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

ISSUE # 27

(July / August / September 2004)

 

 

 

Score:

No Stars: Useless

1 star: Poor

2 stars: Average

3 stars: Good

4 stars: Excellent

5 stars: Masterpiece

 

 

 

BAD BOY JOE PRESENTS THE BEST OF FREESTYLE MEGAMIX VOL.5 (CD medleys- 2 CD set)

WHAT IF PRODUCTIONS, LLC  [USA]

CD N1: Score: 3 stars

CD N2: Score: 2 stars

 

It is indubitable that this series of medleys (remixed by Bad Boy Joe) became over a few years an indispensable product for the Freestyle buffs who enjoy megamixes. On disc n1, he gathered 18 Old School Freestyle and Electro Freestyle gems: Joyce Sims “(You are my) all and all”, Hanson & Davis “Hungry for your love”, Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam With Full Force “I wonder if I take your home”, Nocera “Summertime summertime”, India “Dancing on the fire”, Latin Rascals “Arabian nights”, Sweet Sensation “Hooked on you”, Alisha “All night passion”, Sa-fire “Boy, I’ve been told”, TKA “Come get my love”, Noel “Like a child”, The Voice in Fashion “Only in the night”, George Lamond “Bad of the heart”, Shana “I want you”, Trinere “I’ll be all you ever need”, Nice & Wild “Diamond girl”, Debbie Deb “When I hear music”, Rockell “In a dream”. And a bonus track; the “Freestyle megamix radio edit” remixed by Bad Boy Joe himself.

It is normal to notice that the mobility of the mix has become palpable medley after medley. Bad Boy Joe has found his own style: he is only editing between the tracks to easily mix the songs.

 

As for disc n2 “Freestyle New Generation”, the medley has been concocted this time by the Rivera “brothers”. It proposes 19 tracks: Artie “Amame”, Truvoices “I wanna go back”, Grey “Never surrender”, Sharyn Maceren “In just one night” & “You’re not ready”, Caramelo “You’re the love of my life”, Olga Rivera “Do you want me?”, Nick Colon “Give into me”, Poze “Take it away”, Ayna “Dreams come and go”, Willie Valentin “My lady”, Christina Marie “Turning away”, Freeze “Without you”, Latin Nation “Saying goodbye”, Phillip Anthony “Can this be?”, Synthia Figueroa “Magic night”, Lea & Casely “If you say my eyes are beautiful”, Adriana “Summer and the skies” and Julissa “I must go on”.

The producer/remixer Willie “Valentin” Rivera took care of the selection and did the mixing while Freddy “The Edit” Rivera post-produced and multi-edited this medley. And then, contrarily to Bad Boy Joe’s medley, it is a beachcomber of edits, sometimes a bit confuse and unmethodical in the construction. The track selection is also as unequal as in the other volumes; there are good songs mixed with some cheesy tracks.

 

This double disc seems to prove that there is an ever-increasing rift between the Old School Freestyle genre (it already showed its mettle) and the New School style which seems encountering huge difficulties to prove anything because the majority of those tracks are pretty often weak!

 

CERES: “Give me tonight” (CD Single - Limited edition -)

FLIC FLAC RECORDS / DMG  [Germany]

Score: 3 stars

 

Originally produced by the late Ligosa Records’s team (Chris Barbosa & Mark Liggett), it is obvious that it will be very difficult for any producer or singer to approach this formidable hit by Shannon.

 

But, it would provoke a kind of iniquity not to listen to this remake impeccably sung by Ceres. I have nothing to say about Ceres’s vocal performance, it is always moving and powerful. As for the styles, it proposes two Dance mixes (Radio mix + Extended mix) and a Freestyle version (Freestyle remix). Whatever the Dance or Freestyle versions, Snark Music producers got the good idea to impose a Latin flavor with the addition of a guitar. It gives some soul and warmth to this remake. Otherwise, we can regret a little bit the style of the Freestyle version that is too slow and common.

It’s just a little reproach because the song is very likeable to listen to.

