MUSIC REVIEWS

ISSUE # 28

(October / November / December 2004)

 

 

Score:

No Stars: Useless

1 star: Poor

2 stars: Average

3 stars: Good

4 stars: Excellent

5 stars: Masterpiece

 

 

 

CERES: “Dancing with an angel” (CD Single - Limited edition -)

FLIC FLAC RECORDS / DMG  [Germany]

Score: 1 star

 

This single was released during summer 2004 at the same time as the single “Give me tonight”. This remake from Double You will appeal more to the attention of Euro Dance buffs than to the Freestylers. I personally stayed insensitive to those three Dance versions and to the Freestyle ones too!

 

Produced and remixed by M-Traker, most of the versions are destined to those who enjoy dance Music and especially those who appreciate Hi NRG, Euro Dance or the ultra commercial Trance.

The Freestyle album’s version is also available plus a quite insignificant Freestyle remix produced by M-Tracker. M-Tracker persists in a too common Planet Rock beat which appears quickly syrupy and boring. As for the Euro Dance / Trance partition, well, the synths are particularly coarse and over-familiar to this style. So, nothing new on the horizon…unfortunately.

 

Ceres’s interpretation is also less incisive, due to the fact that she only repeats the same thing into the chorus while M.C. G. Gabriel sings away. He does what he can…in vain. His poor vocal performance is once again monotonous and soporific.

 

DANCE MUSIC ARTISTIK STYLE (CD Compilation - Limited edition-)

ARTISTIK RECORDINGS [USA]

Score: No star

 

He took a sabbatical year after he announced his retirement from the Freestyle business! It seems to be pretty difficult for the producer Willie Valentin Rivera to stay away from Freestyle music especially when you have such a fondness for this genre, isn’t it Mr. Rivera?

 

We can immediately notice that the 13 productions don’t really differ from one another (except for “Here we are” by Ashley [produced by Edwin Ramos Jr.] and “Tell me boy” by Chereé [Produced by Dengel & Alex Baldrich]). The way of singing is often the same (for the male vocals the singers have practically the same timber of voice) and the titles are also musically poor, using over and over the same kind of tricks especially for the keys, rhythm beats and sounds. This is typical of Willie Valentin and of course of Artistik! That is also really intriguing and bothering at the same time it is the fact that even when Willie Valentin doesn’t produce a track, it sounds as a Willie Valentin’s production (“Tell me why” by Nathan, for instance)! It seems that this new generation of artists and producers that have been emerging for a few years don’t possess any artistic ID. On the contrary, they plebiscite something that already exists.

And the big disappointment of this CD is Chereé’s track. This production is simply an offence to the talent of this great Freestyle diva. Even some demos are more successful and serious. Her superb voice is sometimes inaudible. This track deserves a better remix.

 

We could have expected that this break would have permitted Willie Valentin to start again on new bases, more creative and productive this time. Unfortunately, Willie Valentin still does the same thing! This is certainly why I’m rarely feeling concerned by his productions.

 

This new CD shows a total and redhibitory lack of musical concern and ideas. It can “be proud of” featuring among the most terrible compilations out during the year 2004.

 

Hats off!!!!

 

FERRY CORSTEN: “It’s time” (CD Single)

POSITIVA RECORDS [UK]

Score: 4 stars

 

Ferry Corsten is certainly one of the most creative and talented DJ/remixers in the domain of Trance with Armin van Burren, DJ Tiestö and BT… to name a few. What a surprise when I heard from friends that the second extract (out in last June) of his album “Right of way” was containing a few Electro Freestyle remixes. I simply ran away on this CD single.

 

Nevertheless, I needed couples of listening before appreciating this track to its fair level and to naturally become a true addict of it. The “Radio edit” and the “Extended mix” remixed by Ferry Corsten himself marry the genres: Electro Freestyle & Trance music. The Electro Freestyle genre because it borrows a pure Electro rhythm beat and it use a vocal sample of “It’s time” from the Electro Funk classic by Hashim “Al-naafiyish (the soul)” out in 1983. And the Trance style because those mixes allow the elements of this genre, as for instance the keys and some numerous sounds effects. The unflagging interest is also due to the singing manner of Esmee Bor Stotijn that is full of energy and graceful. This Dutch singer brings enormously on these two particular versions.

She already worked in Trance with Vincent de Moor or DJ Tiësto, but also with other vocal bands to some varied musical horizons as Sugar & Spice, The Berget Lewis Gospeltrain, Sounds of Faith, Vocal Affairs or Jazzed to the Max. Esmee Bor Stotijn is also a musician and a composer; she is also capable of producing her own music. So, a very accomplished artist!

The other terrific Electro Freestyle version is the one done by Luke Slater (“Luke Slater’s rockers shock remix mix”) that is a combination of Electro and Breaks to vocoders. Simply brilliant!

The other mixes (by Ferry Corsten, Agnelli & Nelson, and Kai Tracid) go to the Trance sound including sometimes some superb melodies and synths. Those mixes are as gripping as the other Trancy Electro Freestyle versions.

And an enhanced video is also available on the CD single.

