More Tales Remixed by Incognito – reviewed by Chris Mann

In June 2008, just about the time of release of ‘Tales from the Beach’ I had the great pleasure of interviewing Bluey and I told him I could not stop playing the album. It’s very addictive and I should not have been surprised that some clever mixers and DJ’s would have picked up on these songs and turned them into serious club jams!

Of course, remixed versions of Bluey’s music are nothing new. There’s at least one whole album of remixes out there and numerous versions out on CD single and 12”. Crews such as Masters at Work have added their touch to Incognito’s already groovy tunes several times.

I know that Bluey loves the club scene and he must love what these other guys have done to his latest album.

It kicks off with Dimitri from Paris and DJ Meme remix of ‘Step Aside’ which has echoes of one of the best club records of all time – The O’Jays ‘I Love Music’. The keys and strings are so Philly it’s just unreal then the Incognito brass stabs bring you back to the present day. That beat is uncompromising on Tortured Soul’s take on ‘Love Joy Understanding’. Now, my dance music vocabulary maybe isn’t as fresh as it could be but to me this is a good house tune. It retains the uplifting feel of the original.

Simon Grey’s remix of one of ‘Freedom to Love’ changes the character of the song dramatically and introduces a broken rhythm which you have to hear a couple of times before it really grabs you. He’s put those vocals through an effects loop and added some jazzy keyboards. There’s an echo of an old Roy Ayers sound on Mark de Clive-Lowe’s deep, moody mix of ‘Feel the Pressure’. The layers of keyboard and that flute high in the mix are pure jazz-funk despite that house beat.

Long-time Incognito collaborator, Ski Oakenfull, delivers a very tuneful and soulful mix of ‘I’ve Been Waiting’. Now, I’m still picking up Christmas glitter from my carpet but this makes me think of summer right away. The vocals on this tune, as you’d expect, are sublime. There’s almost an African feel to Christian Prommer’s remix of ‘Happy People’. Percussion is to the fore and the voices are almost lost in the mix. If you’ve heard the original you’ll be familiar with the lyrics and that balance won’t matter – you’ll be dancing fit to drop anyway.

Physics’ remix of ‘N.O.T.’ uses some nice percussion too and just when I thought the song wasn’t moving right, the bassline kicked in, as did a lovely Chic-style rhythm guitar. This is a grower – after about five plays this still hadn’t got me, but it’s got me now! Here the vocals are nice and high in the mix and work well over a very insistent bassline. Ooh. My ear was really caught by DJ Day’s deeply funky mix of ‘I Come Alive (Rimshots and Basses)’ The funk is deep with a phat synth bass and lazy horns, almost behind the beat but not quite. Has to be played loud – that’s an order!

The second remix of ‘Freedom to Love’ comes courtesy of Yam Who? And the squelchy synths on here will remind you of 80’s dance anthems by Fatback and GQ. It’s fantastic – a bit chaotic but fantastic! I’ve never been to Ibiza but when I hear what Mystery & Matt Early did to ‘Happy People’ makes me want to go. It has a great uplifting vibe and that uncompromising beat.

I also love what Incognito’s Francis Hylton did to ‘I Remember a Time’. He’s kept the ballad but put a chunkier beat and bassline under it – a line that immediately reminded me of Meli’sa Morgan’s lovely ‘Fool’s Paradise’
The vibe isn’t all old-skool though: the Outside remix of ‘Tales from the Beach’ has some vicious bass and will totally take you on a trip. It’s so wild that some friends I played it too were visibly shocked – and I hadn’t played them the original at that stage. Watch your speakers!

This is a great dance album which has that rare quality of revealing things over time that you miss on first hearing. It’s got Bluey’s name on it – it’s gonna be good…




Heads Up International – HUCD 3165   Producer – Matt Cooper