Mr. Lava's Trash Music Compendium|
Another round-up of the best, the worst, and the most intriguing trash of the past and present.
Why does it feel like history has repeated itself?
Nakatomi - Free! (DJ Hirohito Hit Mix)
Nakatomi's "Children of the Night" was that happy hardcore group's big hit; after an ill-advised cover of the Sesame Street song "Sing" the project was dropped and the creators shifted focus on a new and ultimately far more successul Eurofromage endeavor: the Vengaboys. What I think is interesting about most Nakatomi and Vengaboys releases is the total lack of emotion in any of the songs; their tunes just kind of bounce around and then they're done. Which is why I highly recommend the underrated first Nakatomi single, "Free! (DJ Hirohito Hit Mix)," a heavily reworked cover of an old Deniece Williams ballad. In addition to having a hot chick in ridiculous leather gear on the front and back covers (she's also the one in the "Children of the Night" video), the music soars. Who knew that the guys behind Vengaboys could write something (gasp) anthemic?
Michael Urgacz - I Just Won't Stop (Michael Urgacz Just Won't Stop Mix)
Michael Urgacz, best known in Eurotrash circles as "Beam," contributes a song that resurrects happy memories of 2001-era Eurodance. The song is delightfully entitled "I Just Won't Stop (Michael Urgacz Just Won't Stop Mix)," and anyone who downloads this storming tune will be inclined to agree. Fat synth hooks and a vocodered male vocal rush it along. The Beam remix is also worth checking out for its own charms.
Vivian feat. Ari G - Habemus DJ
Vivian feat. Ari G offer "Habemus DJ," which, like Michael Urgacz's tune, also recalls the 2001-era boom-boom sound--specifically that distinctive subgenre called "Sproingy Songs Featuring Bossy Women Chanting in Other Languages" (Carolina Marquez's "Ritmo" and SMS featuring Rehb's "La Vie C'est Fantastique" being two sterling examples). It was a great formula then; it's a great one now.
C-Block - So Strung Out
C-Block is described as "Euro-Rap." A quick gander through the group's videos on iTunes suggests that that's a fair categorization. But their awesomest tune, "So Strung Out," has more in common with Eurodance, what with its lush synth chords and soulful female vocals sandwiched between the rapped bits. The subject matter is much darker than that covered by, say, Snap! (though I'm sorry to say that the anti-drug message of the video is a bit anvil-headed). The sound is Euro-gloss perfection.
Creamer & K featuring Nadia Ali & Rosko - Something to Lose (Cedric Gervais Remix)
Creamer & K featuring Nadia Ali & Rosko's "Something to Lose (Cedric Gervais Remix)" is a lush, emotional pop trancer that may be the best thing Nadia has leant her considerable pipes to since the immortal "Rapture," by iio, which, now that I'm squinting at that single, also featured a Creamer and K remix. Hmm, they go back! Cedric Gervais's remix soars the highest, striking perfect poise between storming electro and trance elements.
Kylie Minogue - Love at First Sight
If you've only heard "Can't Get You Out of My Head," it's time you experienced Kylie Minogue's Galleonesque "Love at First Sight." (I think I'm going for a record for Kylie Minogue recommendations.)
Ballermann Andy & Die Bürokaufmannsfrau - How Do You Do? (English Radio Version)
"Great AM gold hits" is an oxymoron, but I love 'em. One of the most appealing of those songs was Mouth and MacNeal's "How Do You Do?" The song was a top 10 single in the United States in 1972. After hearing it a thousand times as a kid, I was surprised to learn that M&M were, in fact, a Dutch duo. American iTunes doesn't have this masterpiece, but they do offer a Eurodance cover of the same from Ballermann Andy & Die Bürokaufmannsfrau (technically, the "mann" part of "Bürokaufmannsfrau" is crossed out on the cover). And their take is surprisingly awesome! They faithfully preserved all the cheery qualities of the original while adding a club friendly beat. I only regret that there's not a 12" extended mix. While we wait for the original Mouth and MacNeal song to wind its long way to iTunes, this will certainly do.
Nylon Beat - Teflon Love
Nylon Beat was a Finnish TV-show-assembled teen girl duo. "Teflon Love" is as good an intro as any to their earlier, more juvenile pop dance sound. My sister once told me that Finnish has a lot in common linguistically with Japanese; it's interesting to hear the Japanese-y quality to the vocal delivery here. By extension, it's not surprising that the group was popular in Japan, where their songs have been covered.
Bürger Lars Dietrich - Ich bring Dich um
Bürger Lars Dietrich's "Ich bring Dich um" was a 1996 German hit from the comedian/musician. He's worked with Stefan Raab, another talented comic-musician with plenty of big hits in Germanyyou can hear the musical similarities. "Ich bring Dich um" has two surefire elements: 1) hand claps and 2) a sampled voice exclaiming "Dippity doo!"
