Ok, it’s time to jump forward 2 years. As I said in Part 2, the swinging beats and vocal stabs on Mr. Van Helden’s mid 90’s productions defined the new garage house sound of NYC and ultimately shaped UK’s “Sunday Scene”, but it was in ’96 that he really kicked it into high gear by speeding up the tracks, adding jungle/d&b style basslines, huge breakdowns and chopped and stretched vocals to the mix. The UK DJs had basically been playing the NYC style pitched up and with the bass jacked up, so Armand’s new work just packaged it, made it better and blew it up. There’s no denying that 1997 was the year of speed garage and here are 3 of the tracks that made it possible.
Tori Amos – Professional Widow (Armand’s Star Trunk Funkin’ Mix)
This was the first of Armand’s bass heavy remixes in ’96 and set the tone for what was to come. It hit number one on the UK single chart and the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart in the U.S. by utilizing a live funk bass and the vocal hook of Tori Amos saying “it’s gotta be big” to massive effect. An absolute classic that still does it today.
Nuyorican Soul – Runaway (Mongoloids In Space)
First of all you should know that Nuyorican Soul was Masters at Work’s acid jazz/latin side project that featured a slew of a amazing musicians and vocals and is to this day my ultimate summertime album, that you should buy here. Second of all, this is my favorite of Armand’s speed garage remixes. The energy is through the roof and the time stretched vocals do serious damage. Serious bounce.
Sneaker Pimps – Spin Spin Sugar (Armand’s Dark Garage Mix)
On this late ’96 remix Armand took his sound into the darkness by adding a ripping drum&bass style bassline, that helped take the sound in completely different directions.