 

CHRISTINE TURNER: “Lost in love” (CD Single- Limited edition -)

MIAMI BASS RECORDS / DMG  [Germany]

Score: 3 stars

 

This young American of 26 years old, native of New Jersey, releases her fist single after waiting almost 6 years.

 

Christine Turner started her career with the song “Love at first sight” on Pryme Tyme Records (“Freestyle a new dimension in tyme vol.2”) and then she began a long career with the title “Lost in love”. In fact, the title was first released in 2001 on the compilation “Freestyle Parade 2K1 (CD2 of 2)” then on several compilations on German record company Miami Bass Records from 2001 to 2004 (“Miami Freestyle Hits vol.6”, “USA Freestyle Collection”, “100% Freestyle vol.4” and more recently on “100% Freestyle megamix”) and also on Freestyle vol.21 (ZYX Music GmBh). Now, at least, it’s available on maxi-CD single.

 

Produced by Chris “In the mix” Sammarco, who follows and produces her since her first steps as a singer, it features three Freestyle versions on the CD (Sammarco’s radio Freestyle mix, Sammarco’s extended Freestyle mix and the Original mix). The mixes are as good whatever the version.

Only the original version (slower and melodic) differs from the two other mixes but it remains nice. Nevertheless, as the extended version, the original version begins with a Dance/House intro and appears again during the track or at the end (depending on the mix); like it or not, this is definitively Chris Sammarco’s signature.

 

A lively track (especially because of the way she sings)! The melody keeps running through my head even a few hours later…and that is always a good sign!

 

DROP THE BEAT (CD Compilation)

EMPIRE MUSIC WERKS / HOT JWP MUSIC / UNIVERSAL MUSIC &VIDEO DISTRIBUTION  [USA]

Score: 3 stars

 

Over 14 tunes, this compilation presents a representative panel about this wonderful movement called Electro Funk (Electro Hip-Hop) that was raging in the 80’s.

 

Here is the line-up of the CD: Straffe “Set it off”, Newcleus “Jam on it”, Man Parrish “Hip Hop, Bee bop”, Extra T’s “E.T. boogie”, Connie “Funky little beat”, Spike VST And Taz Money “Shut up and dance”, Trinere “All night”, George Kranz “Din Daa Daa”, Quadran Six “Body Mechanic”, Afrika Bambaataa Featuring Soul Sonic Force “Planet Rock”, Debbie Deb “When I hear music”, B.O.S.E. “Rock the world”, Megatrons “Rock the Planet” and Gucci Crew II “Booty Shake”.

 

It’s important to announce you that most of the hits available on the CD are the club and extended versions from the original 12” vinyls, which are now pretty hard to find.

A must have compilation for all those who missed those titles (remastered for the occasion) when they were out or for those who just want to discover this musical genre.

 

The music will grab you even after two decades!

 

HIRAM D: “Make you mine” (CD Single - Limited edition -)

MIAMI BASS RECORDS / DMG  [Germany]

Score: 3 stars

 

If his artist’s name doesn’t ring a bell to you, he has nevertheless a 13-year career in Freestyle music behind him.

 

