Articles tagged with R&B

August 10

Roberta Flack – Uh-Uh, Ooh-Ooh, Look Out (Here It Comes) (Steve Hurley’s House Mix) 1988

Years ago, my homeboy Dave Michael put me up on this record exclaiming ”Steve Hurley is that motherf*cker!” as he pulled the vinyl from one of his crates. I would have to agree with that sentiment, but in order to hear just how bonkers the Silkman’s remix is, one must first listen to the original Roberta Flack composition, which is a pleasant, yet mellow 80’s R&B ditty written by Ashford & Simpson.

Then take a listen to Arthur Baker’s Dance Mix on the A-side of the 12” single, which takes a more upbeat Stevie Wonder-esque approach. Usually, the legendary Mr. Planet Rock, doesn’t forfeit the gold to any other producer, but in this rare instance, he got smoked by Chicago’s finest!

Hurley’s take is glitchy but at the same time smooth – a secret weapon of House destruction complete with Art Of Noise-like vocal sample chops, stabby bassline and piano stabs, booming percussion, and stuttering echo effects. That reverse bongo drop at the 0:35 mark absolutely kills me every single time. Perhaps most interesting, is the use of Roberta’s voice, which on the other versions is harmless and serene, but here sounds haunting and melancholy. On first listen, you might mistakenly overlook this track, but if you were to hear it on a thumping sound system, I guarantee that you’d be desperately trying to Shazam it. Thank me later!

-Rok One

July 24


Rita Lee – “Agora E Moda”

Rita Lee started her career in a wedding dress, banging cymbals and belting out Brazilian psych brilliance with Os Mutantes, the weirdest (and arguably best) of the Tropicalia acts of the late 60s. Despite her strengths as a singer, the boys in the band didn’t think she was pulling enough weight as an instrumentalist, so they ousted her from the group in ‘72. It was a harsh blow, leading her to question whether she even wanted to make music anymore, but within a year she was back at it, putting out records under her own name. Her music continued to evolve, changing with the times, as this track from her 1978 album Babilonia shows. “Agora E Moda” (“Now and Fashion” in Portuguese) adopts the low end theories of American funk and R&B, pairing a bass-heavy groove with her own breathy enunciations, and when she commands us at the end of each verse to “dance, dance, dance, dance, dance, dance, dance,” it’s pretty damn hard to resist.

– Spoolwork

June 28

Baby Come on (the Noodleman rework) – Sex o’Clock USA

The Noodleman has been churning out chugging, dubby takes on disco for some time now, and as a new 12” of his re-edits gets unleashed to vinyl, I thought it a good time to introduce y’all to my favorite edit of his, and one of my favorite tricks to get a dancefloor good and hot. It’s a slippery, dubby take on Mort Shuman’s “Baby Come on,” from the French “documentary” Sex o’Clock USA. Strings careen seductively, the drums pulse a slow yet pounding swagger, all while singers implore you to “…give it your lovin’ daddy.” Daddy likes.

And that’s just a taste, after you grab the download from his Soundcloud, rush to pick up Mr. Noodleman’s new 12” EP, Dub Sauce, and you’ll find the same smoking hot grooves, perfect for Summer listening. Lots of early buzz about groover “Sloppy Angel,” but I’m partial to his take on PM Dawn’s “I’d Die Without You,” straight off the Boomerang soundtrack, complete with an Enya-riffic breakdown and chock full of that early 90’s piano noodling you’ll know and love.

/// Brian Blackout

Maxi Priest – Close 2 You (Frankie Goes Deep reconstruction)

June 21

Maxi Priest – Close 2 You (Frankie Goes Deep reconstruction)

Frankie Goes Deep, based out of Croatia, has been doing some fantastic edits and reworkings of later 80s R&B for some time now. His sample-filled edit of Jermaine Stewart’s “We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes off,” filled with conversations about people losing their virginity, has been a staple of my sets for a while now.

