On Rewind! Volume III: Original Classics. Re-Worked, Remixed, Re-Edited and Rewound
, artists like Louie Vega, Greyboy, Antibalas, Swag, P'taah, Jeremy Ellis (a/k/a Ayro), This Kid Named Miles (of Breakestra), John Arnold, Nobody, Damon Aaron, Spiritual South and others pay tribute to classic songs and underground cult tracks by the likes of Herbie Hancock, Cymande, Gil Scott-Heron, Sun Ra, The Chakachas and even Johnny Cash and AC/DC. Rewind III
, unlike the first volumes (and the copy-cat comps that followed), includes no remixes or re-edits of the originals this time - just 100% cover versions made from scratch, with love and dedication by artists from Italy, England, Sweden, Portugal and the USA. Six tracks are completely exclusive, two are as yet unreleased anywhere else, and two more were previously unavailable on CD.
Louie Vega is a household name for his house music productions, either solo or as one half of the legendary MAW duo with Kenny Dope" Gonzalez. For Rewind III we included his cover of the Chackachas rare groove classic Jungle Fever" which finds Mr. Vega in unusually down-tempo form, but a perfect way for us to begin proceedings.
Genevieve" is originally from the 1973 self-titled Cymande album. The lyrics and hooky melody still sound fresh today, especially when backed with Greyboys bumpin' beats and an awesome vocal performance from East Bay soul boy Bart Davenport. Chopping up acoustic guitars over stuttery beats and a beefy b-line, this is one of our favorite Greyboy productions to date. It's more DJ-friendly than To Know You Is To Love You" (as featured on Rewind II), but with same attention to detail and deep soul vibes.
Antibalas blew us away with their rendition of the Willie Colon Latin classic Che Che Cole," released on a Daptone 12". The Makossa mix featured here is a unique blend of the Antibalas Afro beat sound and traditional NuYorican Latin music. This was recorded as a tribute to vocalist Hector Lavoe (who made the Colon tune a hit for Fania in 1969) and boasts the suitably top-notch vocals of Mayra Vega. Hailing from Gothenburg Sweden, Elsa Hedberg has risen to public attention through her vocal work with Andreas Saag on the Swell Session and Stateless projects. Her timeless jazz-inflicted vocal style melds perfectly with Saags forward thinking beats - we knew we had to get them to drop a lil' Rewind magic. Andreas tells me he first saw Elsa perform Open Your Eyes" (a Betty Carter song) at a school talent show, and in his words that's when he fell in love! This track is so hot we've already had to license it out before we'd even released it!
Paolo Fedreghini, a freshman on the Italian-based Schema Records artist roster, rebuilds the swinging rhythms of a track written by Sahib Shihab and recorded by the Clark-Boland Sextet in 1965. The hard-to-find original version was re-issued by the Schema/Rearward label on the Calypso Blues" album and Fedreghini gives it a nice up tempo housey re-rub. Back in Los Angeles, This Kid Named Miles drops a tribute to the man in black a/k/a Johnny Cash, which was recorded before Cash sadly passed away. The dubby ska sound is a different direction for Miles who is perhaps best known as leader of the Ubiquity act Breakestra and host of the Root Down club in LA. Helping out are Feline Science MC Medusa and MC Coco on backing vocals, plus Todd Simon (of Breakestra, Antibalas, and Sharon Jones and the Dapkings) on trombone. I first heard this through the speakers of a dusty desert California diner parking lot and was instantly drawn in by the mariachi horns and the lyrical imagery," says Miles. I am a sucker for sentimental, passionate and despairing love songs and Ring of fire" puts it perfectly plain and simple."
Los Angeles resident Damon Aaron picked Willing" by Gil Scott Heron to cover because it was a song he felt he could relate to both lyrically and musically. It wasn't important that it was a song by anyone in particular (although he is a big Scott-Heron fan) but it is one of those tunes he's always liked and that he would put on mix tapes for people. The only rule I have with cover versions is to make it as much your own as possible," explains Aaron. The original is just a jumping off point, after that, I put it away." Aaron is finishing up as yet to be titled new record, working on a series of abstract paintings, and starting work on an instrumental project called Deodar.
The Peter Thomas Sound Orchestra Stars And Rockets" first came to our attention by way of compilations from Gilles Peterson and the Karminsky Experience. It's a trippy instrumental tune that sounds like it belongs in a late 1960's sci-fi flick. Spiritual South brings it bang up-to date and write lyrics to it, too. As we write these notes their first single, Green Gold" released on Afro Art, is tearing up dance floors left, right and center. We're delighted to showcase only their second ever tune that features the golden vocals of Aurora Dawn.
Portuguese label Nylon may be underground but that status will quickly change, as it becomes known as a home to quality music like Sonic Fiction, the debut album from The Spaceboys. Taken from that album is their broken beat version of Space Is The Place," originally performed by Sun Ra, featuring the ex-Galliano lyricist team of Earl Zinger and Valerie Etienne.
John Arnold teams up with Ayro to bring a new school Detroit twist to Rough," which was originally performed by Herbie Hancock. The Arnold version is from his Ubiquity debut Neighborhood Science, and came about when Arnold was discussing all-time favorite tunes with Andrew Jervis (Ubiquity A+R). It turns out they both shared this one, even though it is often overlooked by Rockit" and other tracks from the landmark 1983 Future Shock album.
Lorez Alexandria recorded two versions of Baltimore Oriole in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Chris Brann aka P'taah (and Ananda Project, Wamdue etc) gives the song a modern broken'ish dance floor friendly twist and showcases the seductive vocals of Amy Pike while he is at it.
Sheffield boys Swag chose the Ryuichi Sakamoto underground classic Riot In Lagos," as an inspirational tune to recreate. Their moody electro-funk style makes this a faithful cover. The original version was released in 1980 on Island and its futuristic blend of electronics, drum programming and percussion is far from the cinematic Sakamoto sound that most people probably know him for.
Porpoise Song" (originally by The Monkees) is just one of the many interesting collaborations and covers from the Pacific Drift album produced by Ubiquity artist Nobody. Time Out New York writes, Beachwood Sparks singer Chris Gunst reinvigorates Porpoise Song" by weaving his cracked vocals in and out of an ambient electronic haze." If you like this, check one out Pacific Drift for more covers including tunes by The Kinks and the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, featuring appearances by members of The Postal Service, Dntel, Languis and Athalia.
Jeremy Ellis aka Ayro is mad or a genius, or possibly both. Who else would take it upon himself to reproduce the epic Chameleon" by Herbie Hancock note for note, drum fill for drum fill, every phrase and sound - that's what he did on the Rewind 12"; the version featured here is edited down to eight minutes to allow for a few more tracks to squeeze on the comp! Ex-Detroit buddy Recloose said, It's unreal how spot on this is! What a feat!" Why do it? Why not! If Frank De Jojo can do Turn Off The Lights" and 4Hero Les Fleurs" why shouldn't the talented keyboard player and programmer from the Motor City show he's got the patience and the chops?
Last but not least, San Francisco based Bing Ji Ling takes the AC/DC strip bar classic All Night Long" in a soulful direction to round out Rewind III. Watch out for Bing Ji Ling on the upcoming Greyboy album, and keep your eyes peeled for his debut album entitled Doodle Loot Doot Doodle A Doo on Kreme Kul records.