Charlie Butler takes a look at the Mi-Soul Playlist…
‘Barely Breakin’ Even (Opolopo Remix)’ – Leroy Burgess
Time and music work cyclically and as time keeps turning, so too do musical trends come back around. Originally released in 1982 by the Universal Robot Band this song filled the dance floors of New York for one long hot summer. Now that classic disco music is having a renaissance, ‘Barely Breakin’ Even’ has been rereleased on Groove Odyssey with a remix by Opolopo. It’s been touched up with reference to today’s trends but that isn’t to say you can’t still hear its pedigree and detect its original essence. The retro synths remain and the cow bell – always a welcome sound as far as I’m concerned – still keeps the rhythm and the groove in check.
‘Never (Maurice Joshua Unreleased Remix)’ – Jaheim
For fans of Jaheim’s usual output, this Maurice Joshua remix will be an encounter with something they haven’t heard too often: Jaheim on something fast and energetic. We all know Jaheim as a soulful crooner, the singer of tender love songs that drip with feeling and romance. But despite his vocals being laid over something we’re not used to his delivery remains note-perfect. And his brilliant voice has the versatility to suit any tempo and style – it’s the perfect example of when house and soul come together well. While the original ‘Never’ – released in 2007 – was the epitome of laid-back American R&B, the remixed version is the paradigm of a dance floor-filler.
‘Asking Eyes’ – Da Lata
Da Lata – or “from the tin” in Portuguese – is a British music duo who’ve been creating and refining their distinct sound for over 20 years now. At first glance it seems an unusual name for a band hailing from London but when you listen to their music you understand the meaning behind the moniker. Since 1994 the two have been pioneers in a scene that straddles the line between Afro-Brazilian and soulful dance. New single ‘Asking Eyes’ showcases everything they’re about. There’s the samba influence – the flutes, the 2/4 rhythm and tropical soundscapes – and behind it all there’s the percussion which would sound most at home being beat out on tin cans from the favela’s colourful steps.