Hiram D (don’t pay any attention to the “D”, this is a typography mistake during the printing of the CD) is in reality Hiram Ortiz. Native of New Jersey’s state, this young man of 32 years old started his singing career in 1991 when he was invited to become the third member of a local band “Latin Destiny” (the other members were Junito & Rafael Alicea). Their title was made available recently on both following CDs “100% Freestyle vol.5” and “100% Freestyle megamix” (Miami Bass Records). After they worked with a such talented producer as Wilson Yepez (producer of Peter Fontaine, Amy Tori, Coro, etc.), they met in the spring of 1992 “The Blade To The Rhythm’s” crew of producers (Juan Kato, Ray “Roc” Checo and Eddie Frente). The same year, he did the vocals for 3 tracks under the name of “Thoze Guyz” for the CD “Live and direct from the Digital Dungeon” (Sony Music/Soho). At the same time he made a record deal with Eddie Frente (Nicole Daniels’s producer) and he recorded the original version of “I will not cry”. Still in 1992, the “Latin Destiny” members split up. The year after, Hiram heard about a new label that was emerging in the Philadelphia/New Jersey’s area: Tazmania Records. He got in touch with one of the producers, Anthony Ponzio. At the same time, Hiram decided to contact his old friends from Latin Destiny and only Rafael accepted his proposal to sing again together. The title “I will not cry” was re-recorded and presented to Tazmania Records label in early 1995. The new stage name was “Natural”. The song was published in 1996 on the compilation “Tazmania vol.7”. Parallel to his singing career, Hiram Ortiz animated a Freestyle show for the radio WMCX 88.9 FM every Saturday evenings. This beautiful journey lasted from 1995 to 1998 before he “passed the torch” to his friend Vinnie Sorrisso (from Sicily). Otherwise, he continued to co-present the show until his graduation in 2002. But let’s go back to his career as a singer. With the group “Natural”, in 1999 he released some other tracks as “Reveal your love” (Tazmania vol.14), “I wanna know” (Tazmania The New Series Level A) and “The night” (Freestyle a new dimension in tyme vol.2 – Pryme Tyme Records). “The night” was re-recorded with Rafael and by producer Chris “In the mix” Sammarco after he met him in 1998 when he was promoting Christine Turner. At the beginning of the year 1999, Rafael and Hiram sang for the last time together. But it was in late 2000 that Hiram started his solo career with the first version recording of…”Make you mine” by producer Wilson Yepez. Despite of a very positive answer to the song, Hiram decided to ask Chris Sammarco to do a remix of the track.

 

Those are the versions that you can now find on this first CD single from Hiram (D). As in his previous productions (“Lost in love” by Christine Turner for instance), Chris “In the mix” Sammarco continues to marry Dance/House rhythms to a Freestyle beat, but this time he used a sparkling Old School Freestyle beat. It concerns three mixes” (Sammarco’s radio & club mix + Chorus first club mix).

There is also one purely Old School Freestyle version (Drumapella), and an “Instrumental mix” of the club version.

Even if Hiram’s voice is not pretty powerful, this is a real pleasure to listen to this single.

 

HIT FACTORY JOHNNY BUDZ (CD Medley)

TOMMY BOY ENTERTAINMENT,LLC.  [USA]

Score: 4 stars

 

This megamix is mainly destined to Dance music & Trance music addicts; 10 titles over 15 are associated to these two categories. But it also contains some tunes that are very close from Freestyle or oriented to Breakbeat. It should sparkle a keen interest in Freestyle buffs as for instance David Guetta “Just a little more” [Electro mix], The Roc Project Featuring Tina Novak “Dj vu (it’s hard to believe)” [Johnny Budz Breaks mix], Tina Ann “Too late” [JJ Flores remix], Jocelyn Enriquez “Why” [Revolution mix] and Motorcycle “As the rush comes” [Breaks mix].

 

It’s good to precise that the content of this medley is really enthusiastic and the work done by Johnny Budz is particularly inspired and truly rejoicing for the ears! He notably made the good choice in the classification of tracks and his manner of mixing is simple but delightful.

 

This is one of the best medleys (all kind of genres) from Johnny Budz but also the CD that I listen to over and over, without getting bored. I can’t wait for the second volume!

 

Johnny Budz, you know what to do…

 

LATIN ONE STOP MUSIC PRESENTS THEN AND NOW! (CD Medley)

LATINO ONE STOP MUSIC  [USA]

Score: 1 star

 

Luis “Like Dis” Mendoza was introduced to the Freestyle audience in 2001. He remixed the third volume of the “Ladies of Freestyle” series of medleys.

 

He comes back under the banner of a famous retail store very well known from the Dallas area (Latin One Stop Music) where he lives too. This megamix gathers 18 Freestyle titles as “Hard to get” (The S-Factor), “Who you lovin tonight?” (21 East), “Dreamboy/Dreamgirl” (Cynthia & Johnny O), “You were meant for me” (Synthia Figueroa), “Precious” (Spanish Fly), “Give me…a reason” (Buffy), “Summer heat” (Jaime), “Dedicated” Truvoices, “Touch me” (Synthia Figueroa), “Until tomorrow” (Adriana), “Latin Kraze” (George Patino), “Player’s eyes” (Julissa), “All night long” (Diana Salinas), “Seductive love” (Tora), “Where are you now” (Jossette), “Special Lady” (Chris Diaz), “Radio [everybody’s dancin’]” (Danielle Simeone) and “I’ll always love you” (Nu Image).

