THE NINETIES 8: Relief Records pt. 1

Green Velvet in Muzik Magazine from 1997
Green Velvet in UK’s now defunct Muzik Mag in 1997

Awhile back we posted one of our favorite tracks ever on Relief Records. It was DJ Sneak’s banging remix Green Velvet’s most famous song Flash and it was thrown in as a footnote to our report on DOTC4 & U.B.H/T.W. because it totally re-captured the energy of that party/week (aka the energy of mid 90’s rave parties). Looking back now I realize that that track and the amazing label it’s on can never really be a footnote to anything and seeing as December’s O.P.P. edition of 90’s Jam is tonight and we haven’t done a proper post in months, it’s probably as good a time as any to begin our series on Curtis Jones’ (aka Green Velvet aka Cajmere) legendary Chicago house/techno stable.

While some of the releases on Mr. Jones’ first label Cajual Records (which launched in 1992 with seminal house classic “Brighter Days” featuring Dajae) were bigger house hits, it was Relief (launched in 1993 with “Preacher Man”) that fostered Chicago’s second wave of young producers and took the tracky Chicago house sound in down new and distinctly techno influenced path that is still being explored today. This split make sense if you’re familiar with the 2 sides of Mr. Jones himself, as Cajmere he releases his vocal and housey productions on Cajual, while as Green Velvet, he drops tripped out techno creepers on Relief. As you can see I can go on about these labels forever and that’s why we’re doing a multi-part series on each label starting with Relief, because even though Cajual came first, we’ve been ripping and playing a ton of old Relief tunes lately. Enjoy.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


DJ Sneak – The Lights part II (RR707 – 1994) DOWNLOAD
Let me start our reviews wit a disclaimer: unfortunately, we don’t have every release on Relief Records. We wish we did, but given that we didn’t start buying records until after Relief was born it’s damn near impossible to find alot of the early stuff, we may never actually complete the collection. Second most important fact: RR701, Green Velvet’s “Preacher Man” is necessary listening for sure, and you’ve probably heard the track with the evangelist preaching to his congregation about the dangers of “playing house” before, but if you haven’t, go buy it here. So back to this release. It’s one of DJ Sneak‘s really early ones and is totally insane looped out techno music. By 1995 Sneak had gone much more in the disco house direction so it’s a pleasure to here his early experimentations. To hear “The Lights part I” goto Corporate Bloggin’s great Sneak post from a couple months back and read it too if you can read french!

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


GU – Smok’en Indo (RR714 – 1994) DOWNLOAD
Here’s another early track from a producer that became very important. GU aka Glenn Underground is often credited for carrying Larry Heard‘s torch through the 90’s with his new brand of disco and soul sample laden deep house, which would be the blueprint for Chicago’s sound in the late 90’s on labels like Guidance and Large. But, back up for a second, because like “The Lights”, “Smok’en Indo” is a crazy techno monkey that makes you do wierd dances and illustrates how important Relief was in the early development of these young producers.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Green Velvet – Explorer (RR730 – 1995) DOWNLOAD
Alright so this is on the Portamento Tracks EP which also included the more known “Flash” and “I Want To Leave My Body” so it’s pretty much overlooked, which is a HUGE mistake. While the beat is similar to “Flash” Velvet laces explorer with much more aggressive synths that rip open your ears while he talks about the king of the jungle. Wierd, but true.

Oh yeah and if you didn’t know: after a brief hiatus from ’98-’00, Relief is still alive and kicking. You can check ’em on myspace and also purchase many releases on their website. So make sure to support the roots and the future of our dance music!

THE NINETIES 7: Back From Chi / Angie Brown Etc…


Ok so it’s been a minute since our last 90s post, but tonite is YOYOYO 90s JAM so it’s a good time to bring it back. First of all that video up there is I’m Gunna Get You by Bizzare Inc featuring the oh so early 90s vocalist Angie Brown (more on her below). What you might not know is that before dropping this massive cheese dance hit Bizarre Inc had some serious rave anthems, especially 1991’s Playing With Knives (this is the best youtube video I’ve ever seen), which you’re just gunna have to go buy yourself, because that’s not the point of this post. The point of this post is that I got some serious slept on 90’s classics in Chi a couple weeks ago and they need to be shared/dug out. This is the first post of gems, it’s focused on the house and garage side of things, soo all you techno lovers hold tight a few days…

