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 # 20

(August / September / October 2002)
Score:
No Stars: Useless
1 star: Poor
2 stars: Average
3 stars: Good
4 stars: Excellent
5 stars: Masterpiece

 NOTE: I made the decision to publish my column every three months. Unfortunately, it’s due to the lack of new and interesting Freestyle releases. I will update the column with other articles in September. Have a nice reading and keep the Freestyle vibe alive!

Freestylely yours,

Francis Tanneur

  

ANTHONY NORRIS: “Freestyle megamix” (CD single) MNF RECORDS / ZYX MUSIC  [Germany]
Score: 2 stars

It was foreseeable and obvious that one day Anthony Norris (Marco Sandner) would benefit of his own medley insofar as his productions begin to have a certain impact in Germany and on the North American continent, and most particularly in Canada. Now it’s done with this CD single which is dedicated to his work.

Over the 8 tunes, you can listen to his main productions that will certainly allow you to tell yourself that this guy has always been surrounded of beautiful voices but nevertheless can make some incomprehensible choices by including some painful and unbearable sessions of Rap on some titles as “My Own way”, “Funky Beat” and “Sudden end”. This vocal choices are sincerely prejudicial to these songs especially when you appreciate the talent and the vocal beauty of Yasmine Bader and Martina Wörle, in particular on the tracks “Just 4 you”, “Why”, “Sudden end”, “All I want is you” and “Let’s party”. As for the “N.Y City Beats” song the vocodorized voice of the female interpretation is absolutely inaudible. Could someone help me understand what they say?

The musical style, in my humble opinion, uses the Planet Rock beat redundantly, even if most of his compositions contain superb and lively melodies…that’s what makes the difference!

This medley (once again wretchedly mixed) will nonetheless give you a good outline of Anthony Norris’ style.

 

BUBBLE J. FEATURING ANGEL: “Du bist mein Engel” (CD single) MNF RECORDS / ZYX MUSIC   [Germany]
Score: No star

It’s pretty rare that a German record company takes the risk to distribute a Freestyle single only sung in German language that will seriously restrict its possibilities for exportation. And frankly, I still don’t understand why Bubble J. chose this poor and off-put track for their 1st single.

I will be sincere with you, I have always encountered difficulties with the German language that I think particularly cold and seriously missing sensuality. Until now, the Freestyle songs have left me completely indifferent. Objectively, I said to myself: “Okay Francis, you don’t like and don’t understand this language, but try however to find an interest, maybe a musical one!” After a few listenings, in the end, nothing appealed to me…even from a more musical point of view! This is a too common production and a pale imitation of the Freestyle Project style. It’s not a surprise because Steven Maverick (Mr. Freestyle Project) is behind this project. Oops! But this time he was less brilliant!

That you understand or not the language is not a big deal, because this is the kind of song that you don’t care for. There isn’t a language barrier when you speak of mediocrity!

 

CHRISTINA MARIE: “Turn the lights down low” / “Beautiful night” (12 inch Vinyl) VAZRAM RECORDS  [USA]
“Turn the lights down low”
Score: 3 stars

“Beautiful night”
Score: 4 stars

Two songs for the price of one, what a nice gift from Vazram Records! And if I tell you that the two tracks are goods, especially the “Beautiful night” song, well there is no hesitation to have… just buy it!

Last year, the single “Turning away” revealed her; these two new jams will only confirm her undeniable talent as a singer. On the A side, you will discover with what insolence and vitality how she interprets “Turn the lights down low”. Wow! It’s very astonishing and very original. Moox proposes a “radio mix” that is more or less New School Freestyle containing a few Electro sonorities while the “VR’s club groove” from Mario Vazquez presents a lower rhythm in a more Progressive Freestyle sound which allies a range of sound effects (emulators, filtered and reverberated voices) to some rhythm beats which mixes Dance, New School and Tribal. An explosive and successful mix!

On the B side, the title “Beautiful night” is more captivating, thanks to the terrific version of Moox. The “Moox’s Darkgroove remix” offers a very dynamic Freestyle genre. It combines a fast rhythm beat to some Progressive keys. The melody is simply wonderful, beautiful, lively and catchy. This splendid version should enchant and ravish many of you. Moox did great job! Even if this name doesn’t speak to most of you, Moox is not a stranger in the Freestyle world. In 1997, he started to sing under the name of Shonn Bonnett with the song “Who is she?” under the JJ Flores’s label Throb Records. Even if this song has never been released on single (too bad!) it has been included on a Tim Spinnin’ Schommer’s medley available on the “B96 Mixmaster Throwdown vol.3” series (distributed by Mix Connection Multimedia). He left his singing career and became a producer & remixer. After a few collaborations with Steve and Charles Chavez (Cibola Productions) and a few projects with Upstairs Records that miscarried, Mario Vazquez gave him a chance on “Turning away” single, and now on “Turn the lights down low” and especially on “Beautiful night” that appears to be his best job. The “Album” version is less slower but also seducing.

