Dimitri From Paris – Dirty Larry (Dim’s A La Old School Flava) (Yellow Productions, 1996)

Here’s some classic bizniz from the many monikered Dimitri. Arriving on the scene as France awoke from its musical slumber in the mid nineties and casting the net wide in the search for influences, the cosmopolitan Dimitri championed a jet setting sound. Although a House DJ at heart, Dimitri took his early inspiration from the sounds of 50s Jazz, Exotica and Film Scores, creating in ‘Sacrebleu!’ (Mixmag’s Album of the Year in 96) a set of sumptuous downtempo muzak, lush and layered yet at the same time playful and full of character. However, if one were to peer through the Gauloises fug, inside that suave exterior was a house head sipping the same disco punch that the Idjuts and Harvey were serving up. This 12″ on Yellow Productions (a consistent label for cultured house co run by the consistently questionable Bob Sinclair) is an absolute gift for anyone with even a passing interest in having a good time.

The track first appeared on the Sacrebleu! LP in somewhat sophisticated fashion. Intended as a ‘tribute to the late Larry Levan and the great Lalo Shiffrin(sic)’, Dimitri serves up a house track incorporating the otherworldly melodies of Lalo Schifrin complete with not only harpsichord, jazz drums and bass, cinematic horns but also a bumping house kick and some far out dancefloor psychedelia a la Levan. If the more restrained LP version fell into the Lalo Schifrin camp, geared for lounge bars and home listening, perfect for an evening inside a Stella Artois advert, then the ‘Old School Flava’ mix was Larry’s revenge. Uptempo, proto house drums, dub disco bassline, lazers and the same far out synths as the LP version. If you’re a fan of the excellent Night Dubbin’ compilation on BBE then this one’s for you.

If you like what you hear then I strongly recommend finding a copy of this vinyl as the Crue-L Grand Orchestra and Idjut Boys mixes are also superb.

Storm Queen – It Goes On (Enivron, 2011)

Morgan Geist needs no introduction. The man has been making dance music to the highest standard for longer than i’ve been able to tie laces and he’s showing no signs of slowing down. Whether working as half of Metro Area or under his various solo aliases he always brings deep and organic sounding music, retro influenced but forward facing, touching on the 80s sounds of boogie, italo, early house and techno, but always sounding fresh, original and unmistakably his own. In December last year he snuck out a very late contender that wiped the floor with the track of the year competition under the alias of Storm Queen. That track, ‘Look Right Through’ has barely been out of the box over the last 12 months and is due a rerelease on D******D (I won’t say that word) with remixes from Aeroplane, Dimitri from Paris, Art Department and Jamie Jones. So if you’re new to the track, get there quickly, it’s about to jump the shark. Thankfully, as a saviour of the underground, Morgan has seen fit to release another powerhouse in time for this year’s party season.

‘It Goes On’ repeats the trick so wonderfully pulled off in ‘Look Right Through’. He has taken what is in essence a melancholy ballad and styled it as a house track with the late 80s/early 90s aesthetic. Inside the ecstatic body moving rhythm of these tracks, hidden within the exceptional synths and flawless production lie real songs, about heartbreak, longing and resilience. This time round things are less straight forward, the track is less immediate, the progressions less classic which usually means its power will be more lasting. Things begin with a handclap, always a good start, and the key melody of a descending bassline. Things are very minor key, Damon C. Scott (returning on vocal duties) starts to tell us a tale of loss as Morgan’s synths weave their magic, and finally we’re paid off with an uplifting chorus and the hands are in the air. The highlight of the track is the detuned warped synths that follow the first chorus. Inventive, interesting and forward moving electronic music that will pack every floor it’s unleashed on.

You can find both Storm Queen records on vinyl at the Environ Shop and listen to the vocal mix of this gem below.

dimitri from stoke-on-trent “the nice one innit ep” (hands of time gold, 2011)

This is the hottest wax in the nudisco world at the moment. It’s sold out twice already in its first week at Piccadilly and sits loftily as the most popular record at Juno. Following on from the disappointing ‘Sakura Blue’ edits (HOTGOLDIII) the wandering Dimitri delivers a solid four track for your party. First up is the exceptional edit of Prince’s ‘I Wanna Be Your Lover’ which has been causing a stir in the beardo world ever since it first surfaced on Dim’s soundcloud. Merging a live version and the studio recording with the addition of some hot synth action Dimitri has absolutely nailed this one. I’ve spent the last three months playing the 160kbps soundcloud download and it’s heavenly to be able to feel the full force of the track on vinyl. To follow, Dim serves up a chopped up version of the Velvelettes’ swinging party number ‘Really Saying Something’ and an extension of Aretha Franklin’s ‘I Say A Little Prayer’ in keeping with his recent Philly work. Finally Dem Oi Garl is Dim’s psychadelic take on Them’s ‘Gloria’ which rounds of the EP in style. There’s nothing deep or intellectual here, just four slices of party cake, with the prince track at the forefront. Dimitri’s next release is under the alias Erodiscotique and is called ‘New York I Love You’, a house jam in the early 90’s style utilising the vocals from Hamilton Bohannon’s ‘Take the Country to N.Y.C.’

