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MUSIC REVIEWS # 9
(May / June 2000)
FEVER FREESTYLE FLASHBACKS (CD medley) FEVER RECORDS / WARLOCK RECORDS
Score: 2 stars
Its well known, sure things are good things, if you know how to mix the stuff together with sufficient know-how.
And DJ Payback is far from having the know-how. This mix is correct, yet often sketchy and tasteless. It gets even a little boring with time a pity when you know the quality of the chosen pieces. There are no less than 26 Freestyle hits, all of them cornerstones of Freestyle music, but especially Latin Hip-Hop and New Yorks FEVER RECORDS label (12 titles from their terrific catalogue).
Its difficult for me to quote them all, but youll find artists as talented as The Cover Girls, Sa-Fire, Cynthia, Nayobe, Lisette Melendez, Luis Damõn, Tony Moran, Legacy, The Latin Rascals, Angel Clivilles, L.A.W., DZyre, Fascination, Miguel Reyes and many other still!
Yet, this medley might not trigger the slightest reaction. A real disappointment.
FIERCE FREESTYLE CLASSICS "THE MIX TAPE" VOL.3 (CD medley) UBL RECORDINGS / STREETBEAT RECORDS, INC.
Score: 3 stars
As soon as the intro begins, you are sucked-in this megamix with the symphonic sample of the THX sound, I advise you to pump the volume to benefit from the talent of The Mixtress.
For this new medley, "the turntables Freestyle Queen" gives you 15 titles from classical Latin Hip-Hop (Corina "Give me back my heart", TKA "You are the one", The Cover Girls "Because of you", NV "Girl you hear me crying", Laissez Faire "In paradise" and the sole Electro Funk track of this megamix by the infamous Trinere "Ill be all you ever need") to more recent Freestyle titles of excellent quality if we refer to pieces like Jocelyn Enriquezs "Make it last forever", Victoria Angeless "Ill give you everything" or Rockells "I fell in love". However, if we refer to titles such as "All day all night" by One Voice, "Forever" by Emotion In Motion, "Dreams" by Crystal and "Feel my love" by Alexis, then we can think otherwise.
Although this 3rd edition sounds a little less successful (first, mixes are less convincing, and then, the interludes are shorter and less crafty than the past ones), this new adventure remains captivating and will give you a few adrenaline bursts as The Mixtress knows her art by heart. Let the rhythm take you!
FLYING STEPS: " In da arena (situation)" / "We gonna rock it" (CD single) JETSET/ DANCE STREET GMBH / ZYX MUSIC (Germany)
Score: 4 stars
After their great contribution to "Super sonic" by Music Instructor, which introduced them to Freestylers, the nine Breakdance dancers have decided to step beyond and sing a song.
Their 1st single CD is way cool! Theyre jumped in wholeheartedly and given us two damn splendid songs.
"In da arena" is, 18 years later, a fabulous and booming (what a rhythm beat!) remake of "Situation", first interpreted by Alison Moyet of Yaz; whereas "We gonna rock it" base its musical dynamism on wonderful keys and melodies, as well as vocoders that intensify this melody in a great way. Its quintessentially whats best done in the Electro Funk field lately. The "JetSet remix" will remind you the golden age of this musical genre.
In his own way, Flying Steps is a new stone that contributes renewing decade after decade this so captivating musical style which hasnt aged a bit.
FREE SYSTEM: "Dont pass me by" (CD single) COSIMO RECORDS / ZYX MUSIC (Germany)
Score: 3 stars
Heres a small production at first, apparently not standing out- but after a few hearing sessions, its very captivating.
Even though the singers voice isnt particularly booming or outstanding, the beauty, and the interest of this Old School Freestyle title come from the wonderful melody that accompanies it, as well as the chorus that mixes the singers voice to a very sensual and beautiful female voice. In fact, this feminine presence adds a lot to this song even though this isnt a duet.
