Remix Radar is back. I went on a hiatus to recharge and allow the time necessary for on the going protests, Black Lives Matter activities, and the general equality acts to take focus. Even though I’m back, content is flowing throughout the media and social media, and everything has seemingly returned to a normal state, it doesn’t mean the fight for change is done or that we return to a selfish state of mind. We as a global society need to keep listening, supporting, and enacting change that helps all black and minority citizens to realize equality. We also need to extend the support to help gender and LGBTQI equality efforts, which we saw happen in the U.S Supreme Court where it was ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits firing or disfavouring workers on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Fitting that this ruling came during Pride Month, which segues me to my next of information.
After reviewing everything going on in the world and the CULTR editorial, I — plus others on our staff — will make sure to highlight minority artists more often than we have. After doing what I did for this edition of Remix Radar, it’s abundantly clear that there is a lot of great music coming from people of color and marginalized groups that deserve more recognition. With it being Pride Month, as well as, Black Music Appreciation Month, I will bring back-to-back Remix Radars focusing on these groups. To start, I begin my focus on Black artists and their remixes. Without Black Americans, dance music would not be what it is today as you’ll see below.
Friday was Juneteenth, a holiday that commemorates the abolition of slavery and celebrates Black America. On this day, 155 years ago, Union soldiers led by Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, to let it be known that enslaved people were free by executive decree. This announcement came to Texas two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued, officially ending slavery in America. With this in mind and the on-going equality issues here in the US, I felt it fitting to do a Black Pride edition of Remix Radar. It is a time to celebrate black culture and highlight the contributions made by those pioneers that have made dance music — and all music — what it is today.
Below is only a snapshot of all the great black artists that have influenced dance music. There is so much more than just these acts and after reading this, I suggest doing your own research. There are so many gems to be unearthed.
Depeche Mode – Going Backwards (The Belleville Three Remix)
To kick things off, I start at the beginning, The Belleville Three. For the uninitiated, The Belleville Three are the founders of Techno and set in motion an influential wave that touched all corners of the globe. Made up of Juan Atkins, Derrick May, and Kevin Saunderson, the three met at Belleville High School in Belleville, a town that is touching distance from Detroit, hence the name. Atkins and May started out DJing to the Detroit underground party scene as Deep Space Soundworks. It led to their and Saunderson’s recorded mixes being played on Detroit radio. It was around this time all three branched out and worked with artists to produce and release tracks under names like Cybotron (Atkins and Rick Davis), Model 500 (Atkins), Inner City (Saunderson and vocalist Paris Gray), and Rhythim is Rhythim (May). After three decades of resisting to embrace The Belleville Three Monicker and join forces, the trio finally and officially came together to be The Belleville Three where they performed for the first time under the moniker at Coachella 2017 and Detroit’s Movement. The singular track that I have found that the trio did is this remix of Depeche Mode’s “Going Backwards”. It’s exquisite and gives a glimpse into what made these men a global influence.
If you have the time, I highly suggest combing the internet and reading about the history of The Belleville Three. I only provided the surface of who they are and what they did.
Inner City – Big Fun (12′ Remix)
As mentioned above, Inner City is a duo consisting of Kevin Saunderson and the vocalist Paris Gray. Their record “Big Fun” was their first major success where it saw the record climb the charts and hit #8 on the UK Singles Chart and #1 on the US Dance Chart. When you listen to this one you’ll understand where acts like Duke Dumont, Gorgon City, and Riton draw influence from.
Jesse Saunders – Eamon “F**k It” (Dirty Edit)
Jesse Saunders is one of the pioneers of House music and is often referred to as “the originator of House music”. Saunders took house to the Chicago masses as he broke it free from the underground and gay nightclubs that Frankie Knuckles (we’ll get to him) and others resided to. It’s from here that he started his own nightclub with soaring attendance numbers, showcased his own music, and truly began a following and movement around House. After one of Saunders’s bootleg mixes was stolen, he set out to recreate it with Vince Lawrence, and thus “On & On” was born. It became the first House record to be released when it hit the shelves in 1984 and cemented its status as a piece of history. Shortly after “On & On”, came “Funk U Up” — the first House record to make it on the Billboard Charts — , “Real Love”, and “Love Can’t Turn Around”, the song credit with starting the House music revolution in the UK. It was after this success that saw Jesse’s Gang — Saunders’s group — signed to Geffen Records and took his pioneering ability to new heights.