 

 

Prince – I Wanna Be Your Lover (Dimtri From Paris Edit) 160kbps

Bohannon – Take the Country to N.Y.C

 

 

motorbass – motorbass (different, 1996)

 

The musical French revolution that happened in the mid 1990s always seemed to be narrated along the lines of Daft Punk, Laurent Garnier, Dimitri From Paris, or Air. And as usual, since history is told by the winners, the unsung heroes, stayed buried. In 1996 when music creativity was at its climax on both sides – France and the UK – many acts were just as good or better than the ones that made it to the mainstream arena or ended up signing for major labels.

Motorbass is something that happened but did not catch the ears of many. They only did it once. They released an album and disappeared straight away. It was like a cry of genuine musical mastery before moving onto more commercial projects. They did best. The combination of Philippe Zdar (half La Funk Mob and Cassius) and Etienne de Crecy (Super Discount compilations) proved to be explosive: an album of supremely sensual soulful house with strokes of hip hop and glamorous samples. All drenched in warm grooves. Of course, it was not catchy material as it was no ‘Da Funk’ or ‘Around the World’… or even worse… ‘Sexy Boy’. In being ‘catchyless’ it made it perpetual. It did not have a best before date and it sounds as groundbreaking today as it did back in 1996. There was no a song structure in place. It was purely sophisticated hedonism. ‘Pansoul’ did not even catch the attention of many big Djs of back then. But it was a must have LP which was danceable and accessible. It was just too good and quite ahead of its time.

I clearly remember reading the review on Muzik in September 1996. It was chosen album of the month. It was the year when the French took over the electronic music scene as never before. It never happened again. Since the apotheosis of those years, we have never had some many French acts influence so heavily on new trends or music production. The filtered house business died a slow death of repetition and infinite copying by many wannabes. Motorbass was never about filtered house though. It was about breaking barriers and creating something fresh, different and jaw-droppingly sensual. It was the equivalent of what La Funk Mob did for… trip hop. I apologize for the use of such name.

As there is nowhere to be found, I decided to religiously transcribe the Muzik review of this classic for the enjoyment of everyone in the hope to help someone out there to (re)discover the killers inside this album.

 

Motorbass ‘Pansoul’ (Cassius, France) by Martin James (September 1996)

WHAT’s going on?

There must be something special running through the waters of the Seine right now. A magic ingredient begging to be bottled. Something which has kicked the French into the 20th Century. And given us some of the finest and deepest beats imaginable along the way.

Last month, we reported on the unique atmosphere at Paris’ Rex club. And for the very first time, our Album of the Month spot was shared by two essential discs Francais, the mighty Dimitri From Paris ‘Sacrebleu’ and the equally grand ‘Source Lab 2′. This month, the Parisian connection again strikes gold with Motorbass’ ‘Pansoul’, a record of almost indescribable beauty.

Following the superb ‘Foxy Lady’ single, Cassius’ latest project is the brainchild of Phillippe Zdar, the boss of the label and one half of those legendary abstract beat freaks, La Funk Mob. For this venture, Zdar has teamed up with Etienne de Crecy to produce and album of free-flowing, juice-jacking funk which has already created a major buzz. A few advance copies of ‘Pansoul’ were sneaked into the UK las month and duly flew out of the shops at breakneck speed. London’s Tag Records said it was the open-minded punters who went for it. But apart from a select few, like the Heavenly Saturday Social mob, most DJs remained slow off the mark. How sorry they’re going to be!

So what’s all the fuss about, then? Well, for starters, there are eight tracks of deep house with a hip-hop attitude. It’s also a double-disc of solid jack-tracking bolstered by rough-cut exotica samples and stealth-defying scratching. Oh, and it just happens to be and utterly unique sound, too. For argument’s sake let’s simply say that listening to ‘Pansoul’ opens up a whole new spectrum of sound which really deserves its own individual category.

From the opening beats of ‘Ezio’, the Motorbass manifesto is made abundantly clear. They want you to get on down with the good groove. It’s a funk thing and it could ignite even the frostiest of dancefloors. The mother of all below-the-waist grooves takes you on a journey deep into sexual urgency, basslines slip and slither their way through percussive salsa action, and distant voices call for the break to kick in.

‘Flying Fingers’ could be Monseiur Fingers himself. Liquid keys snake around a shuffling hi-hat until the solid Mantronix-ish b-line hits in. With ‘Les Ondes’, Motorbass take all the funking ingredients and throw in a vocal refrain which could have come from that man Dimitri’s record collection. We’re talking wild exotica seduced by harp flourishes and a pants-level swing.

‘Neptune’ introduces more than a dash of a Seventies superfly vive into the proceedings, an off-beat percussion block pushing the beat to the very edge. ‘Genius’ tilts the mood towards a Latino celebration. ‘Pariscyde’ and ‘Bad Vives (D-mix)’ finish the album in similar style, drawing on the by now expected multifarious angles and making for a trainspotter’s paradise of samples.

All in all ‘Pansoul’ is the sound of swinging post-house Paris diving heart first into deep-fried funk, throwing a fresh colour onto the paintwork of house and licking the lips of Nineties electro-soul.

Sacre bleu indeed!

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I would recommend you to go straight to Discogs/eBay and get a vinyl copy of this LP BUT for reasons I cannot understand, the opening track on the CD is not present on any vinyl edition. The track is called ‘Fabulous’ and it is just that… pure class. A slow hypnotic builder… calm dubby and full of incredible effects that take you into uncharted territory. A proper warmer for the storm that ‘Ezio’ brings about.

Motorbass – Fabulous

It is top hi-fi ripped from my own CD version and an all time personal favorite full of memories and nostalgia. Enjoy it!