Bodyrox featuring Lucinda - Yeah Yeah (D. Ramirez Radio Edit)
Bodyrox featuring Lucinda's "Yeah Yeah (D. Ramirez Radio Edit)" is getting lots of attention. The song is built entirely around M.I.A.'s, I mean Lucinda's powerful vocal performance. Sounds like Lucinda did all the work; hope she got paid more than the blokes making the "tune." In the video, Lucinda's all tough like, uh, Lady Sovereign? No...More like Saffron out of Republica. You'll hear it everywhere soon, if you haven't already.
Chanel - My Life (Fonzerelli Remix)
Aaron McClelland has been demonstrating a remarkable talent for bringing emotional edginess to his electro-dance noodlings. His Fonzerelli remix of UK R&B singer Chanel's "My Life" is delicately beautiful in its musical intricacies. By today's standards, this is definitely above and beyond the call of remix duty. It's always a pleasure to hear somebody making dance music who understands that melody is a musical element worth attending to also. Video for the original version (which sounds much different) imaginatively features a bunch of girls dancing in skimpy outfits.
Crush featuring Alexandra Ungureanu - Aprinde dragostea
Crush featuring Alexandra Ungureanu offers another Romanian-language Europop song with "dragostea" in the title, this time "Aprinde dragostea." It's a pleasant, sweet sounding piece of fluff.
Velvet - Rock Down To (Electric Avenue)
I heard Velvet's "Rock Down To (Electric Avenue)" on Romanian radio and knew I had to get it right away. This turned out to be harder than I anticipated, but things ended happily when a Sandinanvian music vendor on eBay happened to have a copy. Female vocals fuel this housy number, with a bit of a Chic guitar jangle (reminiscent of Stardust's "Music Sounds Better With You) running throughout. And, as you might guess, an interpretation of the old Eddy Grant 80's classic "Electric Avenue" serves as the chorus. Like a lot of great Scandinavian dance music it seems to have made more impact in Eastern Europe and Russia than in the west (for another example of that, see September's brilliant "La La La (Never Give It Up)"). Video imaginatively features girls in skimpy outfits. Jesus Christ, Eurotrash video people!!!!! I never thought ANYTHING could make me BORED of girls in skimpy outfits! But you have achieved the IMPOSSIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!
Motionchild featuring Armanian Sun - Godsend (Benya Remix)
Motionchild featuring Armanian Sun offers a strong psychedelic trance number called "Godsend (Benya Remix)." A nice key adjustment in the middle of the song gives way to a mesmerizing melody. Spooky ambience!
Faithless - Bombs
It's not hyperbole to say that if you're only going to see one video this year, then Faithless's "Bombs" should be that one. Not to take attention away from the song itself, a dark, yet strangely beautiful work that manages to be industrial, ethereal, and IDMish in its sensibilities. Not sure why there's been such a delay with the U.S. release of this single and accompanying album To All New Arrivals. I know the song's and video's strong anti-war message was considered controversial overseas, but I think there are enough sympathetic Americans (including members of Congress) to ensure that it would find an audience stateside.
Dario G - Ring of Fire (Stadium Edit)
Now for something completely different. Dario G came to fame with their Dream Academy-sampling "Synchyme" back in...(going over to CD, blowing off a big cloud of dust)...1997. Well, ten years later here's something from the group that you MUST feast your ears on: a cover, of sorts, of the Johnny Cash classic "Ring of Fire" that combines relentless Safri Duo-style percussion with mariachi brass and chanting Carnival girls. You might think this would be cringe-inducingly awful. Instead, it's fantastic.
Lazard - Your Heart Keeps Beating (Royal Gigolos Mix)
The Royal Gigolos continue to rip off Benny Benassi and his Bros. years after the Benassis themselves abandoned the "Satisfaction" template. Proving that they haven't matured one bit in the three years that have elapsed since they tackled "California Dreamin'," the Gigolos turn in a delightfully looney take on Lazard's "Your Heart Keeps Beating"; which is itself a cover of an old Euro track by Blind Date. Stefano Sorrentino's sweeter mix of the same is also worth a listen.
Goldfrapp - Ride a White Horse
My old Eurotrash partner in crime Secam observed that when American marketing directors need a hip and sexy song to sell their products Goldfrapp is usually their go-to girl. Her "Ride a White Horse" demonstrates why, as it strikes a smart balance between icy electro and warm, lush synths. I like a song that dares you to distinguish between the wail of an electric guitar and a processed human voice. Peter Frampton would agree.
