Review: Two true legends of gloriously soulful house music united, with a host of quality remixes included too. Featured here as the 'classic' mix, DJ Spen's collaboration with vocalist Robert Owens still sparkles with warm Rhodes piano and gospel vocals to the fore. The Layabouts bring it into 2010 with a deep and minimal-tech groove that provides an icy soundbed for Owens' vocals to cut through. By contrast, Brazil's DJ Meme flips it into a Love Unlimited-style disco classic with gorgeous strings layered over club beats. The 'reprise' version included is a particular gem - an edit of Meme's mix with just the strings, keys and vocals present that's guaranteed to have your heart soaring. The Groove Assassins stay closest to the original by subtly tightening up the beats and sharpening the rhythms into something that works well for 2010. With various dubs and instrumentals available, it's a DJs dream package and a great re-release of a seriously soulful masterpiece.
Review: Originally a hugely popular cut from Spen's Transition LP, "Stranger" now returns for a victory lap of remixes. First up, Demarkus Lewis rips it up with some seriously sizzling US garage vibes whilst retaining Spen's raw Southern blues croon, Todd Terry and Thommy Gypsy team up with Spen himself for a stripped back linear house version, whilst Luyo's gospel house rework sees honky tonk piano, harmonica and Spen's naked vocals take centre stage. Ncurger's "Thump" remix ends thing on a unique chain-gang-stomp-goes-electro tip for possibly the best mix of set.
Review: Quantize Recordings is run out of Baltimore by Dj Spen and Thommy Davis. As executive producers, they work with other producers, artists, writers, and remixers to use the labels as a vehicle of expression. Here they present UK producer Dave Anthony, who from early '90s has been knee deep into the US sound - first picking up with the vibe of Detroit, then his real love coming from the soulful sound of New York. Featured here are some of his club anthems from over the years, remixed by himself and fellow label alumni. We particularly enjoyed the sensual rework of "Let Love In" (feat Sheree Hicks) by the legendary Terry Hunter, NYC stalwart Quentin Harris steps in to inject some groove action into Anthony's own "Live To Love" featuring Tasha LaRae, and the latin infused collaboration with DJ Spen "I Live For You" (feat Stephanie Cooke - DJ Spen & Gary Hudgins remix).
Review: Quantize Recordings is the brainchild of Baltimore legends DJ Spen and Thommy Davis. As executive producers, they work with other producers - in this case Soundshack head honchos (West Yorkshire UK) John Khan and Earl Tutu. With Asia Yarwood on vocals, they use the label as a vehicle of expression with people all around the world. "Lies" (original mix) sees them nailing that classic funky house sound that we all know and love from the late '90s, while the DJ Spen & Reelsoul remix gets that classic 'B-more' bounce on in true style. For something more lo-slung and urban, hear the sexy swagger of the Groovy Soul remix up next. Great vocal talents here by Asia Yarwood, who is based in Blackpool and previously lent her fine vocal talents to Andy Edit, Cafe 432 and Thomas Brenner.
DJ Greg, Hozay & DJ Spen - "Give Me" (feat Lisa Moore - Spen & Thommy Soulful Dubmasters edit) - (5:48) 124 BPM
Review: In which 12 soulful and Afro house tracks from the likes of Barbara Tucker, Marc Evans, Deepah Ones, Ziggy Funk and DJ Spen get the re-edit treatment from Dubmasters, with results that are generally closer to DJ tools than to remixes as such. Erin Leah & N'Dinga Gaba's 'Rocker', for instance, ends up as 2:42 of a drum roll and vocal, while N'Dinga Gaba & DJ Spen's 'Until You', as presented in SpeN'Dinga Dubmasters Edit form, is essentially just under five minutes of a single disco loop. It's probably not an album you'll play in its entirety, then, but more creative jocks from the soulful end of the spectrum should be able to make good use of the material here.
Review: Grown men of a certain age will be very confused by this new release from house heroes Todd Terry and DJ Spen, as they tackle '70s classic "Stone Fox Chase", better known as the theme to BBC music show The Old Grey Whistle Test. The famous harmonica riff is present and correct as is most of the original with just some subtle beefing up going on. Terry's own mix adds some seriously slammin' jack master beats to the equation though, whilst other highlights include Damond Ramsey's techy excursion and Mannoo's swampy beat-fest.