A track that deserves fame
JAZMINE: "Justify" / "Come back to me" (CD single) SANTANA MUSIC
Score: 4 stars
Even though this single CD puts the title "Justify" to the fore, the talent of this singer was revealed by "Come back to me" on the excellent compilation "Freestyle fresh kids" (already a Santana Twins production).
"Justify" catches your attention all the more as it is proposed in an Old School format of a quality seldom encountered. On this single, you can admire Jazmines superb voice and also splendid melodies, a little sequence of edits in the "drum-a-dub-dub" mix thatll remind you a few memories and a chorus that stays in your mind, even a few days later.
A real must in your collection. Top quality Freestyle.
MUSIC INSTRUCTOR: "Djs rock da house" (CD single) FUEL RECORDS / EASTWEST RECORDS (Germany)
Score: 3 stars
Well, I gotta admit I was kinda disoriented by Music Instructors new track. Too much or not enough? Hard to say
There comes a band constantly searching for new sounds, especially Freestyle ones. "Djs rock da house" fits this definition. The so called Freestyle versions are, in the end, some sort of musical hybrids composed of an Electro beat reinforced with a powerful beat clearly jungle, the latter being associated to progressive sound effects. This is all very puzzling for a Freestyler, I grant you, especially when I have told you youre going to hear a phony Darth Vador (Star Wars). There, youre certainly starting to think those guys have gone nuts. Well, actually, no! Theyre just ahead of their time. It aint a problem gives a bit of fresh air!
This feeling is also present in their Techno/Trance mixes (the 4 of them) that are really the fruit of a composition and originality giving an edge to the stuff.
All in all, Music Instructor will keep on surprising and spellbinding us.
MYRNA LI: "Still I cry" (CD single) SANTANA MUSIC
Score: 5 stars
I just cant get it over! Latin Hip-Hop, at such a quality level nowadays! Man, thats surprising Especially from almost unknown producers who hadnt made anything since their "Freestyle fresh kids" compilation and their participation to Susan Santiagos album.
Here is a sparkling comeback of the Santana Twins, which heighten the spirit. Its been a long time since I had had vibes so blissful, so powerful so spellbinding, for such a gem. Everythings there to fill your (enormous) appetite, you Latin Hip-Hop fan! An Old School beat, powerful, devastating and dashing, that swallows you back in the sound of the eighties. The strong, intense voice of Myrna Li is definitely able to challenge that of the best Freestyle singers. There are also two magnificent dubs remixed in the Omar Santanas way (Santana dub & 45 seconds of santanas). Not to forget the fantastic House version by Juan Kato which could flood every dance floor in the world. A real bonus.
An exciting production that should give a spur to the Latin Hip-Hop sound that, goddamn knows why, is falling into oblivion.
SK8: "My imagination" (CD single) LOGIC RECORDS / BMG MUSIC
Score: 1 star
Unfortunately, there isnt much to say about this rather plain title. Of course, you cant but be disappointed with these 2 Electro mixes composed by Todd Terry who used to be so important for Freestyle. I still cant forget "Your loving arms" by Billie Ray Martin in 1996.
Moreover, SK8s voice gets tiresome at long last
In a nutshell, a bland and uninspired song that you can listen to (but not too much). From Todd Terry, its quite surprising to listen to such a musically limited stuff.
STEVIE B: "Its so good" (CD album) DANCE 2000 RECORDS / BOLARIS RECORDS / 805 MUSIC COMPANY
Score: 4 stars
Every album by Stevie B has its share of good surprises and we are seldom disappointed.
We must admit that this latest album is plain superb. A great range of musical variety can be found, astounding and telling of what this genius is capable. Compared to this former album "Right here right now!", this one is even more varied, going from Freestyle to Euro Dance, Salsa ("Mira mira" is a wonderful title), R&B and Ballads. This rare ability is worth admiring.