 

A first Trancy Electro Freestyle by Ferry Corsten that appears successful and that will delight the buffs of these two genres. Remarkably thrilling! So, check this out as fast as possible!

 

FREESTYLE HEAVEN CLASSICS / PARTYMANIA 3 “Dance hits” (CD medleys- 2 CD set)

SPG MUSIC PRODUCTIONS LTD [Canada]

Score: No stars

 

Two CDs for the price of one, this is naturally an idea that should become irresistible to anybody! Nevertheless, I fondly recommend you to keep your money preciously in your wallet for some more clear-sighted expenses.

 

Except for the superb track “Burned with desire” by Armin van Buuren Featuring Justine Suissa, “Partymania 3 - Dance hits -” gratifies us of 16 old-fashioned and insignificant titles. I rarely got the occasion to laugh as much as I did and to be as annoyed by a CD. This is frankly a disgrace to customers!

“Freestyle heaven classics” is a thin succession of Freestyle classics, already available in other compilations or medleys: Afrika Bambaataa & The Soul Sonic Force “Planet rock”, Lisa Lisa & The Cult Jam With Full Force “Can you feel the beat”, Will to Power “Dreamin’” (Manhattan mix), Cynthia & Johnny O “Dreamboy / dreamgirl”, Collage “I’ll be loving you”, Intonation Featuring Joeé “Died in your arms”, Elissa “Show me how you love me”, Tamara “Never gonna let you go”, Lil Suzy “You’re the only one” and Stevie B “Funky melody”. The weakness of the mix provokes a severe anaemia of interest that won’t urge you to buy this kind of cheap and cheesy product.

 

I warn you seriously about this 2 CD set, SPG Music touched the bottom of mediocrity once more. If you want to be saved from the wreck, don’t buy it!

 

LEGENDS OF FREESTYLE VOL.1 (CD Medley)

HOT MIX MUSIC, INC. [USA]

Score: 3 stars

 

Isaac Curiel has had a passion for DJing since the age of 16, but it’s only at the age of 31 that he got out of anonymity with his first official megamix. For this Freestyle addict, this is a project that he has had his heart set for a long time now.

 

The first important thing to know is that 85% of the CD content was decided by the fans. The following step was to contact the labels concerned and especially the mythical Freestyle and Dance record company “MicMac Records” re-launched last year by Mickey Garcia. After the agreement of Mickey Garcia the project got started under the aegis of a young label “Hot Mix Music, Inc.” (HMM) located in the Windy City’s area. Isaac Curiel says about the company: “We launched HMM in 2002, the purpose of the label is to release and promote talented artists, and bring back the old school Freestyle Vibe! HMM was created with the collaboration of Joey Sales (he is the President) and Charles Martinez (the executive producer); two well-known persons from the Chicago musical scene. Joey Sales has worked for MCM (Mix Connection Multimedia) while Charles Martinez has been known for years as a respected concert promoter. Charles Martinez was one of the first promoters to bring in acts like TKA, George Lamond, The Cover Girls, April, Stevie B. Johnny O, Cynthia,…throughout his own company “People Midnight Illusion Productions”. As for Isaac Curiel, he has been a DJ for 16 years and has been working professionally in the music industry for 13 years. He began on the scene by working at the legendary Jumpin Muzik Records, owned and operated by Julian “Jumpin” Perez. He started as a Freestyle buyer and spinning at the world-renowned Warehouse Night Club along side of Bad Boy Bill, Tim “Spinnin” Schommer, and Julian “Jumpin” Perez. After Jumpin Muzik, he ventured off to Strictly Hype Recordings / Underground Construction as the Director of Sales where he helped develop such artists as DJ Irene, DJ Bam Bam, and Alex Peace etc. After 6 years at UC he was approached by Michael Ryden and Bay Boy Bill, owners of Mix Connection Multimedia (a Chicago based record label) to head up the sales force. He joined the Mix Connection Multimedia team in August of 1998 and he ran the sales division. He got along with long time friend and now business partner Joey Sales and helped promote tracks After 4 years, he ended up back at Strictly Hype / Underground Construction as Vice President of Sales and Distribution. In 2002, he decided to start a company of his own, so he approached Joey Sales to be his business partner and Charles Martinez. This is how Hot Mix Music, Inc. was born.

 

So, is “Freestyle Legends vol.1” a hot music mix??? This medley is mixed very simply but it goes straight to the point! Indeed, Isaac Curiel decided to focus his work on mixing without the addition of edit sessions or the use of bit and pieces. The mix is efficacious and the selection is excellent. Over 22 gems (21 titles distributed by MicMac Records) compose this megamix: Exo “Why did you do it”, Cynthia “Change on me” / “Endless nights” & «Thief of hearts”, Tonasia “Wondering” & “Tears of tears”, Johnny O “Fantasy girls” & “We can’t go on this way”, Body & Style “Listen to my cries”, Soavé “Don’t look back” & “If you want me”, T.P.E. “Then came you”, Tiana “First true love”, Marisol “Beginning of the end”, George Anthony “What will it take”, Lorenzo D’Lan “If you were mine”, Poze “Let me know”, Pure Pleazure “Only you”, &More “Materialistic girl” and Self Image Featuring Willie Valentin “One true love affair”.