Like with The Belleville Three, the information I provided is just scratching the surface and I highly suggest spending some time learning more about Jesse Saunders. To being your dive, here’s the dirty edit of Eamon “F**k It”. I’ve actually heard this recorded in several DJ mixes over the years. I can’t remember who dropped it, but it was quite the crowd-pleaser with Millenials that I suspect have no idea of its origins.
Everything But The Girl – Missing (Todd Terry Remix)
Todd Terry is another legendary act. He’s credited with moving House from the original Chicago and Detroit sounds to the early beginnings of Acid House and Rave movements. Todd took the original House sounds and spliced in hip-hop breaks to create a more energized dance sound. From his invention came multiple dance hits, charted tracks, and countless remixes for a who’s who list of acts, like Michael Jackson, Cher, and Daft Punk. Mr. Terry’s remix of “Missing” from Everything But The Girl was a massive success. The original didn’t see much buzz until the Toddy Terry remix was released. Todd’s version went on to score Gold and Platinum record status, as well as, #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart and the US Dance Chart.
Nina Simone – Sinnerman (Felix Da Housecat’s Heavenly House Mix)
I love this record. “Sinner Man” or “Sinnerman” is derived from a traditional African American spiritual song. The first recorded version came from Les Baxter orchestra via Capitol Records. Other versions soon followed with the most popular coming from the black gospel group, Swan Silvertones. Then came Nina Simone’s version, which became one of her most famous records ever and was sampled by Kanye West, Timbaland, and featured across film, TV, and commercials. It helped propel Nina’s Pastel Blues to number #8 on the US R&B Chart.
That brings me to Felix Da Housecat. He is often regarded as a critical member of the second wave of Chicago House. He’s scored several US Dance charted tracks and has provided countless remixes for superstar acts like Britney Spears, Madonna, and Gwen Stefani. However, his remix of Nina Simone’s “Sinnerman” is his greatest triumph and is stunning in every way.
Jamie Principle – I’m Gonna Make You Scream (Steve “Silk” Hurley Acid Mix)
Jamie Principle is another one of the original House pioneers from Chicago. His record from 1984 “Your Love” is regarded as one of the first House tracks and became one of Frankie Knuckles go-to records when he performed at the fame The Power Plant. Throughout the 80s and 90s, Jamie continued to release dance records, which were often credited to Frankie Knuckles. These records scored several entries on the Billboard Dance Chart and became staples in the scene. In 1992, Jamie Principle released his first album, The Midnite Hour, and saw him team up with Steve “Silk” Hurley who helped produced some of the records. Jamie eventually scored his first #1 dance track in 2004 with “Back N Da Day”, a collaboration with Knuckles. Recently, he’s appeared on the Gorillaz’s tracks “Sex Murder Party” and “Hollywood”.
Steve “Silk” Hurley is also a pioneering member of Chicago House. As J.M Silk, he scored countless hit dance records including the highly famous “Jack Your Body”. He is also a four-time Grammy Award Nominee, two of which are for his remixes of Bob Marley and Brandy. Here is his Acid Mix of “I’m Gonna Make You Scream”.
Nightlife Unlimited – Peaches & Prunes(it’s magic!)(Ron Hardy Re-Edit)
Ron Hardy is another legendary figure from the early days of Chicago’s dance scene. He was a key figure in creating the famed Music Box and saw Ron perform his own brand of house music that brought a hyper sound that included samplings of disco, funk, new wave, and even rock. In a way, he took House to a wild, almost psychedelic sound that the other pioneers did not go to. Sadly, Ron hardy passed away in 1992 from drug addiction and an AIDS-related illness, which limited the mark he could make on music. I highly recommend reading about Ron Hardy’s life and influence. A good start is this article. His remix of “Peaches & Prunes” gives a good insight into the types of sounds he would explore. It’s also incredible.
Mitchbal – Love Is The Answer (Farley “Jackmaster” Funk Remix)
Farley Jackmaster Funk continues our dive into the history of House. He was one of the many acts that performed at the famed Warehouse, while Frankie Knuckles was the director. He is credited with producing and writing multiple dance hits of the late 80s and early 90s. He scored his first UK Chart with “Love Can’t Turn Around“, which is accompanied by a truly 80s music video that is incredible. His remix of Mitchbal’s “Love Is The Answer” oozes coolness and unrivaled grooviness.
Mitchbal is another early member of the Chicago dance scene and has an interesting story himself. You can learn more here.