September - Cry For You (Jackal remix)
Scandinavian September's strongest single since her magnificent "Never Give It Up (La La La)" is "Cry For You (Jackal remix)." The music sounds a bit like that Bronski-beat sampling "Tell Me Why" from Supermode. Here you can really hear September's growth as a vocalistquite an emotional performance.
Hi-Q - Razna
Hi-Q turn in another perfect pop performance with a song celebrating Romanian crazy guys, or crazy guys wherever they may be found.
Waldo's People - U Drive Me Crazy (Radio Edit)
Sticking with Scandinavians for a bit, in 1998 Finnish group Waldo's People kicked out "U Drive Me Crazy," probably the only song to steal both from Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and Blur's "Song No. 2." Such tastelessness takes major balls, so I salute Waldo's People. The original vocals tossed on top seem to emulate the Aqua formula of females singing and funny-voiced guys chanting. They go on about how you drive them crazy. Why not go all-out and call it "U Drive Me Krayzee"? Because that would be too crazy.
Camille Jones - The Creeps (Booty Cologne's Extended Mix)
More Scandinavians! iTunes has been pushing Danish singer Camille Jones's spartan and slinky "The Creeps" pretty hard. Discogs.com reveals that the song has been kicking around in one form or another since 2004. Camille was a jazz singer who is apparently dabbling in pop; "The Creeps" is proving a good dabble. Booty Cologne's Extended Mix is my fave version; but about 100 other artists have remixed it, so shop around for a version you like.
Teddybears feat. Malte Homberg - Different Sound
Did I say we have Scandinavians? Teddybears are a Swedish act who have been kicking it for years. Their "Different Sound" is currently rocking an Intel "Multiply" commercial and, er, a romantic comedy starring Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore. You came here for da underground, right? The Teddybears' guitarist was also behind the iTunes classic "Jerk It Out" (thank you, fellow Wikipedian).
Scooter - Behind the Cow (Spencer and Hill remix)
At last we leave Scandinavia for our good old friends Scooter, who have completely run out of ideas, as evidenced by what must be at least the second time they have sampled The KLF's "What Time is Love?", this time for a tune they're calling "Behind the Cow." With Scooter I'm always up for a good game of "ID this." So! Isn't that female vocal sampled from "Barbie Girl"? No? Maybe? Well, that's definitely Blue Öyster Cult's "Don't Fear the Reaper" in the background. And "Don't Fear the Reaper" is famous for its use of a cowbellhence the title of this track? And in "Nessaja" didn't they make mention of a "painted cow"? Scoo-TUH?!?!?! Did you plan all of this ten years ago?!?!? Am I only now beginning to see the patterns?!!?!?! The Spencer and Hill remix is the best of the bunchmaking this probably the first time I'm more enthusiastic about a Scooter remix than I am about the original tune.
Perpetuous Dreamer - Dust.wav
Half a decade ago I poo-poo'ed Perpetuous Dreamer's "Dust.wav" as being inferior to "Future Fun-Land." Recently I realized I was an idiot to do that. In fact, it's beautiful. And this got me thinking. Maybe in another five years I'll like the songs Armin Van Buuren is releasing today.
Ross Assenheim - In the Past (K90 Mix)
Hard house meets epic trance in this mesmerizing instrumental stomper.
Lisa Pin-Up - Let's Go Trippin'
Lisa Pin-Up is a legend in the tough-as-nails subgenre of dance called "hard house." She also adds welcome injections of humor into her work. This is abundantly evident in her 2003 track "Let's Go Trippin'," which sounds like it could score a Looney Tunes cartoon quite nicely.
Mazurka - Hardcore Vibes
I am famous for my lapses in taste, an admission that is sure to be troubling to the artists I plug on these pages. Here's another prime example. Dune's "Hardcore Vibes" is a classic happy hardcore anthem from 1995, but I totally prefer Mazurka's 1998 take on the same. It's packed wall-to-wall with audio goodies, and can be found on the excellent Dreamscape Hardcore 2001 box set.
Die Lollipops - Dankeschön (Take Me Home Country Roads)
Die Lollipops are a sort of Kidz Boppish thing for Germans, and their "modified" version of "Take Me Home Country Roads," entitled "Dankeschön," has got to be heard. I particularly enjoy how the forces behind this parenthetically credit the tune to Hermes House Band in honor of that group's superb Eurodumdum take on "Country Roads..." (presumably because kids associate the song with that group). So! No need to mention original author John Denver.
Future Breeze - Heaven Above (Flashrider Short Cut)
Future Breeze created one of the schmaltziest dance tracks in history with "Heaven Above (Flashrider Short Cut)," a tune that owes as much to Chicago's "Hard to Say I'm Sorry" as it does to trance. And that...well...that is pretty remarkable.
2002 12/2003 01