As for the mix of “Turning away” proposed on this vinyl, it simply is a radio version.

In spite of his young age (she’s only 18), she is already very professional and she sings admirably well with full of passion, emotion and talent. Besides, she is very well surrounded by professionals.

Christina Marie seems to be promised to a splendid singing career.

 

COLLAGE FEATURING LIL SUZY: “Don’t you want me” (CD single) ZYX MUSIC  [Germany]
Score: 2 stars

This personal exegesis of one of Human League’s classics (one of the most important Pop bands of the Eighties) could be more than a pleasant and fair remake, if…

If Adam Marano (a.k.a. Collage) had put more enthusiasm in this duet which rapidly appears very bland and flavorless. Collage and Lil Suzy notably lack of warmth and complicity in their interpretation.

If only Adam Marano stopped using a few artifices as the filtering of voices. It becomes very urgent to hear “real voices” and not to use the same vocodorized and modified voices as it’s often the case in Germany. And if Adam Marano also used different key sounds than those Euro keys you hear over and over in most German productions. It would definitely be more interesting and less annoying, don’t you think?

Too much “IF” to adhere to this new Adam Marano’s production which remains much too fair and drab. Nevertheless, this track didn’t leave me completely indifferent because I’m a big fan of the original Human League’ song. The Freestyle style and the beat are close enough from the original to give this song a Pop Freestylish orientation. Not bad, but not terrific either!

 

FREESTYLE EXPLOSION VOL.7 (CD compilation) THUMP RECORDS  [USA]
Score: 2 stars

As I said in the past, this series of compilations is mainly destined to those who discover the Freestyle music, and in particular the Latin Hip-Hop sound, or to those who don’t have the money to gather the old hits that participated in the fame of our music.

On this CD, there are mostly tracks from the 80s as “Sidewalk talk” by Jellybean, “Pop goes my love” by Freeez, “In my eyes” by Stevie B, “What’s on your mind (Pure energy)” by Information Society, “Why you wanna go” by Fascination, “I know you love me” by Trinere, “Baby don’t go” by FFWD, “Open up your heart” by Raiana Page, “Touch me with your heart” by Eileen Flores. And also some non Freestyle tracks as “Baby talk” by Alisha, “Jump back” by Dhar Braxton and “Touch me (all night long)” by Fonda Rae.

Everything is said! It’s up to you to see if this CD is worth buying.

 

FREESTYLE HEAVEN VOL.4 (CD medley) SPG MUSIC LTD  [Canada]
Score: 3 stars

As every conscientious DJ, Tony Monaco has to carefully follow the musical actuality, the different tendencies and also the singers/bands that start monopolizing both attention and audience, locally and internationally speaking. This medley appears as a window of the current Freestyle productions in selecting the most recent tracks. But it also mixes a variety of other genres as Breakbeat, West Coast Freestyle, New School Freestyle and Trance music, without forgetting to privilege some beats as Planet Rock and Electro that do very well with Canadian Freestylers.

This medley puts in exergue the rapprochement (more important than in the past) between two countries: Canada and Germany. Year after year, month after month, Canada always plebiscites the Planet Rock beat in their productions, but the Canadian audience seems to enjoy more and more the German products, and the market tends toward the Euro and Electro Freestyle styles from Germany. The content of this CD reflects the current interest of the Freestylers with the selection of five German tracks (Ceres “Open your eyes”, Sweet TB “Let me fly”, Freestyle Project “Get up and party”, Anthony Norris “Just 4 you” and The Officer & Elios “Baby gimme all your love”).

So, most of the tracks possess a Planet Rock beat, but others offer different musical styles as the superb remix of “I wish” by Kathy Phillips, the not to be missed song by Rockell “What U did 2 me”, the nice Breakbeat remix of “Loves goes on” by Natalise and the refreshing and lively remix of “Something” by Lasgo that mixes Electro and Trance keys and melodies..

Tony Monaco has selected a bunch of excellent tunes, and this fourth edition is the best one in this series of medleys.

