In the world of house music, a production can make a moderate impact at one moment and sometimes, just sometimes, be resurrected to even greater acclaim years later. Such is the case with the undeniable house bomb that is “Ultra Flava” – Farley & Heller Project.
The year was 1994 and DJs/Remixers Terry Farley & Pete Heller were getting great feedback from their remix of Ultra Nate‘s single “How Long” under their Fire Island alias. A listen to the remix shows that this is where the bulk of the sonic foundation for “Ultra Flava” was laid. It remains a great remix in its own right, and Ultra Nate would go on to achieve worldwide success with the release of “Free” in 1997 and has continued to maintain a strong following to this day. Heller would go on to enjoy success as a solo artist with his 1998 release of “Big Love” which would hit #1 on the US Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart.
In 1996, Farley & Heller decided to release a slightly re-worked version of their mix minus Nate’s vocals and entitled it “Ultra Flava” as a nod to the track’s origins. DJs hammered this new version out, it’s throbbing bassline and uplifting new vocal hook adding perfect balance to a sure-fire dancefloor destroyer. Remixes followed from the likes of DJ Sneak, Grant Nelson, Rhythm Masters and many others over the years, but none have truly been able to match the sheer brilliance of the original. The slick percussion completes the irresistible groove and this one still packs the floors every time(soooooooo perfect for a late-night house set).
“Gotta move it on, push it on, ’til we find a better place.” Farley & Heller certainly did that with this one.
Nothing makes a great night of house music even better than dropping a funky, quirky stomper and Cricco Castelli‘s “Life Is Changing” covers all of those bases.
The track is based around samples of “My Lady” by The Crusaders, an American jazz fusion group whose hit 1979 album Street Life bears the sample source. Italian DJ Castelli adds some straight up jackin’ beats to the fray and the result is an underground anthem that turned out far less commercial sounding than it has any right to be. After hearing this in countless classic house sets over the years, I was happy to finally get the ID on this one and play it out myself. The track has a broad appeal, getting the house-heads, jazz fans and lovers of good dance music alike into the groove whenever I’ve pulled it out.
Big support came from house heavyweights including DJ Sneak, Armand van Helden and many others so his one is definitely worth hunting down and the sing-along lyrics please the ladies every time. Jazzy, funky house at its best.
Happy Canada Day everyone! With that in mind, we present a special Canada Day edition of Canadian Classic House with another gem from the always enjoyable Aquarius label, “Feel Allright” – Troy Brown.
Structurally, it’s not all that different from Happy Days – PJ, released on the same label in 1996. Troy Brown’s 1998 release features a nice anchoring kick drum, bouncy percussion and, no it’s not a female singer used here, but a sample of the George Benson classic “Give Me The Night“. Pitched up and comprised of two pieces of the chorus of Benson’s tune, the vocal loop carries the track as Brown filters it in and out before bringing in a third sample of Benson’s guitar solo to serve as a bridge of sorts between the two halves of the track.
Toronto’s Troy Brown has released a lengthy catalog of tracks going back to 1992 on various Toronto labels including DNH and Blacksoul. “Feel Allright” was the tune that brought him some crossover success with spins on many Toronto dance stations and heavy club play, especially when mixed with “Happy Days“. It still works the dancefloor nicely to this day and I fully expect anyone who plays the video above to have the hook stuck in their heads for the next day or so. Happy Canada Day and, you’re welcome!