 

This medley mixes songs from “then” and “now”, it contains some Old School Freestyle tracks especially from the East Coast but it privileges mainly the local production and many titles sung by the Bay Area artists. It’s not a chance because most of the Texan production possesses a similar sound to that of the Bay Area; I mean Progressive Freestyle and West Coast Freestyle.

 

It is very regrettable to notice that Luis Mendoza’s job is this time pretty disappointing; the mixing is boring and the few edits between the songs are simply ridiculous. Besides, there is a lack of professionalism as far as concerns the sound of this medley, certain songs (the original source is a vinyl) weren’t cleaned up with a software (useful for this job).

 

So, you will perhaps be seduced by the pin-up available on the CD cover but less by the content.

 

MC.G GABRIEL: “Depends on you” (CD Single - Limited edition -)

MIAMI BASS RECORDS / DMG  [Germany]

Score: 1 star

 

Maybe I keep repeating myself but unfortunately there is nothing to say about this CD single. Alright, the style of the 2 Freestyle versions (Radio mix + Extended mix) is not disagreeable but it sounds like the old stuff already produced by MC.G. Gabriel (with Snark Music) or as a singer with his previous title “Fantasy”. The arrangement sounds are always the same. Fortunately, the female vocal presence of Sherly brings some rhythm and efficacy, if not, we’d be bored to death!

 

I won’t talk about the two Euro Dance mixes, they are execrable.

 

The formula is easy, but I can’t resist doing it: “It depends on you to buy it”!!!

 

MICMAC RECORDS, INC; PRESENTS BANGIN’ BEATS THEN & NOW! (CD medleys- 2 CD set)

MICMAC RECORDS, INC.  [USA]

CD N1: Score: 1 star

CD N2: Score: 3 stars

 

After the 2003 limited edition CD “MicMac 360 Tour” that was available during the tour, this double disc is officially the very first production from the mythic Freestyle/Dance music label that Mickey Garcia decided to re-launch.

 

Disc n1 “Then” (mixed by Baron Lopez) retakes the classics from the MicMac Records’s catalogue: “No more tears” (Abby Lynn), “Listen to my cries” Body & Style, “Crying over you” (Soav), “You” (Rios Sisters), “Kiss me touch me” (Angie), “Why did you do it” (Exo), “Wondering” (Tonasia), “First true love” (Tiana), “No regrets” (David), “You’ll never find another love” (And More), “Soul on fire” (And More), “Missing you” (Charlie Rock), “In the name of love” (Charlie Babie) and “Games of love” (Tonasia). The final result is a disappointment.

Of course, the track selection is exceptional, but his way of mixing and editing is a pure disaster, a real catastrophe to be honest! There is no construction, and the transition between songs is most of the time not well done. Assuredly, we gonna forget about this medley quickly.

 

As for disc n2 “Now” mixed by Mickey Garcia and edited by Dynamic Duo XL (Dave “The One” Mendez & Freddy “The Edit” Rivera), it mainly compiles the new generation of Freestyle artists & bands: Truvoices “Dedicated”, Synthia Figueroa “Touch me”, Artie & Aby “Sinful eyes”, Grey “Never surrender”, Artie & Judy Torres “A man with a dream”, Danielle Simeone “Radio (everybody’s dancin’)”, Exo “Why did you do it (remix)”, DJ CSI featuring Allison “Won’t say goodbye”, Joee “Better than you”, Zoe “All alone”, Nick Colon “Release me”, Christina Marie “Now I know”, Nu Image “There’s no love”, Two Without Hats “Try yazz again (remix)”, Willie Valentin “No matter what”, Ruben Gonzalez “You’ll never know” and Joey Altura featuring Poze “You are the only one”. In general, the selection is agreeable to listen to. But the main interest of this megamix is the editing work done by Dynamic Duo XL. Even if sometimes we can find some titles exaggeratedly edited, nevertheless, their work confers to the medley a nice rhythm and a supplementary interest.