 

JOHNNY O: “Diana” / “Fantasy girl 2002” (CD single) ZYX MUSIC  [Germany]
Score: 1 star

I was very surprised to note that for his come back and first single (extract from his new album) Johnny O has opted for two old Freestyle hits. “Diana” was originally sung by Collage 8 years ago while “Fantasy girl” is considered as a Latin Hip-Hop classic of the end of the 80s. This single was already proposed (only in Germany) on 2 different singles, one in 1998 and a second in 2000) on ZYX Music. How strange, especially for a come back!

I was trying to be positive and I was expecting that this “Diana” remake could not be worse than the original, and these two new versions of “Fantasy girl 2002” could not be as useless as the two previous editions proposed by the German remixer Snapshot. I was right, but nevertheless, I can’t say that this new versions pleased me! Indeed, Johnny O still haves the same and nice tone of voice (his fans will be happy to know that), but concerning this musical choice, it’s another story! The Euro Freestyle genre of “Diana” is very slow and particularly boring and frankly not original, and the few sound effects available in the song are also very deadly dull. And the two versions (one Freestyle and the other an R&B ballad) of “Fantasy girl” are in the same low quality, not very exciting. The R&B version is particularly botched.

We could have expected something better from Johnny, but unfortunately, nothing happened. What a pity!

 

JOHNNY O: “The sounds of my heart” (CD album) ZYX MUSIC  [Germany]
Score: No stars

This was supposed to be a blazing come back of one of the most popular Freestyle singer, in reality, it became a “nice” and disconcerting failure. And it’s a Johnny O’s fan who tells you that…

When I bought this album, I didn’t expect such a musical disaster. Of course, I also didn’t expect the myriad of new Old School Freestyle who made the glorious days of this prestigious artist, only correct Euro Freestylish titles. I must confess that I was totally wrong, the result is insignificant, whatever the genres (Freestyle, Dance, Disco House, R&B, Ballad, etc.) that Johnny O used throughout the 15 songs. Personally, none of the songs (I said none) did get my attention.

I was astounded by the poor quality of the remakes of “Fantasy girl”, “Memories” and “Runaway”. But also by the lack of originality on the other tracks that only appear as mediocre copycats of styles or bands already existing. Just listen for instance to the song “Settle down”, and you will have the bad impression to hear an ersatz of one of the Underdog Project. It’s the same old thing!

Beyond of the respect I have for this singer, it’s very difficult for me not to say that this album is useless and lamentable. An album that will quickly fall into oblivion, and deserves it. Sorry but it’s true!

It won’t certainly trigger a heartbeat in Freestylers, but it might indeed cause a heart failure. Such a musical poverty is really a shame, especially after all those years of expectation!

 

NU IMAGE: “I’ll always love you” (CD single Promo) ARIA / PAYUP RECORDINGS / EMI  [USA]
Score: 5 stars (Real School Radio, Extended & Multi Edit)
Score: 4 stars (Freaktranzstyle Radio & Extended)
Score: 3 stars (Metal mix)
Score: 1 star (701 mix)

10 years after “Tears in my eyes” and 7 years after “Sounds of love”, the original members of Nu Image Tony G. (lead vocal) and Tyree Hernandez (background vocals) are back. Two members have been added to the group with the vocal back-ups from Victor Zapata and the introduction of Pompeo Messano as a producer/remixer/writer. They are inseparable since their first collaboration on the “Stylin’ Free 2: 1999, Freestyle finale” compilation of which most of the titles were produced by Pompeo Messano.

This new single from Nu-image is a masterpiece, and I can only speak very highly of this terrific group and song. The first two versions “Real School radio & extended” are for the Old School Freestyle buffs. The beat is powerful and the magnificent and moving voice of Tony G. does the rest. I’m still roused! The “Multi Edit” is admirably multi edited by Patrice Enjelvin, a French lover of edits. This is the first official work; previously he only remixed for his own pleasure. This splendid mix will ravish all the amateurs of edits; it’s an extended and remixed version of the two first Old School versions of the CD.

The “Freaktranzstyle radio & extended” marry Electro Freestyle and Trance music. Once again, this is a great success because Pompeo Messano knew wisely how to mix those two styles, and he composed superb and beautiful melodies. The “Metal mix” is a pure invention of Pompeo Messano who has mixed the Old School Freestyle genre to Heavy Metal. A pure dedication to genre because he was a member of a Heavy Metal band for years before he first met Tony G. and Tyree H. This version will certainly remind the Dub mix concocted by Carlos Berrios on “On the loose” interpreted by Jasmin, which also used the electric guitar. As for the “701 mix” it’s certainly the less successful version from the CD. The style is a kind of Pop and Rock mixed together. Definitely not my cup of tea!