As usual, Freestyle amateurs aren t forgotten. Over the 12 titles, Stevie B offered 6 very beautiful songs for us. 3 of them use a Planet Rock beat ("Young girl", "Can you hear me now" and "Its so good") far from being boring as Stevie B brings his own special touch, his marvelous voice and the splendid melodies being a little plus. "Baila (dance with me)" is a captivating Freestyle piece with a Latin touch, "My mothers eye" is a beautiful Old School Ballad, and the reprise of Count To Twenty "You are the one" is also a formidable Old School jam.
Bravo Mr. Stevie B its so good to see you, always very healthy after all those years, promoting Freestyle in the best possible way.
THE KROMOZONE PROJECT: "Love & energy" (CD album) TBC PRODUCTIONS
Score: 4 stars
If youre not familiar with this group, I recommend you to buy this fantastic Dance / Freestyle album straight away one of the most fascinating of the moment.
Weve had to wait 5 years for Randy Lance, the man behind The KromOzone Project, to propose his second album. And what an album!
For that, hes been cooperating for two years with a female singer, O-so irresistible, and whose talent goes way beyond expectations: Elle Della Penna. Indeed, their association is very fruitful. This great osmosis and brother / sister hood between them has produced gripping and inspired gems. They feel at ease in every musical field, be it Freestyle (where they pumped fresh blood into a dying Planet Rock beat), Dance music, R&B...
Of course, Elles impressive vocal organ (whose ability to blend in with every musical genre is admirable and leave us admiring) certainly counts into the success of this album. But itd be unfair to neglect the excellent production and composition job of Randy Lance, which is a great addition too. Among others, he composes blissful melodies, one of his talents.
An album and a band that should soon be in everyones mouth. And its not the success of their first single "Energy" that should contradict me. A wonderful international career is ahead of them. Fame and glory is definitely what they justly deserve.
My Top 10
(12", tape & CD singles)
1] Myrna Li: "Still I cry" Santana Music
2] Flying Steps: "We gonna rock it" JetSet / Dance Street GmbH / ZYX Music (Germany)
3] Jazmine: "Justify" Santana Music
4] Stonay: "Waiting" Shift Music & Media / ZYX Music (Germany)
5] Music Instructor: "Electric city" Fuel Records / EastWest Records (Germany)
6] Gina Dee: "Leave me not alone" ZYX music (Germany)
7] Julia-Evita Hernandez: "Come back" ZYX Music (Germany)
8] Susan Santiago: "No one knows" Daisy Lady Records
9] Free System: "Dont pass me by" Cosimo Records / ZYX Music (Germany)
10] Barbie: "Here comes the rain again" Detour Records
My Top 10
(Compilations & medleys)
1] George Lamond: "The hits and more" (compilation) Robbins Entertainment LLC / Timber! Records
2] KTU Freestyle Party vol.1, 2, 3, 4 (medleys) Remix Records
3] Keepin Freestyle vol.2 (compilation) Detour Records
4] Fierce Freestyle Classics " The Mix Tape" vol.3 (medley) Ubl Recordings / StreetBeat Records, Inc.
5] Classic Freestyle (medley) ZYX Music (Germany)
6] Freestyle A New Dimension In Tyme vol.2 (compilation) Pryme Tyme Records / Denmic
7] Planet Freestyle vol.4 (compilation) Odeon Records (Canada)
8] Stevie B: "Freestyle then and now" (compilation) Dance 2000 Records / 805 Music Company
9] Maximum Freestyle: "Special edition remixes!" (compilation) Maximum Freestyle Records (Canada)
10] "Where it all begins" compilation PT 1 (compilation) Epicenter Records
My Top 5
1] Cynthia: "Thinking about you" Robbins Entertainment LLC
2] Stevie B: "Its so good" Dance 2000 Records / Bolaris Records / 805 Music Company
3] Sammy C: "Taking it through the millenium and beyond" Roman Empire Productions
4] The Kromozone Project: "Love & energy" TBC Productions
5] Onnie: "One love" Detour Records