Wallflower – Say You Won’t Ever (Larry Heard Club Mix)
Larry Heard is a prominent figure in the early days of the Chicago House scene. He released several of the first recorded records of House with “Can You Feel It?“, “Mystery of Love”, and “Washing Machine”. His addition to the scene was bringing a deeper sound to the decks, which would make Larry Heard one of the inventors of Deep House. His remix of Wallflower’s “Say You Won’t Ever” comes from relatively recent times (2013) and highlights his penchant for constructing fined-tune, low rumbling House that is undeniably cooler than the other side of the pillow. After doing my research for this Remix Radar, this remix has become a favorite of mine and proves Larry is the ultimate purveyor of Deep House.
Reese – Rock To The Beat (Mike “Hitman” Wilson Remix)
Mike “Hitman” Wilson is another act with ties to the early days of Chicago House. For some reason, there isn’t as much available about him on the internet, but his name often appears in connection to a lot of the guys featured above. His remix of “Rock To The Beat” is another glorious example of the greatness of the early House records.
Ninetoes – Finder (Carl Cox Remix)
This list wouldn’t be complete without the appearance of Carl Cox. The British artist has been going strong for almost four decades and is still a common sight on the tour and festival circuits across the globe. He’s helped shape the modern dance industry to what it is, all the while releasing some of the best and most beloved records. One of my favorite remixes is his spin of Ninetoes’s “Finder”.
Chip E – Back To Jack (House Mix)
Chip E was dubbed the “Godfather of House Music” and is often cited as a major proponent of House with his EP, Jack Trax, considered by some as the original House records. From the EP, came “Time To Jack” and “It’s House”. These records are the first to use “Jack” and “House” in reference to the genre. After Chip E became one of the most well-known DJs he disappeared into the background, which further added to his mystic. While he took his hiatus from the DJ scene, he worked with musical acts such as Michael Jackson, Fleetwood Mac, and Prince to name a few. He also produced the House documentary, The UnUsual Suspects – Once Upon a Time in House Music. Since then he’s connected with Carl Cox to make music and has come back to the scene that he helped pioneer. The track that I feature is the House mix of the legendary record, “Time To Jack”.
Junior Boys – Like A Child (Carl Craig Remix)
Carl Craig is one act and — probably — most well known to come from the second wave of Detroit Techno. Ever since, he’s had a massive presence in dance music, which has seen him release over 200 records and have countless performances across the world. His remix of Junior Boys’ “Like A Child” earned him a Grammy-Nomination in 2008 and is an absolutely banging record. It’s a perfect example of why he’s still a mainstay in the scene.
Jesse Saunders Ft. Dani Ivory – Sunshine (Demarkus Lewis Remix)
I talked extensively about Jesse Saunders above and his legendary status. One of his most recent releases is “Sunshine”, which gets a remix from Demarkus Lewis who has been a producer, DJ, and label owner for two decades. In that time span, he’s released over 100 records and performed across the globe. He’s a name that quite often pops up in the more underground club scene. His remix of “Sunshine” is a great example of timeless House.
Cappella – U Got 2 Let The Music (DJ Pierre Mix)
DJ Pierre is another act from Chicago that was a part of the early years of House. He was also one of the original creators of Acid House as a member of Phuture where they unleashed the squelch sound of the Roland TB-303 upon the world. Their EP, Acid Tracks, is considered the first recording of Acid House and was first played out at Ron Hardy’s Music Box. It’s quite crazy to see the connection between a lot of the acts in this list and how these connections shaped dance music. Eventually, DJ Pierre moved away from the Chicago scene and saw him bring this incendiary remix of the hit single from Cappella, “U Got 2 Let The Music”.
Jai Paul – BTSTU (Moodymann Edit)
No list about Black influence on dance music and music as a whole would be complete without mentioning Moodymann. He’s easily one of the most inventive artists around. He created a hybrid blend of house and techno, while also being one of the first to bring a heavy use of samples. His legend grows every day, especially with the lack of interviews and his insistence on releasing his music via non-traditional avenues and often skipping the modern streaming route. One key component of Moodymann is his connection to rollerskating and its connection and influence on Black culture and the rise of dance music. There is a documentary by Dazed that covers this topic, which can be found here. For this, I decided to feature the Moodymann edit of Jai Paul’s “BTSTU”, which is an amazing cut of a fellow mysterious act. To learn more, look up Jai Paul’s story and the leak of his unfinished album.
Green Velvet & Weiss – Forbidden Fruit (Green Velvet Remix)
Green Velvet is another act coming from Chicago. He is heavily influenced by the early sounds of Chicago House and Detroit Techno, as well as, the European sounds pioneered by Kraftwerk. He’s been a staple of dance music, since the 90s under his many monikers. Easily my favorite remix from Green Velvet, his reimaging “Forbidden Fruit” has everything I want in a techno record, deep driving beat, and interesting weird sounds.