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Electribe 101 – Talking With Myself (Jazzy Piano Mix) DOWNLOAD
I’m not gunna get into the history of Electribe 101 cause you can read that here. This track isn’t quite house, it’s kinda cheesy (but not as cheesy as Frankie Knuckles’ Extended Remix) and it originally came out 1988. But this vinyl dropped in 1990, when there were also a ton of other remixes released too and has this mix which is like the deepest early 90s dance track I’ve ever heard PLUS Larry Heard‘s Jazzy Piano Mix which is even deeper and super dope, but you’ll have to buy the vinyl off me if you want that.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Dean Street Crew ft. Sweet Pussy Pauline – The Credit Card (The Buddah-Aim Mix) DOWNLOAD
This one came out 1995 on Cutting Traxx and features everyones favorite drag queen turned house vocalist (spoken word not singing) Sweet Pussy Pauline. This is the Danny Buddah Morales mix and the way the vocals are chopped sounds like a new Switch or Sinden track so if someone wants to do an edit and send it to us that would be dope cause we don’t have time to do it right now.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Bobby & Steve present Zoo Tribe – Get Up DOWNLOAD
I know you recognize the horn sample from one of the biggest house tracks of all time, but guess what, this one came out in 1993 on Zoo Klub, one year before Kenny Dope’s dancefloor Bomb! Less known, but just as powerful and it’s the O.G! Oh and if you like house music, but don’t know about Bobby & Steve / Zoo then you best read up on that shit.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


BONUS: Yasang – Because Of You (Roy’s “Nothin’ But Love” Mix) DOWNLOAD
There’s 2 reasons I had to put a 4th track on this post. First: Yasang was a group that had one release ever and guess who was in the group? That’s right Angie Brown! The original of the track was released in 1997 and was produced by longtime dope dealers Bugz In The Attic. Second: speaking of Chicago, this mix was from the second release of this track in 1998 on Catch Records (one of my favorite UK garage labels) and is by none other than second generation Chitown don Roy Davis Jr. who I saw throw it down twice while I was in Chi and you may remember from our recent Roule Records post. There’s another mix of this track that’s more on the bumpy UK garage tip that you can check over on The Bamboozla Blog.

THE NINETIES 6: Armand Part 4 – Speed Garage

armand van helden speed garage on soul clap blog

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.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Tori Amos – Professional Widow (Armand’s Star Trunk Funkin’ Mix) DOWNLOAD
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.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Nuyorican Soul – Runaway (Mongoloids In Space) DOWNLOAD
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.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Sneaker Pimps – Spin Spin Sugar (Armand’s Dark Garage Mix) DOWNLOAD
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.

This is the final post (for now) in the Armand series so if you want to hear new music from the dude then MAKE SURE TO BUY THE NEW ALBUM ON CD HERE OR DIGITAL HERE!

THE NINETIES 5: Armand Part 3 – Strictly / Nervous

armand van helden strictly rhythm nervous records vinyl rips download music on soul clap

Ok, just woke up from a week long blog coma. Sorry to keep all the Armand fanatics at bay. So next up we’ve got Armand’s first releases on Strictly Rhythm and Nervous Recs, both of which ironically are back in buisness. For those that didn’t know, Strictly partnered with Defected UK for a 2007 relaunch with new mixes of Wink’s Higher State of Conciousness and a new single from Todd Terry.

Anyways, back to AVH, who’s so rediculously diverse that we’re giving you a taste of deep, tribal and garage from ’94-’95.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Kim English – Nite Life (Retail Mix) DOWNLOAD
Ok first up, hot fire from 1994. Armands pass at Kim English‘s classic vocal anthem, which went even so far as to get picked up on Polydor UK. This tune is epic, rave stabs, resonating b-line and New Jersey garage shuffle. After Nervous Records closed down, Kenny Dope remixed and put out a version on Dopewax in 2006 as Nitelife(Encore), but this one’s the O.G!

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Armand Van Helden – Nrongo Ra Morongo DOWNLOAD
Do you want to dance and be happy? Hell yeah, 1994 Strictly Rhythm Nrongo Ra Morongo is the tribal banana boat. I don’t know what language this is, but I know that Armand was feeling samples from Indonesia and Africa. It sounds like they’re saying Namaste which would be from India, i dunno fer sure. Anyways, if you peep the breakdown you might notice that its the same sample he used for 1994’s Zulu (Change Mix) under the Circle Children alias. This track totally flips into some naked percussion. So F*cking DOPE, plus there’s crickets homie, crickets!