The only track which is not part of the impressive MicMac catalogue is a local single from Latin Soul (Featuring Sandy Castillo), “Promise me”, out in 1991 on World Records.

 

We just deeply hope that the second volume (remixed by Juan “2 big” Perez) will contain tracks as good as those available on this medley and it will be also full of more Freestyle rarities.

 

MC. G. GABRIEL: “Fresh” (CD Single - Limited edition -)

MIAMI BASS RECORDS / DMG  [Germany]

Score: 1 star

 

Kool And The Gang was among the elite of Funk bands! This group has released many great hits and especially this great anthem “She’s (Fresh)”. In 1985, it blew away the worldwide charts. Assuredly, it won’t be the same success for MC. G. Gabriel!

 

Why? Because MC. G. Gabriel doesn’t possess the same vocal talent as Kool And The Gang and his manner of singing is really bothering and without any warmth. At any moment, Snark Music doesn’t manage to stir us or to reproduce the originality and freshness of the original song, whatever the genres (Freestyle, Dance Music or House Music).

 

You won’t find something fresh for sure. On the contrary you risk obtaining a dull and perished good. Beware of using it on time, you will avoid a possible sound poisoning!

 

M-TRAKER: “Shining star” (CD Single - Limited edition -)

FLIC FLAC RECORDS / DMG  [Germany]

Score: 3 stars

 

Even if M-Tracker (Markus Pernesch & Christian Bildersheim) has already released a bunch of Freestyle tracks mostly for the German market (Natural Sonic Featuring Sue C. “Chinagirl”, Maureen “Rain falls down on me”, M-Tracker “Rock your Body”, DJ Sally B “When I See You”, Ceres “Dancing with an Angel”…), this is the very first time that I was fired with enthusiasm for one of their productions.

 

Usually, I’m not very receptive to this kind of production that marries a Freestyle beat (close to the Planet Rock beat) to Trance or Euro Dance (for the melody). But this time it was difficult for me to resist. This is certainly due to the sensual and calm voice of Franziska Otto who sings magnificently well and brings an emotional density to the song. But this time the musical style is also quite interesting especially for the two original versions (“Original Freestyle Radio RMX” & “Original Freestyle Extended RMX”), the keys go to the Trance genre offering a nice melody quite agreeable to listen to. As for the two other Freestyle versions (“Canadian 2004 Radio RMX” & “Canadian 2004 Extended RMX”) they seduced me a little bit less; the Euro Dance / Trance keys are too presents on those versions.

You have to know that this title was originally a Techno song. But one year later (end of summer 2003) it was released as two Freestyle versions for the Canadian radio stations. They worked quite well. So, Markus Pernesch decided to remix them in 2004.

Officially, “Shining star” is the first Freestyle maxi CD single ever released by M-Tracker that nevertheless started his career in 2002.

 

We can show a certain leniency for this CD. It is not perfect but otherwise it’s enough to seduce you!

 

100% FREESTYLE VOL.6 (CD Compilation)

MIAMI BASS RECORDS / DMG / SONYMUSIC  [Germany]

Score: 2 stars

 

Each volume of this series usually carries its share of “up and down” tracks qualitatively speaking (good and bad). This sixth volume doesn’t escape this rule.

 

The record company still continues compiling titles (not always the best ones) produced by Chris Phillips and especially those available on the Canadian compilation “The return of Planet Freestyle” (DRC Project “And I”, Linda Furtado “Wait for me”, Serge “Thinking of you”, Freda “See the sun” and Lucy Falcone “I could never let you go”). But we can only be happy to see Ashley doing her first steps on the German territory with these two great gems: “Here we are” [Extended club mix] & “When’s it all gonna end?”. Richie Santiago (the other American citizen of this compilation) offers us a new track “Even my heart cries” that is very likeable. But his vocal performance is less emotional and convincing that his previous song “Black rose of love”. There are also two plain reprises, one is “Want me” by Kim Estey (“Don’t you want me” by Jody Watley) and the other one is “Holiday” by Channelle (originally sung by Madona).

As for the German local production, we are knocked out by the musical and vocal poverty. It’s difficult to understand that some tracks (Double Effect “Back on the door”, Real-X Featuring Ann “Without a fight” and DJ Bikini “Cha cha slide”) that feature some male voices or raps as unbearable and contemptible are still compiled! The other tracks are quite insipid.

Only the Electro Freestyle track “My love is hot” by Electrocute Featuring Supremeja is interesting and not badly edited for once.

 

This is 100% Freestyle but not 100% successful. Once again, it would be of prime importance for the label to privilege quality instead of compiling some very bad tracks that don’t deserve any attention, really!

 

 Top 5

(12” & CD singles)

 

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

 

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

 

3] Joée: “Better than you” SPG Music LTD / DEP [Canada]

 

4] Ferry Corsten: “It’s time” Positiva Records [UK]

 

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