Special tribute to the victims of Orlando shooting – Free – Ultra Nate

On Sunday, June 12, 2016 the world was stunned and saddened by the news of the shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida in what was deadliest incident of violence against LGBT people in US history and the deadliest terrorist attack in the US since September 11, 2001.

With 50 people now dead and 53 injured, there has been an outpouring of support from around the world, led by the LGBT community and supported by millions of others.  As Toronto Pride approaches at the end of this month, this incident will no doubt cast a shadow over the festivities, but it has also served as a reminder of exactly how strong the LGBT community is worldwide and how incidents like this simply cannot be allowed to continue.

I do not use this blog as a political forum, however, I cannot and will not ignore this incident and wanted to do something to boost the spirits of those affected by this terrible tragedy and remind them that they have been fighting the good fight for years and they do have one thing that no one can ever take away from them:  HOPE.  Hope that the magnitude of this incident will never be forgotten.  Hope that this tragedy will inspire people to unite together against discrimination, bigotry and hatred.  Hope that as human beings we can and will keep moving towards a time when all people, regardless of race, sexuality, gender or creed will all be loved and treated equally no matter where they are from and what they choose to represent.

It is with this in mind that I sought to post a song today that hopefully will resonate in the hearts and minds of anyone who has ever been discriminated against or targeted by those who do not understand.  It is for this reason that I have chosen “Free” – Ultra Nate.

Ultra Nate began her recording career in 1991 with the release of her debut album “Blue Notes In The Basement” followed by “One Woman’s Insanity” in 1993.  Neither album did exceptionally well in mainstream sales, and with her label Warner Bros. trying to push her in a direction away from her house sounds, she ultimately left the label and linked up with the hottest independent dance label in the world:  Strictly Rhythm.

It was here, in 1997, that her biggest release to date arrived in the form of “Free“.  Produced by Mood II Swing, the song is story about keeping positive under pressure and reminding the world that no matter who we are or what we do, if we choose to believe it, we are free to do what we want to do.  The track immediately was embraced as a LGBT anthem and catapulted Ultra Nate to the #1 spot on Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Songs chart.

A timeless record that still drives people to the dancefloor in droves, I will fondly remember this record for its positive message, great groove and uplifting feeling.  At a time where saddens, confusion and despair grips the city of Orlando and millions of other around the world, I do hope that by hearing this song today that they will realize that hope cannot be taken away from them and my thoughts are with those who suffered from this horrible event.



Classic House Series Episode #16 – Fly Life Extra – Basement Jaxx

In the late 90s, if there was ever a track that served as a call to arms for fans of deep, underground house music to hit the dancefloor, this one was it.

While Daft Punk were busy showing the world the finer details of the French Touch, Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe, known collectively as Basement Jaxx, were developing their own unique style which employed elements of cut-up house, deep basslines and an unmistakable quirkiness that led them to become one of the most important acts to emerge from the UK house scene at the time.

Named after their successful club night in Brixton, the duo released a number of independent singles through their Atlantic Jaxx label before dropping their debut LP “Remedy” in 1999.  4 acclaimed singles would be released from the album including “Red Alert and “Rendez-vu, both of which would top the Billboard US Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart.

Fly Life originally appeared in 1997 through Multiply Records and featured remixes courtesy of Erick Morillo, Roni Size and Cajmere under his Green Velvet alias.  Featuring a ragga-style vocal from Glamma Kid and samples from the Jaxx-produced Corrina Joseph track “Live Your Life With Me“, the track did well, but it was the Fly Life Xtra remix to follow that would take it over the top.

The Jaxx crew take us on a 9-minute ride that removes the ragga vocal in favour of accenting the filtered bass, the stuttering “Fly Life” vocal, a few snippets of Ms. Joseph and, of course, the pitch-bent synth squeal that takes this one into orbit.  Buxton and Radcliffe were already known for remixing on the fly during their live sets and this remix definitely sounds like it could have been done in one pass, hands manipulating the knobs and filters to create a distinct live feel that gives this track its edge.  Always a treat for the old-school heads, this one remains a big crowd favourite to this day.