As you’ve understood, this third single from Nu Image is exceptional. It’s been a while since I haven’t felt such a pleasure and enthusiasm for a Freestyle single. Undeniably, THE single of the year 2002. Thank you guys for this pure instant of happiness.

 

VICIOUS V PRESENTS FREESTYLE PLUS (CD compilation) SILENT PARTNER RECORDS / METRO RECORDS  [USA]
Score: 2 stars

This comp could be called “Vicious V. presents Joe C. Grandberg’s productions” because most of the titles were composed and produced by this producer  not yet well-known from the Freestyle audience (except for the West Coast Freestylers). This CD will give an idea of his works.

Joe Grandberg is part of this line of producers who work for Freestyle music but who are also at ease with other musical genres and combines in his productions different styles and sounds of Freestyle and Dance music. Over the 15 tracks, 8 have been produced by Joe Grandberg. Of course, the West Coast Freestyle jam that starts to interest many radios and DJs is the future hit “Reminisce” from Malyssa. A good Freestyle track which oscillates between Buffy and M:G’s style and should arouse a great interest in the upcoming weeks from the Freestylers and professionals alike. Two mixes are available. You will listen again to the classic “Searching for love” by Alexis (one of the best productions from Joe Grandberg with “One and one” by Sharyn Maceren that is not available on this CD). You will stop by (maybe) the very fair “Half a chance” by Divinity (I personally do have a problem with her voice!). Then you could hear a few non Freestyle productions from Joe Grandberg as the superb instrumental House Disco “The rhythm dub” and the Dance track from Sharyn Maceren “A little more time”. On the contrary, it’s inadvisable to listen to the unbearable Dance song “Higher” by Sophia Michelle and also to the Electro and vocodorized track “P*rno star”, two big deceptions from Joe Grandberg. It happens too, but hopefully it’s very rare!

Concerning the 7 other titles, you will be delighted by two classics from Adriana, “Forever” and “Until tomorrow” and also the excellent Funky/Dance gem from Malyssa “Tonight” and the Progressive Freestyle song from Michelle Diaz “I won’t cry for you” that is not bad.

As for the following three tracks “Stand up (remix)” by Epic Voices, “You’re my reason” by Hi Impact and “You killed my heart (remix)” by Steelo, I advise you to just ignore them that will avoid you a pure waste of time. They are of strictly not interest.

You have to know that most of the productions are old; some of them are available on singles and others on compilations. So, it’s a little bit too bad to propose a selection of West Coast Freestyle and Dance already available on other supports. Newer releases would be desirable.

 

My Top 5
(12” & CD singles) 

1] Nu Image: “I’ll always love you” (Multi Edit) Aria / PayUp Recordings / EMI / Orpheus [USA]

2] David Guetta Featuring Chris Willis: “Just a little more love” (Elektro maxi) Virgin SA [France]

3] Christina Marie: “Beautiful night” (Moox’s darkgroove mix) Vazram records [USA]

4] Daft Punk: “Harder better faster stronger” (Breakers break remix) Virgin [France]

5] Poze: “You are the only one” State Of Mass Entertainment [USA] 

 

My Top 5
(Compilations & medleys) 

1] DMA Dance Best of Freestyle File volume 1 (medley) Tantrum Music, Inc. [USA]

2] Stylin’ Free Presents Metropolitan’s Ladies Of Freestyle Vol.1, 2, & 3 (medleys) Metropolitan Recording Corporation [USA]

3] Bad Boy Joe Presents The Best Of Freestyle Megamix Vol.2 (medley) What If Productions / E-Lastik Recordings, Inc. [USA]

4] Freestyle Fever’s Divas vol.1 (medley) Fever Records / Warlock Records [USA]

5] Freestyle Heaven vol.4 (medley) SPG Music LTD [Canada]

 

My Top 5
(Albums) 

1] Aby: “The Greatest hits” Empire Music Werks / Hot JWP Music [USA]

2] Lil Suzy: “The greatest hits” Empire Music Werks / Hot JWP Music / BMG Music [USA]

3] Flying Steps: “b-town” Dance Street Gmbh / JetSet / ZYX Music [Germany]

[4] Safire: “Bringing back the groove” Globestar Records [USA]

5] Freestyle Project: “spinning da wheels” MNF Records / ZYX Music [Germany]

 

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