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


The Mole People – Break Night DOWNLOAD
The Mole People, I definitely relate since Soul Clap has been living in the studio with no windows. I can’t really put my finger on exactly this sound but its deep, dubby, tribal and so freshly phasered out. Released on Strictly in 1995, can’t tell if its sampled or original, but anyone that knows get at us and set the record straight!

THE NINETIES 4: Armand Part 2 – Cutting / Henry St.

armand van helden old skool junkies on soul clap house music blog
armand van helden old skool junkies on soul clap house music blog

So I was gunna do all Armand’s ’94 house works in one post, but there are too many tunes and the 4 labels he was on are too long to fit in one line of the post title. So I’m breaking into 2 parts, but here’s a little info that applies to this post and the one coming tomorrow. 1994 was the year that Armand broke out and defined the hard edged new garage sound that carried him and NYC’s house labels through the mid ’90s and ultimately played a huge role in the creation of the entire UK garage movement (actually wikipedia’s entry has a ton of errors so maybe someday I’ll have time to update it).

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Tonja Dantzler – In And Out Of My Life (AV8 Mix) DOWNLOAD
This remix was actually released in 1993 on ‘tique Records a sub-label of Woburn, MA based Critique Records, which also released albums from early ’90s acts 2 Unlimited and Digital Underground! The chopped up vocals and tough swing beats on Armand’s mix laid out the framework for his ’94 releases and the new garage house sound.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Armand & The Banana Spliffs – Crusty The Caveman (Land Of The Lost Mix) DOWNLOAD
This EP came out on Cutting Records Traxx in ’94 and has 2 all-time Soul Clap secret weapons on it so I gotta post my least favorite on it. If you are dieing to get your hands on 2 of the best ska/dancehall/house tracks ever then you will buy my second copy of this vinyl.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Old School Junkies – Heh Baby –
DOWNLOAD
Armand’s first Old Skool Junkies EP came out in 1994 on Henry Street and has 3 top choice party cuts PLUS beat tools for all of ’em. All 3 tracks are necessary, but this one is often overlooked in favor of voguing anthem Work Me! (Gadamit). It’s disco house looper that samples Tata Vega’s “Get It Up For Love” (edited to perfection by Dimitri From Paris in 2002).

Once again…if you like this music then you will LOVE the new album so…MAKE SURE TO BUY THE NEW ALBUM ON CD HERE OR DIGITAL HERE!

THE NINETIES 3: Armand Part 1 – AV8 Records

armand van helden old school on the soul clap blog

I’m a little late on this, but the often mentioned D. Day had an interview with dance music legend (and one time Boston representative) Armand Van Helden last week in the Phoenix. It’s a great piece, with some choice Boston history (including the roots of the Loft and shouts to DJ Bruno) and some reflections on the new album Ghetto Blaster, which brings Armand as close to his hip-hop roots as he’s been since 1997’s often overlooked Sampleslaya album. Remember, this dude’s first releases were on party break institution AV8 Records. So in honor of the new album and also because I need to rip all my old vinyl, I think it’s time for an Armand Van Helden series, beginning right here, right now.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Armand Van Helden – CHA-CHA (The Loft Mix) DOWNLOAD
This is definitely one of my favorite Armand tracks of all time, partly because it was one of the first records I ever bought when it was reissued on Logic Records in 1996. This mix is off one of Armand’s first records, the Pirates of the Caribbean EP, which was released in 1992 and also has the distinction of being the first release on AV8. I love it, because it’s called The Loft Mix and it just breathes old-school Boston flavor. I have doubles of this EP so get at me if you want it.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Armand Van Helden – Spin The Bottle (Axis Mix) DOWNLOAD
Another mix named after a Boston club that’s also a Boston flavored banger. This was on the second Pirates of the Caribbean EP, which was also released in on AV8 after The Funky Shell Toes EP and The Buddha Baboons EP in 1993 (gota love all the crazy names – more on that in the next post). There are better tracks on this record, but I had to put the one named after a Boston landmark up. I have doubles of this EP too so if anyone wants a copy of the vinyl SHOUT!

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Gator Boots’ Armand On AV8 Megamix DOWNLOAD
Between the 2 Pirates of the Caribbean EPs and The Funky Shell Toes EP (which is all hip-hop breaks) there are 7 Armand party breaks. The problem is that you just can’t really play most of them because they don’t hit quick enough and I never can decide which is better than the others. So I made a megamix.