Today he unleashed his newest tune, a reconstruction of Maxi Priest’s amazing “Close to You,” (peep the original video for some killer 1990-era kitsch). I don’t know what Croatia’s beaches are like right now, but here in Brooklyn it’s sweltering, and this tune is the perfect soundtrack for driving out to the Rockaways or perhaps some island off of Split, Croatia. Shimmering walls of synth, a little Summery guitar work, and a nice laid back vibe compliment Maxi Priest’s timeless vocals for a nice Balearic-style jaunt.

No free DL on this one yet, but Frankie has tons of good stuff up on his Soundcloud. As a bonus, here’s that hilarious We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes off edit.

/// Brian Blackout

May 10

Sweater Beats, aka NY-based producer Antonio Cuna, has started to build up some hype for his remixing and production work. One track that everyone seems to have slept on since its release is his treatment of Michael Jackson’s “Remember the Time,” off his Young Love/Heartbreak vol. 2 EP. I’ve got a special place for the original “Remember the Time,” I can still remember waiting up to watch the star-studded video premiere (on Fox, I think?). I can also remember my first encounters with teenage heartbreak set to this song playing on the radio.

Sweater Beats’ take, “Remember,” slips copious vocal snippets and MJ gasps (a la M.A.W.’s “Rock with You”) in under a rickety modern-sounding R&B groove. A pillowy whoosh of synth beds ushers in a glissando of airy melody as sample piles upon sample, and finally Michael’s verse surfaces for just a moment. Just as soon the song blossoms, it slowly submerge back into silence, in its own way reminding us how quickly love appears and is lost.

The 2-song EP is a free download, and there’s a lot more in Sweater Beats’ bag of tricks on his Soundcloud for you to peruse, if you’re so inclined.

/// Brian Blackout

April 20

Kashif may not be a household name, but to boogie and 80s R&B heads he’s enshrined in the hallowed halls. He’s perhaps best known for his work on Whitney Houston’s “Thinking About You,” Evelyn Champagne King’s “I’m in Love,” and “Love Come Down,” and a handful of his own tracks and his work with Howard Johnson (no, not that Howard Johnson). Lately, reworking and sampling Kashif’s work has become very popular, producing a minor hit for Janet Jackson in ‘04, a ubiquitously amazing dancefloor filler by Mark E., and countless excellent selections by the likes of Moon Boots, Bicep and Rayko.

Kashif’s minimal synth bass work is well suited for modern nu disco, getting looped endlessly in a style similar to slowed down French house, or its Chicago forbears. Finland’s Curtis Vodka follows this principle closely in his re-edit of Howard Johnson’s “So Fine.” Slippery bass grooves chug back and forth as they filter slowly into existence, bringing rise to some choppy guitar and eventually Johnson’s smooth vox. Grab the DL from Curtis Vodka’s soundcloud, this track will serve you well to start up a dancefloor, or soundtrack your cruising into the sunset on your town’s strip.

/// Brian Blackout

March 29

As the weather gets increasingly springy, I dig deep into my Winter music finds and try to find those tracks that had too much of a warm weather feel to be played when I got ‘em. It’s like Spring cleaning. This track is exactly the reason why I go to all this trouble.

Slow It Down, straight outta Glasgow, released this jam to the world last Fall, but as all of our little green pals start unfurling and popping out of the ground, it’s only now that this cut feels right. Similar to Tiger & Woods, Slow It Down specialize in loopy, proto-house edits of 80s R&B and boogie tracks.

Coming at us from the era when Michael, Whitney, and the Jets ruled the airwaves, and possessing that same happy glow that Janet Jackson’s “Escapade” has, Narada Michael Walden’s “Divine Emotions” melds that irrepressible feel good vibe to a throwback boogie bassline. Slow It Down works the grooves of the extended cut for a while before letting a few happy chords to work their way in and finally lets loose with the song’s chorus about midway in. Grab the free download, follow Slow It Down on Soundcloud and pick up the original, within minutes, everyone you know will be telling you to wipe that stupid grin off your face.

/// Brian Blackout