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 # 16
(July / August 2001) 

Score:
No Stars: Useless
1 star: Poor
2 stars: Average
3 stars: Good
4 stars: Excellent
5 stars: Masterpiece


AFRIKA BAMBAATAA: “Looking for the perfect beat 1980-1985” (12 inch) TOMMY BOY MUSIC
Score: 3 stars  

This is a good initiative from Tommy Boy Music to release this double vinyl about the Godfather of Electro Funk that also retraces a part of work of the Zulu Nation’s chief: Bambaataa Aasim, who still is the reference of this musical genre. 

His best productions (which also represent his best successes) are, in my eyes, those from Arthur Baker and John Robie: “Planet Rock”, “Looking for the perfect beat” and “Renegades of funk”. You can also discover (and maybe appreciate) other more Funky, Hip-Hop and Soul titles (less known by the Freestylers, but that deserves listening) as “Zulu nation throwdown”, “Jazzy sensation” (with Jazzy Jim), “Frantic situation” (with Shango), “Unity part 1 (the third coming)” (with James Brown), “Who do you think you’re funkin’ with”, & “What time is it” (with Melle Mel) and “Funk you”. 

An indispensable and essential vinyl for all the collectors and Electro Funkers, especially if I precise to you that the vinyl pressing is of higher quality…enough to satisfy all the Deejay’s! 

Afrika Bambaataa’s gems will continue to spin on the turntables, because the style and the songs won’t age!

 

DMA DANCE BEST OF FREESTYLE FILE VOLUME 1 (CD medley) TANTRUM MUSIC, INC.
Score: 4 stars
 

After having done a poll on the Internet with the fans, DMA Magazine and Missy Querry (the columnist of “Freestyle file”) propose us a superb selection of Freestyle classics from the East coast to the West coast as Sa-Fire “Let me be the one”, NV “Girl you hear me crying”, Buffy “Give me a reason”, Isaac “In my heart”, Corina “Give me back my heart”, Rochelle “Praying for an angel”, Jocelyn Enriquez “I’ve been thinking about you”, Lil’ Suzy “Take me in your arms”, Timmy T “Time after time”, Miguel Reyes “Those were the times 2000”, Coro “Can’t let you go”, Lil’ Johanna “Real love”, M:G “Sweet honesty”, George Lamond “Lately” and Rockell “I fell in love”. What a fantastic selection!

And two other tracks less popular as Esme “Funky little beat” (reprise of Connie’s hit) and Julio Angel “Angelina” and a small version of the megamix. 

This medley is fascinating because of the selection, but also and mainly because of the formidable work of Tim “Spinnin’” Schommer who allowed himself a big leeway. He brilliantly remixes some songs with inspiration (supplementary edits and computer effects) and his mixes are impeccable and thrilling. 

You gonna love this medley, believe me!

 

ENTER DA FLIPZIDE NOW BRACE YOURSELF (CD compilation) FLIPZIDE PRODUCTIONS
Score: 1 star
 

It’s always likeable and encouraging seeing the birth of a new label in the little world of Freestyle music. Nevertheless, don’t think that all the artists featuring on this CD are young neophytes! They are known (mainly in the Connecticut area) where most of them are living. The passion, the motivation and the envy to do something for Freestyle music pushed them to release this compilation. 

But… some other very important factors are missing on this compilation as the originality and emotion. We are quickly disappointed that those factors are not reunited. The singers don’t possess a powerful and lively voice (except for Ashley, Angel Mena and Jocelyn), for each of them the vocal performance is oriented to a slow and flabby style possessing a serious lack of energy and conviction, which don’t confer a real emotion at any moment. If it’s an artistic and musical choice, it’s unfortunately not successful.

Several songs contain similar sounds and effects from the Progressive Freestyle movement. However, the rhythm beat differs and can be New School or Old School Freestyle. This musical interactivity doesn’t fill an obvious vocal deficiency. And it’s really regrettable because sometimes you can hear very beautiful melodies and compositions. We are more disappointed by this impression of waste. 

Over ten songs, only two tracks will entertain you and possess a real musical potential (Ashley “Quit all those games” and Angel Mena “Only you”). Not enough good songs to buy a CD!

 

FLYING STEPS: “b-town” (CD album) DANCE STREET / JET SET / ZYX MUSIC (Germany)
Score: 3 stars
 

It’s assuredly the Electro Freestyle album of the year 2001, which was wait much awaited in Germany. After many postponements, the CD is, at last, available in the record stores. Was it worth waiting? 

