Dec. 18, 2012
By DJ NUTRITIOUS
(Dec. 18, 2012)
So Nu Northern Soul, a fledgling label out of Liverpool, likes to do big delicious things. On limited edition vinyl and all that. Luckily for us, they’ve decided to share their newest exclusive — two incredible cuts from vocalist Benjamin James Smith. In his “Dedication to the Greats” double A side, he’s pulling out some interesting stops. Interpretations, covers, what-have-you of both Mos Def’s indelible “Umi Says” then The Pharcyde’s prolific “Runnin'” (originally produced by the late, great J-Dilla). I listened to this when it first landed in my hands and couldn’t help but be blown away by the shear fearlessness it takes to put out a project like this. Take a listen, call it what you will. I’m calling it straight gangsta. Even more so when you come prepared with the limited edition vinyl, pre-order here: http://mynunorthernsoul.bandcamp.com.
I had a run-in with Dimitri from Paris last night in NYC. Which is cool because we’ve both had the good fortune of remixing with Philadelphia International Records fam, MFSB, Gamble & Huff. I sense a kinship. But when I saw him last night, I sensed unrest in him while NYC’s legendary discotheque foreman Francois K pulled at Dimitri’s headphones while relentlessly cranking knobs, blasting high frequency dub-echoes into the Cielo soundsystem at levels nobody in their right mind could handle. Not on a Monday night, just not enough drugs. But back to Dimitri — who’s a scholar and a gentleman, also disco royalty. I’m here to give a nod to some of his best offerings. Here’s a live set from one of his four previous excursions at Deep Space, courtesy of Bruce Tantum and the fine-folks at Time Out New York. Amidst the abyss of the deep and the emptiness of space, Dimitri always finds a way to keep it upbeat and fun — a nice way to let you know he’s your friend on the dance floor. He doesn’t show up to the party to beat your ass, only to make it shake.
So beat-heads, funk-fiends, producers, DJs, remixers — we’ve covered a bunch here today. And J-Dilla’s time-honored approach to piecing together some of the tastiest sound collages in music history leads me to this Ubiquity reissue of “… Moves” fronted by respected Broadway dancer Ronn Forella who taught the Forella technique at the Farnworth Hauer Dance School — mostly to grooves like the ones found on this album originally released on the now-defunct Hoctor label. Firstly, Ronn Forella did not make this music. Composer, performer, sculptor and musical director of the first national stage production of “Grease,” Thom Janusz did. Secondly, Thom and Forella collaborated on shows — network TV shows and also a Broadway production called “Wild and Wonderful.” So take all this Broadway and “Grease,” understand the dynamic between music and the dancer, because there’s an even bigger reason why I bring this album up. I’ll let the producers out there figure it out. Here’s a sample …