mardi 20 octobre 2009

UnClubbed : club classics unplugged revisited

"Club Classics Unplugged & Chilled Out ...Discover the songs behind the beats" states the sticker from my UnClubbed digipack CD.

If you liked the Sagi Rei accoustic versions of club hits or appreciate chilled out soulful revisitations of dance songs we all know, you should take a look on Sacha Collisson's latest project's page :

Along Simon Greenaway, he was the one behind UK dance act Aurora, who gave us several club hits a couple of years ago : The day it rained forever, Dreaming, Hear you calling, Real life, and the covers Ordinary world, If you could read my mind, Sleeping satellite, Summer son (mostly displaying vocalists Lizzy Pattinson and Naimee Coleman's talents) and recently Love resurrection featuring Freemasons' past vocalist Amanda Wilson.

On Aurora's 2002 eponyme album, there already were acoustic versions (the beautiful If you could read my mind
with Marcella Detroit for example) but with UnClubbed, things are pushed a little more far in the chill-out territory.
It's all about organic soulful sounds with guitar, flute and piano, all surrounding beautiful voices giving new life to past club hits.

The album opener is Aurora's favourite singer Lizzy Pattinson with a funky laid-back version of Moloko's Sing it back. Abigail Bailey follows with Finally, not the CeCe Peniston's 1992 overcovered UK #2 song, but the Kings Of Tomorrow lesser known 2001 #24 one... Her strong vocals are perfectly shown by a delicate all acoustic arrangement. Then comes the intemporal Shannon's classic, Let the music play, by Laura Vane, sounding like going back to its roots, a voice and a melody to simply express the music to make you move and dance in rhythm. Deee-Lite's Groove is in the heart is next with Bess Cavendish's well-suited voice. This song I've build to find irritating with the years sounds like fresh again to my ears and that's a surprise !

Then comes one of my favourite club classics EVER : Alison Limerick's Where love lives sublimely revamped by new diva Rita Campbell, who's previously sung for Stonebridge or on lots of PWL/Steps backing tracks in the 2000s. Oh how I wish I'd someday hear a full album of her ! My heart, my ears, all of me needs it... She breathes new life into this perfect song, building from a full accoustic first verse and chorus into a more beat-driven 2nd verse and chorus to fade.

Then, another pure classic, You don't know me, formerly by Armand Van Helden featuring Duane Harden, is stripped to the bone and sent straight into soul/blues heaven with Lewis Cutler's interpretation. Abigail Bailey returns on Rui Da Silva's 2001 number 1 Touch me, a song I didn't really know well but that's nice enough to wait till next treasure, Rapture, the Iio hit recently covered by Bananarama on their Viva album, with Sam Obernik (of Tim Deluxe's It just won't do fame). This version has kept all the energy of the original except the electronic arrangements are replaced by accoustic ones with rhythm guitar, and I, who have never been a fan of the accoustic guitar sound, am totally hooked, or should I say under the magic spell?!

Bimbo Jones' diva, Katherine Ellis, comes next with Hideaway, De'Lacy's cover, and as usual she gives strength and diva power to the song, making it sound punchy and rock, though with some jazzy musical elements in the instrumentations. Another intemporal anthem, You got the love, follows and for once it is a male vocalist that replaces Candi Staton's unforgettable version for The Source and it is none other than soulman Andrew Roachford. You can guess it is another highlight of the album but nearly all tracks here reach exceptional rates of quality.

Sacha Collisson invited Rosie Gaines to re-sing her own song Closer than close and it's all soul/jazz on this new version. Sunscreem's Perfect motion is next revamped and it is another favourite of mine that comes to a new life with Zoe Durrant's fresh vocals. Her voice also ends the CD on Mezmerized 09, which looks to me like being an original song especially written for the project. Maybe I'm wrong, though... But before the end, Justine Suissa did her best Tracey Thorn impersonation on the EBTG worldwide hit Missing, in the former spirit of the song, accoustic folk, and Sweet Female Attitude re-did their 2000 hit Flowers like Rosie Gaines previously did for the CD. I must admit that although the song was a #2 chart hit in the UK, I didn't know it at all. So it is hard for me to judge this new version, except that maybe it makes me feel the limits of such a concept album : I do appreciate chill-out versions of dance songs as long as... I already know these songs well. But that makes two out of 15 songs that I could get without so that's not bad at all!

Add to this several instrumental interludes to help these songs melt one into another and you'll get an ideal chill-out CD to be the musical background for an evening with friends or just while reading a good book in bed or cooling with the one you love in a warm bath with candles.
Go check yourself!

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