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.

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