Dance Zone Level 3 (Polygram TV, 1994)

Dance Zone L3

Dance Zone L3 r

Review
Level 3 of Dance Zone saw the number tracks increase – “42 essential dance hits.” Getting their names out front were Whigfield, Corona, DJ Miko, Tinman, Reel 2 Real, M Beat featuring General Levy, Maxx, The Brand New Heavies, 2 Unlimited, China Black, Salt ‘n’ Pepa with En Vogue. It was released in autumn 1994, around the same time that I went to see Pulp Fiction in The Savoy and the release of Now That’s What I Call Music 29.

1-2-XU as Whigfield’s Saturday Night leads into the glorious sound of Corona and The Rhythm Of The Night. Dead on the heavy funk are DJ Miko (What’s Up) and Tinman (18 Strings) while it’s a case of maximum familiarity for Go On Move and Incredible. Jungle is massive and so were The Prodigy in 1994. That Christmas would see the band on an Irish tour with a memorable climax on New Year’s Day 1995 at Waterford’s Metroland. I had previously seen them there on 17 September 1993 with The Fourth Dimension in tow. Vicks central. No Good (Start The Dance) is here, a sublime reminder of those hedonistic times, the era of 21st birthday parties. Escape to paradise with 2 Unlimited’s subdued No One. From despair to where – Maxx’s pulsating No More. Meanwhile CJ Lewis stays sweet on Everything’s Alright as The Brand New Heavies excel on Midnight At The Oasis.

Livin’ Joy’s Dreamer remains as vibrant as ever. Ex-Frank’s APA man Tom Ewing says “The bumping, cut-up rhythms and vocals that begin the remixed Dreamer feel like garage, for example, but as Janice Robinson takes the song into its urgently blissful chorus I want to call it house – or even go more specific and say handbag house, that showy, uplifting offshoot that strutted across superclub dancefloors in the mid-90s.” It’s followed by Juliet Roberts’ catchy Caught In The Middle and Eternal’s superb Just A Step From Heaven. After a skank-off between Searching and Whatta Man, we’re treated to the euphoric rush of Cappella’s Move It Up, full of energy and emotion. Next the somewhat forgotten melancholia of Time Frequency’s Dreamscape, a hazy Spar Ranelagh memory. Check out the late Debbie Millar’s cracking vocals. “Wherever you are, enjoy your cake.” There’s a descent into ordinariness with D:Ream’s average Take Me Away and The Hed Boys’ so-so Girls And Boys with CD1 ending on a jungle breakthrough Original Nuttah.

CD2 offers some lesser-spotted numbers from Tony Di Bart, Atlantic Ocean and Club House. The former’s Do It got as far as #21 in the UK and takes a while to grow on you. Like a teenage New Order. Body In Motion is like Don’t Stop compared to Waterfall, camp as hell. And Living In The Sunshine plays like a ghostly walk through fields of corn, wispy summer evening tinged with tragic trance. Ragamuffin mysteries abound next – Chaka Demus & Pliers ply the Gal Wine, Dawn Penn drops the raucous You Don’t Love Me (No No No) while Aswad’s Warriors is welcome history lesson. In the zone, Aaliyah’s timeless Back And Forth, a smooth crossover that once heard, is never forgotten. +8 Shara Nelson’s Down That Found, the lively Def Classic Mix Edit followed by the nocturnal pulsating beat of Kim English’s Nite Life. New for ’94; Diddy’s shimmering remix of Blondie’s Atomic.

Pizzamania: John Reid and Norman Cook joined forces and gifted us with Trippin’ On Sunshine, an epic trip that hit the public’s consciousness upon re-release in 1996. Turn up the music! Tin Tin Out & Sweet Tee’s master blaster, The Feeling with a new updated take on Raze’s Break For Love – Our Tribe Radio Mix. Sasha is not to be confused with Sash! Magic is a superclub smash. More, more, more: House Of Virginism’s rare rapido moment Reachin’ plus D-Mob’s upfront One Day. In a similar vein, Black Diamond’s plaintive yet chunky trance number Let Me Be which slips nicely into DJ Bobe’s Swiss roller Everybody. Elsewhere catch the vibe of Lucas and the nifty dubkatz sound of With The Lid Off. And then a flashback to an earlier era as Ice MC lets fly with Think About The Way. Just one more tune! What a finish, Orbital’s sublime Are We Here? Like an ambient Kate Bush with breakbeats, a fantastic finale. The Trap remembered: Machines (Or Back To Humans).

Favourite tracks
Orbital – Are We Here?

Cappella – Move It Up

2 Unlimited – No One

Club House featuring Carol – Living In The Sunshine

Aaliyah – Back And Forth

Lest we forget
Time Frequency – Dreamscape

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6 Responses to Dance Zone Level 3 (Polygram TV, 1994)

  1. andynoax says:

    This is my favourite one of the series. not sure why but it brings back happy memories. Lots of great smaller hits on here – Clubhouse being the best.

  2. Andrew Chinnock says:

    I think this would just be my second favourite, behind 5. I bought this the Sunday after it was released. It was a horrible wet day and I had just missed the bus into town, which was 7 miles away. Buses were every 2 hours. I got the bike out instead. I forget how long it took or how soaked I was, or how the £10 note nearly ripped pulling it out of my sodden jeans, but I got it home with no damage.

    Disc 2 the winner again, my first listen to Livin’ Joy’s Dreamer. For some reason I’ve always loved that DJ Bobo track. D:Mob’s Why that year was great, but One Day even better.

    Shame about an odd edit of Living in the Sunshine. After about 1:12, the verse should go into “give it to me, give it to me” etc, but goes straight into the organ chords instead. There’s no way there was an 8 bar cut there because the organ bit starts with vocals ending with “to me”. They had to have taken the last 4 bars of the organ solo (if I can call it that) and copied them in again. Polygram performed a couple of strange edits like this.

    • nlgbbbblth says:

      Hi Andrew – I have had days like that – soaked to skin in search of tunes. Unforgettable volume this one – gonna play Living In The Sunshine again now as I didn’t twig that.

      • Andrew Chinnock says:

        Telstar released a pretty badly edited ‘The Ultimate Dance Album’ in late July that had ‘Living in the Sunshine’ and ‘Body In Motion’ – both were also on Energy Rush Dance Hits 94 which, despite some very poor early fades (Moran testing his editing skills pre Global) and a dire cover that looks like a washing powder box, is one of the better ERs. Both are worth checking out in a way. The hatchet job Telstar did on ‘No More Tears’ was pretty woeful.

        There are quite a few exclusives on this, mainly because of a lack of dance compilations later in 1994. MCA released Love 2 Dance, which is worth picking up for a few rarities. Tony Di Bart’s ‘Do It’ has always been a favourite since I first heard it on here.

        From November that year we had Best of Dance 94, Dance Zone 94 (fade central), Now Dance 94, Dance Massive 2, Ultimate Dance Hits 94, Best Dance Album World 4, Hits Hits and More Dance Hits, topped off with The Best of 100% Dance to open 1995. Overkill?

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