From their recording studio from the b-town Berlin, the seventh b-boys from Flying Steps (Amigo, Benny, Cash, Crazy-B, Derill, Little-B and Vartan) composed a quite good and captivating first Electro album. Of course, it contains all their hits that are out as “We are electric”, “In da arena (situation)”, “We gonna rock it” and “Breakin’ it down”, but also some other future success as the good tracks “The Wizard”, “Kings of 808”, “B-town power” and “We are robotic”(the only great gem not included is “Super sonic” done with Music Instructor in 1998). This band excels particularly in the Electro Freestyle domain. On the contrary, when they tried to imitate the style of Bomfunk mcs (and their smash hit “Freestylers”), the songs “Breakin’ it down”, “B-unitor II” et “Body rockin’” are a real mess, plain and simple, and boring to death! 

In addition to being remarkable and confirmed Break-Dancers, the Flying Step’s members are also good at music. Can we ask for something more?

Nah! I just advise you to buy this CD!

 

FREESTYLE HEAVEN VOL.3: “Feel the rush” (CD medley) SPG MUSIC PRODUCTIONS LTD (Canada)
Score: 2 stars
 

This third opus of “Freestyle Heaven” is simply dedicated to the Freestyle Rush (November 17th 2000) at The Arrow Hall located in Mississauga (suburb of Toronto). This showcase gathered for the occasion around 5000 fans of Freestyle and Euro Dance. This information doesn’t come from me, but from the commentary available inside the CD. And to continue: “Freestyle Heaven vol.3 presented by Tony Monaco, captures the spirit, the passion and the essence of what the Freestyle Rush was all about”. No problem… 

But, I have a question: “Will you pay for a ticket to hear some artists who have the same style of Freestyle?” I don’t think so!

The problem with this CD concerns the Planet Rock beat, which is omnipresent… too much present! Of course, I understand that this beat is very appreciated by the Canadian Freestylers. But guys, do you think that it will be more entertaining to mix the different genres together, and avoid putting too many productions with this beat? You need to wait for the awesome track of Dimi (the tenth song) to listen to another style of Freestyle music. Too long!

Besides, this second part of the megamix is more varied, but the selection is less interesting (except for “Can’t let you go” by Maurizio). On the contrary, the songs featured on the first part are high quality but they appear rapidly redundant as far as the style is concerned. Too bad! 

Don’t rush to buy this medley, listen to it before to avoid a potential disappointment!

 

FREESTYLE LEGENDS VOL.2 (CD compilation) MAX MUSIC & ENTERTAINMENT, INC.
Score: 2 stars
 

As for the first edition, Max Music & Entertainment continue to promote the local products (except for Nocera “Summertime summertime”, Lil’ Suzy “Take me in your arms”) and the music of the Florida area (sometimes non-Freestyle tracks!). 

So, you’ll find some songs from Erotic Exotic (“Take me as I am” & “I can give you what I need”), some productions from Lewis A. Martinee (Madi “Can you feel my love for you”, Paris By Air “Voices in your head” and The Cover Girls “One night affair”) and Frank Lords (Secret Society “Find yourself” & “Why did you run away”). But also the rare Freestyle gem “ She blinded me with love” by Remy and the wretched titles as “Sucia (que rica son)” by Los Sucios, “No one knows” by Wild Mary and the pitiful megamix from Erotic Exotic. 

This second edition appears very fair because there is a bunch of mediocre productions mixed to some rare tracks (valued by many collectors), but unfortunately, those Freestyle tunes are only available in original versions. It’s a bit thin!!!

 

FREESTYLE PROJECT: “Gotta feel da groove” (CD single) MNF RECORDS / ZYX MUSIC (Germany)
Score: 3 stars
 

Oh God, it’s so good to see Freestyle Project returning to a more exciting, inspiring, applied style, even if the musical approach remains the same! 

Over three years, Freestyle Project has released 11 tracks on singles and one medley. Despite this high amount of releases (around four singles per year), I never criticized one of them. Why? For two main reasons…

The first one concerns my column; it was not born or too new when their first singles (their best work) was out. The second one (the most important) is that Freestyle Project never managed to renew their style that became rapidly unproductive and non-creative. An astonishing and unbearable musical lethargy to tell you the truth!  

Hopefully, with this song, they come back to a more Electro Freestyle sonority, which contains the eternal Planet Rock beat, but this time, it is nevertheless less important and present. Freestyle Project forsakes Rap for this song (it’s acting for the best!) for the choice of vocoders, and offers us a more lively and successful melody. The keys are especially powerful and Progressive, allied to the melodious vocoders and a superb female voice). 

Otherwise, don’t start thinking that it is the big musical revolution within Freestyle Project. Nope! The band stays in the style, which made its renown. However, this time, it’s encouraging and appealing at the same time. I just wish that it is not only a sudden burst of inspiration!

