The final volume in the Dance Zone series was released in 1997. It’s now “massive” and on the front inlay are The Space Brothers, CJ Bolland, Red Five, The Course, Sash!, The Cardigans, Orbital, Brand New Heavies, Smoke City, Michelle Gayle, Slacker, R Kelly.
CD1 begins with the hypnotic trance sound of Shine. The Space Brothers were made up of Ricky Simmonds and Stephen Jones, noted for producing under a variety of pseudonyms such as Chakra, Lustral, Ascension, Essence, Ultra High, Lamai and The Realm. Powerful, emotional and a key memory of Ibiza ’97. Fiery brimstone next as CJ Bolland cranks up The Prophet. No skool like an old skool – Red Five ’s epic I Love You. . . Stop! is the sound of numerous all-nighters. Next come The Course and their beefed-up take on The Fugees’ Ready Or Not, transforming it into an oblique floor-filler. Some big hitters – Encore Une Fois, Love Fool and Orbital’s The Saint – before the Brand New Heavies and the delicious Sometimes. Keeping the vibe are Nuyorican Soul – in 1997, their self-titled LP was huge, It’s Alright is taken from it, a tour-de-force for Jocelyn Brown. Meanwhile, the ubiquitous Underwater Love is presented in the lesser-heard Morales Underwater Club Edit. Smokin’.
Make it murky – the Funky Green Dogs are in town. Ladies night – get yer groove on for Casino’s relentless Sound Of Eden and Lisa Stansfield’s People Hold On as remade by Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Need more? Then check out Sara Parker’s urgent My Love Is Deep followed by Michelle Gayle’s Do You Know. Jewel in the rough – Slacker’s Scared. The samples: Girl talking is from a 1966 album just called LSD- a promo vinyl album featuring Timothy Leary. Track 3’s The Lost Generation (Excerpt). Breakdown eerie synth – Peter Gabriel & Ravi Shankar – Of These, Hope – Reprise from the Last Temptation of Christ Soundtrack*. Guitar loop is Harold Melvin – Don’t Leave Me This Way. Elsewhere Grace continues to tug my nostalgia chain on the gorgeous Hand In Hand while Livin’ Joy go all out wild with Where Can I Find Love. Weren’t the ’90s great? Gina G’s catchy Eurotrash banger I Belong To You never gets old. Closing the first half, the late Robert Miles and Maria Nayler – the sobering One & One. “Sometimes, you don’t even have the time to realise what is happening to your life, that it has already happened… the world moves too fast… let’s recapture the essence of time.”
* As included on my Balearic mix project From Dusk Till Dawn.
The second half of Dance Zone Level 9 kicks off with another CJ Bolland tune, this time the more well-known Sugar Is Sweeter. It’s given a jungle twist by Armand Van Helden who pops up later on with his searing Funk Phenomena. Step back for a bit and think of that Smirnoff advert, which was soundtracked by Dylan Rhymes breakbeat jam Naked & Ashamed. Or else you’ll remember it from Need For Speed. Or FIFA for life. This all-killer sequence continues with The Orb’s uptempo ambient classic Toxygene. Greg Edgecombe “The ultimate track to discover an illegal rave whilst wondering through the woods!” Breaking the spell, Up Yer Ronson with a rather unnecessary take on I Will Be Released. Next come Zee with the sad-face melancholy trance of Say My Name while Hondy’s No Access is another forgotten summer holiday classic.
The remainder of disc 2 mixes up well-known classics like Robin S – Show Me Love, Byron Stingily – Get Up Everybody, Apollo 440 – Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Dub, The Blue Boy – Remember Me, The Source featuring Candi Staton – You Got The Love (Now Voyager Radio Mix, R Kelly – I Believe I Can Fly. A quick search will show plenty of previous commentary on these. Of the others, there’s Coma B and their techno wizardry known as Have Fun. And JT Playaz’s hardfloor experience Just Playin’. Who remembers a mournful Cream anthem from Y Trazz called Mystery Land? Mad for sadness as Kevin & Perry go large. In the melting pot, That Kid Chris’ Feel The Vibe and the awfulness of N-Trance’s D.I.S.C.O. Calling time are Clock and their passable version of The Funkmasters’ It’s Over, a super boogie jam for the end of every club night. “Show me these Quinnsworth toys.”
And that’s all from me for 2018. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
The Orb – Toxygene
The Space Brothers – Shine
Y Traxx – Mystery Land
Grace – Hand In Hand (Oakenfold & Osborne Radio Mix)
Hondy – No Access
Lest we forget
Dylan Rhymes – Naked & Ashamed
Hi Paul, I never fathomed out why on earth I Believe I Can Fly got included here. Strangely, I look at the last few tracks of this from It’s Over, and it’s almost like a subliminal message that this is the last Dance Zone. I think we’ve both agreed that it had gone stale by this point.
An interesting point about Are You Gonna Be There – not sure if you’ve come across Shay Jones’ version from 1991, remixed by my hero (Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley), but it’s a million times better than this ripoff. It never appeared on CD unfortunately. It deserved much better.
Hi Andrew – totally baffling! No – not heard Shay Jones, will try and find out – Silk’s remixes are a badge of quality