Barbara Tucker – Beautiful People (Club Mix)
Barbara Tucker is an absolute legend. She’s been dubbed “Queen of House” and no comprehensive list about House or Black dance culture is complete without her name. She’s had six #1 hits on the US Hot Dance Club Songs and has appeared on the UK charts seven times. To learn more about her, we did an interview with her, which can be found here. Ms. Tucker’s “Beautiful People” was her first #1 record. This club mix is easy to get lost in and dance the night away.
Cajmere – Percolator (Jamie Jones Vault Mix)
Jame Jones is a name that most of you will recognize. He’s risen the ranks of the underground to become a sought after act. He’s been ranked as the top DJ by Resident Advisor and Mixmag. He’s unleashed a very distinct style of warmer techno so to speak. His remix of Cajmere, which is another moniker of Curtis Jones aka Green Velvet, is a monster tune with a beat that slaps with ferocity.
Gene Farris presents The DEB Project – A Dub (Roy Davis Jr. & DJ Skull Remix)
Like many of the tracks and artists featured above, Gene Farris comes from the Windy City where he cut his teeth in the underground club and warehouse scene. He was a part of the second wave of Chicago House that bellowed from the city in the early 90s. Gene is still going strong and has recently appeared on Dirtybird, Toolroom, and Spinnin’ with the release of “Popular“, which dropped yesterday. The track I am featuring is a remix of The DEB Project’s “A Dub” by Roy Davis Jr. and DJ Skull. The DEB Project was a duo between Deskee and DJ Eb-Clectic, which included some additional work from Gene. There’s actually a comment on the YouTube video from Eb-Clectic that clears up some confusion on the upload. As you’ll see, it’s titled “Visions Of the Future”, but it’s actually “A Dub”, which appears to be the original version that became “Visions Of the Future”. If I’m being honest, I’m not entirely sure of the history or necessarily the correct crediting for it. What I do know is that this record is timeless and still gets spun into mixes and sets. Another fantastic tune from an all Chicago outfit.
Hercules & Love Affair – Blind (Frankie Knuckles Remix)
We are finally to Frankie Knuckles who is connected to many of the previous acts. Frankie had a MASSIVE hand in creating House and turning it into a behemoth of a genre. Without him, there is no House and, to an extent, dance music may never have reached the heights it has without him. In 1977, his friend, Robert Williams, opened the Warehouse, which Frankie DJ’d at frequently, honing his DJ skills and inventing House. Some even say the name “House” comes from the shorting of Warehouse. Eventually, Frankie went on to open his own club, The Power Plant, where he continued to perform and create the House movement. It was also a place that helped to develop and elevate a lot of the Chicago DJs that exploded from the scene.
As mentioned, Frankie worked quite often with Jamie Principle and Chip E with the latter helping Frankie develop his production chops. He would go on to achieve five #1 US Dance records and a Grammy-award for his remix of Tonnie Braxton’s “Un-break My Heart”. Sadly, Frankie Knuckles passed away in 2015 from diabetes complications. Without a doubt, Frankie’s legacy will live on and his influence felt until the end of Dance Music.
For this Remix Radar, I’ve decided to feature his remix of “Blind” by Hercules & Love Affair. This track is nothing short of extraordinary and creates a sonic playground that is mesmerizing and dazzling. It’s the perfect dance record.
Pet Shop Boys – Being Boring (Marshall Jefferson Remix)
Marshall Jefferson is often cited as “The Father of House Music”. Just like Frankie Knuckles and others featured in Remix Radar, he has a heavy influence on the development of the genre, as well as, the proliferation that took place in the years that followed. He’s another artist where it could be reasoned that without him we wouldn’t have had House nor the Dance scene of today. Afterall, he is the man behind “Move Your Body”, a record that is constantly played in mixes and has been sample an innumerable amount of times. He even released an updated version with Solardo, highlighting the strength and timelessness of the record. Today, Marshall Jefferson is still going strong releasing new records and remixes that innovate House and Dance as a whole.
Kanye West – Love Lockdown (Flying Lotus Remix)
Most of the previous artists featured have provided a history of dance music. Now I’m going to feature a few of the current Black artists that are influencing Dance and the industry as a whole. To begin, Flying Lotus. He has easily been one of the most inventive acts over the last decade and has provided a heavy influence on music with his Brainfeeder label and his production work for acts like Mac Miller, Odd Future, and Kendrick Lamar. FlyLo has even dipped his toes into the visual arts scoring multiple short films and cartoons, including a song for Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time. His remix of Kanye West’s “Love Lockdown” gives a glimpse into the ethereal world that FlyLo is often experimenting with.