 

FREESTYLE VOL.14 (CD compilation) ZYX MUSIC (Germany)
Score: 1 star
 

Frankly, I don’t know what to say about this new CD from this famous series of ZYX compilations, if it is a sentiment of growing exasperation!  

Once again, it proposes us many mediocre tracks, and some of them are really useless (Modern Bass “Fantasy girl 2001”, Bellebeat “Drops on my head”, Mr. Bass Feat. Streetsyler “Rock it”, Grandmaster Slice “Get your bad behind on the floor” and Moodscan “Computer love”), the best songs are for the majority out on maxi singles as Five of Ten “Feel the groove”, Freak Style “Freestyle in da house”, Chicco “Freestyle hit mix”. Even the disconcerting hit from Britney Spears “Oops!…I did it again” features on the content of this CD! Amazing, isn’t it? Let me laugh, if this artist is considered as a Freestyle singer, well, I think that the last song of Barbara Streisand is Freestyle. C’mon, can we stop the nonsense!!! 

Oops!…ZYX Music did it again!!!

 

LISETTE MELENDEZ: “Greatest hits” (CD compilation) FEVER RECORDS / WARLOCK RECORDS
Score: 3 stars
 

This is undeniably a great idea that this “Greatest hits” CD which offers us an anthology of Lisette Melendez’s best tracks. This compilation will permit to the young and new generation of Freestylers to discover one of the most talented Freestyle stars in the nineties!  

Mixed and edited by Carlos Berrios himself (who made with Franc Reyes the grandeur and the fame of this superb diva of New School Freestyle), this compilation is full of hits. You could appreciate and admire her style (New School rhythm beat and voices which are unique) throughout her Freestyle successes as “Together forever”, “A day in my life (without you)”, “Time passes by”, “Make the way”, “Make noise” or other less-known Freestyle titles as “The red zone”, “Stranger (in my house of love)”, “Please please me” (remixed by “ Mr. After Dark”). You will find some groovy tunes as “Goody goody” and “Imagination» and two ballads: “Will you ever save me” & “A place for you”.  

A beautiful gift for all of those who wanna discover the talent of this great, seldom seen singer. Hope that this compilation will give the envy to Lisette Melendez to come back on the musical scene. 

Her three full-length albums (“Together forever” [1991], “True to life” [1994] et “Imagination” [1998]) are the living proof that she can sing in any kind of musical genres, even if my domain of predilection remains Freestyle music.

 

STAR: “Could this be real” (CD single) NEBULOUS RECORDS
Score: 4 stars
 

After Mona Q., Plummet, and pretty soon Noel, Nebulous Records is once again at the origin of a project that should encounter a certain notoriety in the future. The summer will be HOT, and not nebulous. Okay, it’s not the best joke! 

This first single of this unknown 24-year-old-singer is however the one of a confirmed vocalist! Star is capable of singing in mezzo-soprano and in different languages (Italian, German, and French) and already performed in a few Operas; her voice is simply wonderful. Why is this title so interesting?

Because all the DJ’s who participated on this title are brimful of imagination! Each of them, has brought to their own version a good dose of creativity and originality, in composing some sounds and melodies that marry different styles as Freestyle, Progressive Freestyle, Breakbeat and Trance). The “X factor remix” n’ the “CC Lemonhead Club mix” (CC Lemonhead is a famous Breakbeat producer in Florida) mix with ingeniousness the Electro and Breakbeat genres to some melodies resounding to Trance sound and allowing some Progressive sound effects. The “Keibot Klub mix” (Keibot is a Breakbeat DJ from Alabama) is a bit more difficult to define because it makes the amalgam between the Breakbeat and the Electro with some Progressive sounds more oppressive and imposing. While the “Fords’s Original Club mix” take places in the Euro Dance genre (and is also oriented to the Trance music) it is too much commercial in my opinion! 

The kinds of musical mixture that can please or displease, but that won’t leave you indifferent! 

But a question burned my mind: “Can we continue talking about Freestyle music, or about Dance music”? In listening to some mixes, we can consider this mixture as Progressive Freestyle, but also as an evolution (in the positive sense of the term) of our music. 

But please don’t misunderstand my words, I stay an unconditional, die-hard, Old School Freestyle fan, but I think that it is very essential to advance…and this track is a perfect example of what to do! 

Star says: “My greatest ambition is to create music that makes people feel impassioned”. We can say that it’s magnificently successful and enthusiastic!