Here is the trackslist:
I Can’t Wait (House Head & B-Boy Collaboration Mix)
I’m Searchin (Pass the Peace Mix)
Hurts A Little (Dorchester Bounce-Hall Mix)
You Won’t Getaway (Caps To Back Mix)
Stick-Em (That’s Fresh Mix)
Say Yeah (Shake & Break Mix)
A Deep Hip Hop Kinda Love (After Hours Mix)

MAKE SURE TO BUY THE NEW ALBUM ON CD HERE OR DIGITAL HERE!

THE NINETIES 2 – Early Subliminal


Before he was a superstar meathead favorite Erik “More” Morillo was another young gun at Strictly Rhythm, where producing under too many aliases to name he carved out a niche as one of the best club house producers around (more on this another time), and that’s without mentioning his work as Reel 2 Real. What I’m talking about right now is what happened after that. In 1997 he founded Subliminal. Yeah that Subliminal. They may release annoying Diddy dance tracks now, but when the label started they put out some serious rave/club classics that cannot be overlooked, especially with the current resurgence of all things rave. AND this is a quadruple+ bonus post too, not just the usual 3 tracks, because this is probably all I have to say about Subliminal. In backwards order:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Babe Instinct – Disco Babes From Outer Space (Original Mix) DOWNLOAD

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Babe Instinct – Disco Babes From Outer Space (“Choo-Choo” vs The Pianoheadz Dub) DOWNLOAD
Actually, this whole post was inspired by hearing a remix of this song on Alexander Robotnick’s Resident Advisor podcast. I think Subliminal wasn’t actually the first label to release this terrible/awesome rave smasher, but it’s label I got it and rinsed it on in 1998. The original was the track on here, but looking back, the dub which brought together all the label’s dominant forces (Harry “Choo-Choo” Romero, Jose Nu�ez & Morillo), might be better now. One more thing: it’s freaking co-produced by Praga Khan. What?!

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


The Pianoheadz – Distortion (Choo Choo’s Trifling Bitch Mix)
DOWNLOAD

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


The Pianoheadz – Distortion (Raw Demo Mix) DOWNLOAD
SUB 3 was released in ’98. The Raw Demo mix is a HUGE breakdown machine, but Choo Choo’s mix has that infectious loop and tripped out electronic sound that did it in the morning time.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Da Mob ft. Jocelyn Brown – Fun (Mongofun Dub)
DOWNLOAD

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Da Mob ft. Jocelyn Brown – Fun (Sneak’s Big Fun Mix) DOWNLOAD

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Da Mob ft. Jocelyn Brown – Fun (Basement Jaxx Mongoloid Dub) DOWNLOAD
SUB 1 was released in 1997 and brought together the all-star production team of DJ Sneak, Morillo & Nunez with house diva Brown on vocals. It’s not my favorite vocal tune ever, but the dubs are retarded. The Mongofun Dub subtracts Sneak and adds Junior Sanchez and Romero to the mix, for a speed garage bassline jammer. Sneak’s mix sees the disco loop don doing what he does best (hold up mister man). The Jaxx Dub makes it clear why they blew the fuck up in the late 90’s. This is chopped vocal, swing beat, bass explosion, absolute mayhem that sounds like Switch could have done it yesterday. There’s also bonus beats, a full vocal version, and Todd Edwards and DJ Krust mixes, but you gotta hunt down the vinyl if you want those. I can’t give everything away.

THE NINETIES 1 – Strictly Rhythm ’90-’93

So tonight is the May edition of Yoyoyo 90’s Dance Jam @ Redline and to celebrate here is our first 90’s post (of many more I hope):



Classic Video: DHS – House Of God (1990)

Now for the real business at hand, Strictly Rhythm. I could go on and on about the label’s history and all the amazing artists and tracks on here, but discogs has the info (as they always do), so I’m just gunna talk about the 3 tracks we picked. Defected has now licensed Strictly’s back catalog and most tracks are available for digital purchase so go here and buy all your favorite classics.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


The Underground Solution – Luv Dancin’ (In Deep Mix) DOWNLOAD

Released in 1990, this is one of the S-Man’s first tracks and certified NYC deep house classic that samples Loose Joint‘s 1980 disco workout “Is It All Over My Face” (a classic in it’s own right).

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


The Untouchables – I’m For Real DOWNLOAD

It really is amazing how many NYC house artists careers were pushed by Strictly in the 90’s. K. Dope is another example and this 1991 production is probably his best work under his Untouchables guise.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Hardrive aka MAW – Deep Inside DOWNLOAD

I really don’t need to say anything about this one. You know the drill.