Tag Archive: dianna cool


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Just in-time for 2015 spring (beat) breaks, here is a cool cabin fever buster! Whether you are a DJ seeking spice for your sets or a “civilian” music lover, these fifty-four minutes of sound has something to give your Mr. Spockish quizzical eyebrow pause to do its thing.
From the first cookin’ bounce of “MIX” [BasicLUX BL9228-6; release date, March 31, 2015 ], I was reuniting with some old friends. I thought to myself, “The Cools have done it again!” James and DeAnna Cool, better known as Madison Park, are now collaborating with a Dutch dance music producer known as Beechcraft for this “MIX”, a well-conceived fourth full-length album CD since I first heard about and reviewed them for www.about.com back in the mid-2000s. It is very difficult to find out any bio on Beechkraft, who is also a Netherlands composer for television and film. Apparently he prefers to remain a bit of an anomaly – I cannot pinpoint exactly what he added to their sound, but suspect it is the upbeat, spirited-cadence of several of these tracks that he is responsible for. If I am incorrect, please educate me in the comments section below. At times, this album has a Pet Shop Boys feel to it – not a bad thing in my musical universe!
Madison Park, as always, features a very clean, sophisticated club music sound stapled by impeccable electronic editing and, of course, DeAnna’s hypnotically soothing lyrics via enchanting, wispy- velvet vocals. Having gone thru the disc multiple times, the first track, “Tonight” is the one I sweat the most. “Warm When I’m Alone” is next on my hot parade – I dig the uptempo groove – as future floor fillers!
In total, “MIX” grooves like a theatrical play or movie soundtrack with various moods and tempo. The cover art features DeAnna as the “I” in Mix, by the way, while the inner seat for the disc has three philosophical sayings for us to ponder.
Since 2002, downtempo duo, Madison Park has continued to produce brilliant music through a turbulent music industry era and are best known to me for their Billboard Dance remake of Roxy Music and in-particular, my favorite song, “More Than This”. Of-note here is their downtempo version of the David Bowie classic, “Let’s Dance”, which I envision as mixable within pancake turner late night chill sets. I think that it, like several other tracks should fade instead of ending cold. A chop ending works well on the acoustic selection, “Words”, track eight, naturally; fades are more disc-jockey-friendly.
From the dream-scape of “Parts of Me” to the bongos heard on “I Am Your Beachbreeze” or a cathedral-house anthem on “Sunrise (Next Level MIX)” and the lite drum & bass treatment of “Every Single Day”, this “MIX” garners a listenable, danceable rating four-of-five up/downtempo rated touch of house married with Portishead stars, which will cure whatever malaise the winter of 2015 touched you with. Remember…”Itz IN da MIX”.

Pickhitt: James Cool tells me that “Parts of Me” was the first single released in-advance of “MIX” and is in it’s 13th week charting on the World Chill-Lounge Charts at the time of this revu publishing. The video for “MIX” is being shot and edited at the time of this writing and will be available by the end of March, 2015. Then…y’all will see it here (hopefully FIRST!).

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From The Pajama Bar’s vintage vino cellar of classic hit music, I offer this review of a not-so-oldie-but-goodie of the dance floor that I wrote-up in the late 2000s for about.com and my friend, DJ Ron. Major Props to James and DeAnna Cool.

As soon as my editor put this CD in my hot little hands, somehow I knew I had a smash. I couldn’t wait to get to the studio and press “play”. On a recent road trip, I listened as the miles flew by. Sure enough, from the first beat of track one, “Roxy Re-Modeled” [basiclux 9205-2] did not disappoint me. This is a wonderful collection of re-done Roxy tunes that you will love to play over and over.

The personalities that have created this revival are as interesting as the music is. Simply put, I must gush because I love the weave-through journey of this album! “Roxy Re-Modeled” is not just a face-lift, it is careful to maintain the class of the original as a renovation of a classic museum would.

The Roxy concept is the musical brainchild of visionary Bryan Ferry who busted it upon our ears for it to be known as much for the lavish theatrical stage presentation as for the music, and became the stuff of legends thirty years ago. I taste a touch of salsa behind the wisdom on the opening lyric “nothing lasts forever” on track one, “Same Old Scene,” and Cool’s vocals are Lisa Lisa-like. This first came out back in ’80, on the album “Flesh and Blood.”

 

The re-deux of Ferry’s classic “Love Is The Drug,” this time by J.A.C.E. featuring Chris Hays, has the feel of the Bee Gees’ “You Should Be Dancin’.” I also must bigg-upp (la) Grace Jones’s classic 1980 treatment of it. This version maintains the frenzy; the energy that keeps on building and the pounding, driving beat.

I mixed the Manhattans’ old classic “Shining Star” seamlessly into “Angel Eyes” (track 3), which registers as a better-than-the-early nineties-group-Soul II Soul-groove by Perfect Project. It is jazzily hypnotic; a great listen on a hazy Sunday afternoon. Sunday People’s “Avalon” (track four) features the euro-whispery vocals of Hassan Nasser (not the boxer is it?) It is mysterious and the musical interludes aid the international flair of the disc as a whole.

 

Now with “Don’t Stop the Dance” (cut five), BiTeR mc and Elena DeLucca’s tempo keeps it rocking steadily. Now I know what happened to good electronic pop-style music. It is on this album! I would add “More Than This” (track five) from Madison Park in heavy rotation on my fantasy dance music radio station (whose ratings, of course, would, be number one)! ’nuff respect to Lenny B on the remix which has the big Webster Hall ballsy bass house feel. Don’t waste time, cut to the musical chase when you re-compose a piece and give it the opportunity to cross to the CHR/Rhythmic Top 40 formats for those programmers left who are bold enough to go out on a gut-level limb. This one is my personal favorite.

“Kiss and Tell” (track eight) by J.A.C.E featuring Chris Hays on vocals is bold and brawny dance (of the cloth of Theo Vaness’ 1979 “No Romance/Keep on Dancin'”). I just can’t get enough of this kind of sound, and I love when stuff makes me get down on my knees and dig into the crates! “An Angel’s Eyes” (lots of angels guard this effort) by Stormchild is an insty with a familiar funky hard beat and a nice airy, progressive change mid-song. A little “traveling music, please”- that’s what it iz.

 

The next two tracks, “Beauty Queen” from Goldlust featuring Sarah J., and the downtempo “Slave To Love” by Abstract Foundation offer a timely change-of-pace like jerk chicken and a Caribbean rum beverage.

For a nice Adult Contemporary format feel, choose “You Do Something To Me”, another Madison Park tune, this time with The GrooveOholics (track twelve). DeAnna shines once again in her starring role with dreamy vocals that began before she even uttered a word. As her Mom tells it, one day when bathing and singing to the few months old DeAnna, she was surprised when her daughter looked up and matched her pitch, holding the same note! Mother DeAnna was so shocked, she almost fumbled the little darling.

Track thirteen, “Ten Cents A Dance,” by Wilson is Yar Wilson’s upbeat and positive curtain call with the same feel of “Kiss and Tell.” Personally, there is so much compelling stuff yet to tell about this, dear reader. In any event, this compilation makes you feel a strobe light rainbow of danceable sound.

Five stars – hands-down!

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