 

STEVIE B: “MegaMix 2001” (CD single) ZYX MUSIC (Germany)
Score: 1 star
 

It seems that ZYX Music’s label has decided to distribute every year, and at the same period, a new and inconsistent medley of Stevie B. Hmmm… 

In Germany, it should have been the summer Freestyle megamix of Stevie B for the year 2001… in fact, it will be an insignificant medley (one more!) of the star. But this time the selection is very far from being appetizing, and it’s once gain not well remixed! 

The first medley on this CD (the “Extended fast mix) is dedicated to Freestyle music with nevertheless two Dance music tracks. In 8’30 minutes, it retakes some titles (not always the best one’s) from the “Summer nights” full-length album (only distributed in Germany in 1998) as “I’m in love with you”, “Each time”, “Princessa”, “Silly love songs; two tracks from the “Freestyle Then And Now!” album as “If you ever believed” and “Miracles in the summertime”; and the song “Running back” available on the “Funky Melody” album released in 1994).

The second medley (the “Raw slow mix”) is oriented to the R&B and Groove styles and less exciting than the first one. Of a 7’28 minutes length, it reunites four tracks all extracted from the “Summer nights” album as “Never fall in love again”, “Never once again”, “I tried” and “Keep on rising” (a Rap session in Brazilian from a local artist, in duet with Stevie B, really astonishing!).

And the third megamix is a radio version of the first medley.  

In short, the songs are as old as the hills, and bad quality! It becomes very wearisome to see everything and anything is done with Stevie B’s songs. Even if this artist keeps his undisputed statute of “King of Freestyle”, his image in Germany starts suffering, because of this kind of boring projects.

 

SUMMER JAMS (CD compilation) SIDEBUSTERS ENTERTAINMENT LLC
Score: 3 stars
 

Yep, we are in summer…so, Sidebusters Entertainment thought about you and counts on making you dance during the whole summer period with their first comp “summer jams”. This is a well-found title, don’t you think?  

In 15 tunes, Kenny Moulton (a.k.a. KennyFreestyle) proposes you a majority of his own productions (as a producer and singer as well) that “sounds good” the Bay Area sound (Progressive Freestyle & West Coast sound). Some of the tracks are not to be presented anymore as “Please don’t go” and “The one you love” by Mecca (two songs which deserve a maxi single release), “Gave you my heart” & “Dancing in my heart” by Linda Low, “Missing U” by Action Girlz Featuring Joleen. You can also listen to some never-released-before titles from KennyFreestyle as the superb “Forever and always”, the excellent Old School Freestyle 2001 of “Stay with me”, “All we need” & “Lied to me” (very plain songs) and the Dance music track “Sex machine” (this is a part of Kenny’s personality that I didn’t know, Kenny we have to talk!!!). 

You will find two other songs from Action Gurlz but with this time behind the microphone the vocalist Grace Trias. “Gonna getcha” is not good, but on the contrary, “Think I’m in love” is simply fantastic, and appears as one of the best titles on this CD. I won’t linger on “Don’t ever want to let you go” by Daisey (it’s unfortunately always the same thing!) and on the insipid Rap track “Hot & Horny” from Rome and the very plain Techno/Trance track “Sound mind & body”.  

The selection is really good…So, let’s jam, it’s summer! ! !

 

My Top 10
(12”, tape & CD singles) 

1] Plummet: “Damaged” Nebulous Records
2] Sharyn Maceren: “One and one” Captaur Records
3] Christina Marie: “Turning away” (VR’s Freestyle mix) Vazram Records
4] Rockell: “What u did 2 me” (Linus mix) Robbins Entertainment LLC
5] Free System: “This love is not right 4 you” (Psycho remix) Freefiles Records / SPV (Germany)
6] Star: “Could this be real” Nebulous Records
7] SBP Featuring DJ Pauly: “What am I to do?” Silverback Records
8] The KromOzone Project Featuring Randy Lance: “Luv with U” TBC Productions
9] Make Believe: “For the last time” Vazram Records
10] Sweet TB: “Let me fly” MNF Records / ZYX Music (Germany)

  

My Top 5
(Compilations & medleys) 

1] D.J. Damon Cain A.K.A. Devious D. Presents Vintage Freestyle Grooves: “Collector’s Edition vol.1” (medley) MainSource Distribution
2] DMA Dance Best of Freestyle File volume 1 (medley) Tantrum Music, Inc.
3] Bad Boy Joe Presents The Best Of Freestyle Megamix (medley) What If Productions / E-Lastik Recordings, Inc.
4] Silverback Records Presents The SBP Product (compilation) Silverback Records
5] 100% Freestyle (compilation) Trendline Records / DMG (Germany)

 

 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] Elissa: “I can’t stop - Freestyle hits” Ti Amo Records (Germany)

5] Flying Steps: “b-town” Dance Street Gmbh / JetSet / ZYX Music (Germany)

 

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