 

Until the release of new productions that should be out at any moment (we hope so!) it is disappointment that takes the first place in this release.

 

100% FREESTYLE MEGAMIX (CD Medley)

MIAMI BASS RECORDS / DMG / SONYMUSIC  [Germany]

Score: 1 star

 

This medley is supposed to summarize (in less than one hour) about 32 titles published in the 5 previous volumes of the series “100% Freestyle”. So you can imagine the dexterity of the DJ. It is Markus D’Ambrosi (a.k.a. DJ Diavolo) who buckled down to the task again, the appointed DJ from Distel Media GmBh (DMG)

The major problem of this DJ is its way of mixing the tracks; there is no personal touch (no sessions of edits or at least a more polished / neat work between the titles). My point is that you only have a succession of clips! It becomes inevitably uninteresting!

Besides, the selection doesn’t always give us satisfaction! Why? As in most of medleys, there is a bunch of good and pretty bad titles that don’t fit together mixed without any creativity. Voil!!!!

 

So, in my opinion, if you already possess these five volumes from that series I wisely advise you to make a deadlock on that medley. And I invite you to record all the titles that you are interesting in and judiciously use all the professional software that are available on the market. I’m sure that you will do a better work than DJ Diavolo!

 

VINCENT VEGAS: “Beverly” / “I need your love” (CD Single)

ONE X MUSIC  [Canada]

Score: 1 star

 

One X Music is a new Indie label located in the Toronto area: the city of Vaughan. It was created by Frank Del Vecchio (a.k.a. DJ Frank Alexander) with the complicity of Vince Iuliano (a.k.a. Vincent Vegas)

DJ Frank Alexander is not a newcomer in the Freestyle business because he was a mobile DJ (1990/1999) and he has already worked with some singers as Manuella (one of the best Canadian Freestyle singer). He notably produced and wrote the superb tracks “Don’t try to come back to me” and “Do you”, and the Dance track “3 am” by The Tamburi Project. At the fall 2003, he met Vincent Vegas and they decided to work together.

 

It is a pity that the quality of their first production is so bad. “Beverly” is a song whose versions (original + club mix) are oriented to Euro Dance and include some unbearable sonorities and from time to time a common Freestyle beat. Besides, the track “I need your love” is a not convincing Freestyle track. The slow rhythm beat and the melody are pleasant indeed, but the vocal performance by Vincent Vegas is far from perfect. The use of vocoders is not very wise, it gives us the clear impression of hiding something; it may be that Vincent Vargas sings out of tune sometimes!

 

For the second single we hope for a more powerful track, vocally and musically speaking!

 

 

 Top 5

(12” & CD singles)

 

1] Nu Image: “I’ll always love you” (Multi Edit) Aria Records [USA]

 

2] Jennifer Glass: “Dreamin’” (Christian Dio Magical mix) Power Jamm

    Productions / Caliber Records [USA

 

3] Ashley: “Here we are” Sterling Records [USA]

 

4] Joe: “Better than you” SPG Music LTD / DEP [Canada]

 

5] Richie Santiago: “Black rose of love” Miami Bass Records / DMG / Sony Music [Germany]

 

 

My Top 5

(Compilations & medleys)

 

1] Hit Factory Johnny Budz (medley) Tommy Boy Entertainment LLC [USA]

 

2] Bad Boy Joe Presents The Best Of Freestyle Megamix vol.5 (medley – Old School mix) What If Productions LLC [USA]

 

3] 100% Freestyle Vol.5 (compilation) Miami Bass Records / DMG/ Sony Music

     [Germany]

 

4] NONE

 

5] NONE

 

My Top 5

(Albums)

 

1] Nu Image: “The Album” Aria Records [USA]

 

2] NONE

 

3] NONE

 

4] NONE

 

5] NONE