Teedra Moses – Be Your Girl (KAYTRANADA Edition)
This Kaytranada remix of Teedra Moses’s “Be Your Girl” was and still is such a massive record. It was originally released as a bootleg via SoundCloud and YouTube back in 2013 where it turned into a sort of viral sensation. Five years later it received the official treatment and was released on the DSPs where it’s accumulated nearly 20million streams on Spotify. It’s safe to say this track has helped establish Kaytranada as a merchant of sensational sound design. In particular, his spin on “Be Your Girl” creates a poignant sound that envelopes the mind and body in sentimental feelings.
Tyler, The Creator – EARFQUAKE (Channel Tres Remix)
I’ve wrote quite extensively about Channel Tres and his penchant for thick and snazzy bass lines, a low-rumbling voice that oozes a serene power, and effortlessly cool melodies. It’s undeniable that Channel has been a breakout star of the last year and a half or so. His remix of Tyler, The Creator’s “EARFQUAKE” is nothing short of brilliant and is one of my favorite tracks of the year.
Fiorious – I’m Not Defeated, Pt. II (Honey Dijon’s Undefeated Dub)
Honey Dijon is quite a remarkable act that deserves more attention. As a trans woman, she is an inspiration for all that she has created in music and has done for trans rights. Once again, she is another act out of Chicago where she cut her teeth. However, she relocated to New York where she began her ascent amongst the underground dance culture, as well as, the New York Fashion scene. She has a lot of great tracks and quite a few amazing mixes on the internet that I suggest giving a listen. Her edit of “I’m Not Defeated, Pt. II” has a classic house vibe to it and has an insatiable groove that will get the coldest of hearts warm and moving.
Little Dragon – Lover Chanting (Jayda G Remix)
To preface, I am a big fan of Little Dragon and their “Lover Chanting”. The remix from Jayda G is extraordinary. I really like the house beat and the repetitive sampling Jayda sprinkles into the background. It culminates in an intoxicating swirl of warm, uplifting feelings. Jayda is another act that has made a name in the underground dance scene, which means she is a master of DJing and creating lively environments that concertgoers will get lost in for hours. You can tell she draws inspiration from a lot of the old school Chicago House acts, most of which I’ve already featured in this Remix Radar.
Keinemusik (Rampa, Adam Port, &ME) – Muyè (Black Coffee Remix)
Hailing from South Africa, Black Coffee has become a massive name in the game. He’s helped take a creative melodic house sound to a more commercial realm, as well as, helped propel his home country into the minds of the music industry. Without him, I’m not sure we would be talking about the genres of Amapiano, Kwaito, and Gqom. Of course, that isn’t to discredit artists that call those genres theirs, but I’ve seen or heard more about those genres because of Black Coffee and his relationship with his home country.
His remix of the collaborative collection, Keinemusik, is a prime example of the beauty and genius that is Black Coffee. He lets the record slowly build and bumble allowing listeners to become entombed in its emotive pull. I also highly suggest giving his Cercle set a gander. It’s truly magical.
Rudimental Ft. Becky Hill – Powerless (MK Remix)
I find it crazy how long Marc Kinchen aka MK has been DJing and producing. When I first think of MK, I always think of him breaking out in the 2010s, but that’s wrong. His first two #1 US Dance Records came in 1993 and 1994. His next two #1 records came twenty years later in 2017 and 2019. The man has staying power, to say the least. Two of my favorite dance records of all time are his remixes for Rudimental’s “Powerless” and Wankelmut and Emma Louise’s “My Head Is a Jungle“. Both are insanely great dance records, but for the sake of this Remix Radar I went with his spin on “Powerless”. He peels away the DnB sounds from the original and builds a piano-laced House production. It combines with Becky Hill’s majestic vocals to create a record that slithers with poignant tones and connective energy.
Mabel – Mad Love (Blinkie Remix)
I’m a sucker for this remix from Blinkie. It’s a spectacular house record that has a delicious piano line and sticky beat. Blinkie does an amazing job at working Mabel’s vocals to create an energy that pokes and prods listeners bringing them into the sound where they easily get lost in its wake. Blinkie is an act that you definitely need to keep your eyes and ears peeled to over the backend of 2020 into 2021.