC (Germany)
Score: 4 stars
 

I can not say that this first and very successful full-length album from this popular German band can be labelled as a Freestyle album, it wouldn’t be completely true. But it contains nonetheless some Electro tracks combined to the R & B style which should thrill and convince the bunch of Freestylers who already enjoys these two genres, poles apart from, musically speaking, but that merge marvelously due to the originality brought about by all the members of this band. 

The Underdog Project is a band which stands apart because of his style. This album, at first sight, was mainly oriented to R & B and Rap styles, but otherwise it mixes with a certain cunning and creativity some songs including an Electro beat particularly slow and groovy. As regards Freestyle, you can listen again to their two hits, but also discover the formidable “I can handle it”. 

So if I were you, I would familiarize rapidly with this group, because you can be sure in the future that you will hear about The Underdog Project… but this time on the International scene. 

THE UNDERDOG PROJECT: “Tonight” (CD single) LOOP DANCE CONSTRUCTIONS / KONTOR RECORDS / UNIVERSAL MUSIC (Germany)
Score: 3 stars
 

Don’t change a winning team! So, we take the same people to work with, and let’s do it again… 

If you liked “Summer jam”, you will adore this second song which sounds like their first hit. You will appreciate once again the smooth and particular vocal asset of Vick Krishna that can rival without any trouble with the most magnificent R&B voices (the accapella is inevitable to make your own opinion!). After you’ve listened to the two Electro Freestyle mixes, practically identical to “Summer jam”, I also suggest you take a look at the two good versions by DJ Wickel (very groovy) and of O.M.O. (N.C. Thanh and Ernest T.D.) in a Drum ‘N Bass and 2 Step genres. Once again! 

After “Summer jam”, The Underdog Project should encounter the same success with “Tonight”. Keep your fingers crossed! 

It’s advisable to join and support this musical project called Underdog quickly! 

V.T.: “Laura non cÚ” (CD single) MNF RECORDS / ZYX MUSIC (Germany)
Score: 3 stars
 

In 1998, “Laura non cÚ” (sang by the Pop-song singer Nek) became a not to be missed hit for the Italian repertoire winning a very nice and critical success all over Europe. 

By the end of the year 2000, the producers of MNF Records’ label have decided to cook this tune to the Freestyle gravy! They used a faster Electro Freestyle rhythm beat than usual that nevertheless takes (a little bit) the Old School direction. The male voice of V.T. gives a commercial side to this promising track. 

The result is astonishing… in the good sense of the term!

 

My Top 10
(12”, tape & CD singles)

 

1] Myrna Li: “Still I cry” Santana Music
2] George Lamond: “Lately” (original long version) Robbins Entertainment LLC / Timber! Records
3] Jazmine: “Justify” Santana Music
4] Sammy C: “My mother warned me” Roman Empire Productions
5] Flying Steps: “We are electric” JetSet / Dance Street / ZYX Music (Germany)6] Free System: “This love is not right 4 you” (psycho remix) Freefiles Records / SPV (Germany)
7] Sharyn Maceren: “One and one” Captaur Records

8] Anthony Norris: “Just 4 you” MNF Records / ZYX Music (Germany)
9] The Underdog Project: “Tonight” Loop Dance Constructions / Kontor Records /Universal Music (Germany)
10] Elissa: “Back to me” Ti Amo Records (Canada)

 My Top 5
(Compilations & medleys) 

1] George Lamond: “The hits…and more” (compilation) Robbins Entertainment LLC / Timber! Records
2] D.J. Damon Cain A.K.A. Devious D. Presents Vintage Freestyle Grooves: “Collector’s Edition vol.1” (medley) MainSource Distribution
3] The World Of Electro (compilation) ZYX Music (Germany)
4] Silverback Records Presents The SBP Product (compilation) Silverback Records
5] Fierce Freestyle Classics “ The Mix Tape” vol.3 (medley) Ubl Recordings / StreetBeat Records, Inc.

 My Top 5
(Albums) 

1] Sammy C: “Taking it through the millenium and beyond” Roman Empire Productions
2] Rockell: “Instant pleasure” Robbins Entertainment LLC
3] The KromOzone Project: “Love & energy” TBC Productions
4] The Underdog Project: “It doesn’t matter” Loops Dance Construction (Germany)
5] Kenny Moulton: “Baby it’s you” Hit Factory Records / SideBusters Entertainment

 

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